A fine bronze garden vase, green patine, circa 1870, origin France. Cast with acorns and oak leaves under a Greek meander edge frieze with janus-head handles rising on wild boar masks on a frieze of scallops decorated with curls, the edge provided with beads with taut leaf decoration, on rising round foot and square base.
Dimensions: 90 cm high.
Condition: Very good condition.
This bronze urn is a copy of the original that, generally believed, was cast by Duval after a design by Claude Ballin, gold smith of Louis XIV. It is one of the thirteen different models on the marble railings that separates the Parterre du Nord and the Parterre d'Eau in Versailles.This vase probably originates from the Chateau de Bagatelle in the Bois du Bologne, the domain of Richard Seymour-Conway, the Fourth Marquess of Hertford (1800-1870), who was allowed to make bronze copies of the original (of the 13 original models there are altogether only 32 pairs documented copies known) through his friendship with Napoleon III.After the marquess' death in 1870 the domain was passed on to his (illegitimate) son, Sir Richard Wallace, after whose death it was passed on to his secretary, Sir John Murray Scott (1847-1912), who moved all the urns -except three pair of them -to England and sold the Bagatelle domain in 1904 to the city of Paris.None of the Bagatelle copies has been authenticated but it is generally believed that they are cast by the productive Ferdinand Barbedienne òr the Barbezat company.If there is any symbolism in the design of this vase, it might be the following:Janus was the son of Apollo, the Sungod, and is often represented with 2 faces: possibly Apollo's sister Artemis and half-brother Dionysus.A pair of these vases can also be found in the Wallace Collection, Hertford House, London.Literature : F. Souchal, The French Sculptors of the 17th-18th Centuries, The Reign of Louis XIV, Vol II ; p. 233.John Davis, Antique Garden Ornament, 300 years of creativity : Artists, manufacturers & materials ; p. 133-143.George Plumptre, Garden Ornament, Five Hundred Years of History and Practice; p. 240.Gertrude Jekyll, Garden Ornament; p. 128.Rupert van der Werff & Jackie Rees, Miller's Garden Antiques, How to source & identify; Half-Title + page 30.