Great Exhibition vases

Pair of Victor Paillard Great Exhibition vases – £60,000 at Bonhams.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

He took an impressive stand at the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park where his works aping those made during the ancien regime were much admired.

One commentator wrote: “Everyone agrees, in London, to admire the part of the French exhibition which includes bronzes, and in particular, clocks. We know what superiority the Denières, the Susses, the Duponchels have acquired in this genre: let us examine the various manufacturers who have followed in their footsteps and who have conquered the first rank.

“Mr Paillard is one of these manufacturers: He is the worker who has become an artist; beginning with studies of little importance at first, and gradually rising, through the love of art, to take a step towards Industry.”

In the Art Journal illustrated catalogue The Industry of all Nations 1851 by Great Exhibition, Paillard’s entries are listed together with a black and white illustration with text reading: ‘In an early page of the catalogue we introduced two single examples of the Bronzes of Mr Paillard of Paris. We now bring forward a group composed from his numerous contributions in the exhibition. In the centre is a Noble Vase, of porcelain, in the Louis style, with bronze ornaments, festoons of flowers and figures.’

This ‘noble vase’ is seemingly identical to the pair offered by Bonhams as part of a July 13 sale titled Decorative Arts Throughout the Ages.

Made in the Louis XV style, they combine Sèvres-type bleu céleste porcelain bodies enamelled with ‘Boucher’ vignettes showing elaborate figural ormolu mounts of putti climbing grape vines. Together with the white-glazed panther and putto covers, they stand an imposing 3ft 5in (1.05m) high.

The mounts to each vase are stamped Victor Paillard Paris 1851 and carry printed paper labels to internal components. This Great Exhibition provenance coupled with their fine quality prompted a low-estimate bid of £60,000, or £75,900 including the 27.5/25% premium.