A pair of Louis XVI style “porte-fleurs”
Signed F. Barbedienne
Height : 18 cm (7 in.) ; Diameter : 21 cm (8 1/4 in.)
A lovely Louis XVI style pair of « porte fleurs », each consisting of a vase on his tray, made of pierced and gilded bronze, decorated with four medallions alternating putti and trophies of musical instruments, fruits and doves. A garland of fruits and foliage completes that decoration. The vases are lined with red and blue crystal goblets.
This vase is a creation by Constant Sévin, renowned for his “exquisite compositions”, made for the Barbedienne cast company. It demonstrates the Louis XVI style developped in France in the second half of the nineteenth century, enhanced by the enthusiasm of Empress Eugénie for Queen Marie-Antoinette. Our model is similar to a two handled vase reproduced in the Journal of Decorative Arts in 1888.
Louis-Constant Sévin (1821-1888) designed as soon as 1839 silver-smith’s objects for famous firms like Denière, Froment-Meurice, Morel and Duponchel. During the Revolution in 1848, he joined Morel in London, as workshop manager and designed pieces that Morel exhibited in 1851. Back in France, he worked in 1855 for Ferdinand Barbedienne as sculptor-ornemanist until the end of his life. Sévin’s works are considerable, he designed furniture bronzes for the « hôtel de La Païva ». At the London Exhibition in 1862, he was awarded a medal for the artistic excellence of the furniture he designed and which was exhibited by F. Barbedienne. He won a second class medal at the Union centrale des Arts décoratifs Exhibition in 1863 and was awarded a gold medal as « cooperator ». F. Barbedienne said that posterity would remember Sévin’s compositions. The most extraordinary object designed by C. Sévin for F. Barbedienne, was a Renaissance style gilded bronze monumental clock, four metres high, for which C. Sévin won a gold medal as well as was awarded the Légion of Honour at the Universal Exhibition in 1878. His triumph was still valid at the 1889 Universal Exhibition.
Born in 1810, Ferdinand Barbedienne started one of the most famous 19th century artistic bronze casting companies. He died in 1892. In addition to his personal production, he worked for famous artists such as Clésinger, Carrière-Belleuse and Guillemin. Barbedienne’s production was always highly esteemed and he was, himself admired by contemporary art critics who compared him during the 1878 Universal Exhibition to a « prince of industry and the king of bronze-casting ». He was there awarded the « Grand Prix » as well as 28 cooperator medals. His glory did not decline with the passage of the time for at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 the critics thanked Barbedienne for the example he set for other bronze-casters by the perfection of his bronzes.
« Les artistes de l’industrie, Constant Sévin », dans la Revue des arts décoratifs, Victor Champier, décembre 1888, février 1889, p.163.