Louis - Constant SEVIN (1821 – 1888) et Ferdinand BARBEDIENNE (1810 – 1892) - Exceptional pair of ornament vases in bronze and cloisonne enamel, model presented during the international exhibition of London in 1862
28cm, Height: 78cm
Our ornament vases were made in bronze and show an outstanding and abundant decoration of enamel cloisonne. The gilt bronze on the blue background and the polychromatic richness of the motif reminds of an imaginary and an inspiration coming from the East. The vases are adjoined with three gilt bronze handles with cat's heads, finished with claws on which they lean. The tie is adorned with amethyst cabochons. We notice in the shape and the decoration an eastern inspiration but above all an eclectic one, characteristic of the artistic tendency in France under the Second Empire. Indeed, Constant Sevin was inspired by the Greek style for the shape in amphora and by patterns belonging to the Arabic, or Persian decorative repertoires for the decoration. While the handles with cat's heads tend toward reminding Egypt, the technic of divided enamel dates back to Middle Ages. Thus, although critics spoke about a Byzantine style in 1862 for the inspiration of those vases, it seems more appropriate to talk today about eclecticism. Louis Constant Sevin having drew in visual references different by their styles, their periods of time or their geographic areas.
With the creation of this pair of vases Ferdinand Barbedienne and Constant Sevin participate to the reborn of champleve enamel in the middle of the 19th century. The first technical tries of Barbedienne were made near 1858 and four years after he presents in the Great Exhibition of London a stand mainly composed of works of art inlaid of enamels – like the model of our vase – which does not leave the critic indifferent.
Successful, these vases were republished, maybe for private orders, sometimes with some changes, such as the cat's ears orientation, the feet shapes or the replacement of cabochons by palms, nevertheless the pattern stayed the same. We can find for instance, two similar vases, forming a pair in the collections of the Orsay Museum in Paris.