L’Escalier de Cristal
Designer & Art object Editor
Pair of covered jars
France – Circa 1860
Porcelain, Gilded bronze
Height : 54 cm (21,2 in.) ; Diam. : 22 cm (8,6 in.)
Beautiful pair of covered jars in Chinese « Famille Rose » porcelain with polychrome decoration of flowers and flowery vases. An elegant mount in chiseled and gilded bronze adorns the whole, composed of a seed-shaped grip on the lid, an oval frieze on the neck and a tripod base formed by consoles with leafy scrolls resting on a molded base with a rosette on its center and surrounded by a frieze of water leaves.
The Famille Rose decor appears during the Qing dynasty, around 1720. It’s a Dutch chimist, Andréas Cassius, who discovers in 1650 the chemical formula allowing to obtain pink enamels caller thereafter « purple of Cassius », which arrives at the court of China around 1719 through the Jesuits. The purple mixed with an opaque white based on arsenic gives the pink to which the decorative palette owes its name.
The Famille Rose porcelain have polychrome decorations in which pink tones dominate and very often have a plant motif composed of flowers and bouquets.
“L’Escalier de Cristal”, an old and famous Parisian firm, specialized in glass products and ceramics but also suggested furniture and bronze sculptures. It was led from 1885 to 1923 by Emile Pannier’s sons, who gave the name of Pannier Frères to the society, located at the corner of Scribe street and Auber street, next to the new built Paris Opera house. Their Japanese style creations were among many others much appreciated by the critics and the public. They were awarded many medals at various exhibitions, such as the Gold medal at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition.
Lots of artists participated in that world success, such as Emile Gallé, who gave to Pannier Frères the exclusive rights of some of his models, or François-Eugène Rousseau, who designed many vases and gave the model of his successful Japanese style dining-set as well. This set was made by the Creil et Montereau Manufacture. In the Japanese style furniture branch, many famous makers such as Majorelle from Nancy, Edouard Lièvre or Gabriel Viardot worked for Pannier Frères. Some pieces are to be seen in the greatest museums: the Ermitage in Saint-Petersburg, the Orsay Museum in Paris, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
The Maison “L’Escalier de Cristal” was sometimes the exclusive owner of the models and then those pieces were just signed by “L’Escalier de Cristal” or sometimes beside the artist signature. But “L’Escalier de Cristal” was also very creative, completing pieces with superb gilded bronzes, glass or enameled panels and often including authentic Japanese or Chinese elements.
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