• Paris, c. 1734–5 (mount)
  • Jasper and gold
  • Inv. 2379

Ewer with lid

This extremely simple ewer, which stands on a short conical base, has a pear-shaped body that is separated from the high neck by a smooth ring. Only the gently curving handle, which ends in a trilobed form where it joins the body. A combination of the purity of the ewer’s form, the unparalleled texture of the heliotrope jasper and its undeniable age certainly led to the 18th-century addition of a magnificent gold mount in the purest rocaille style.

The chasing used a model produced by François Boucher and shows a boy reclining on a base of rocks, flowers, shells and scrolls on the top of the lid. The upper part of the handle depicts a goat whose tail extends along the entire length of the handle, while the mount of the foot consists of acanthus and scroll motifs. 

Presenting rare or valuable objects in mounts made of precious metals was a practice that dated back to the Renaissance and was associated to collections. However, in the eighteenth century, pieces such as this one were also admired for their decorative appearance and were often called ‘curiosities’ or ‘picturesque’. 

H. 33.5 cm

Duke of Hamilton Collection; Baron Charles de Rothschild Collection, Frankfurt; Baron Henri de Rothschild, Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Baron Henri de Rothschild, 16 July 1943.

Bapst 1887

Germain Bapst, Études sur l’Orfèvrerie Française au XVIIIe Siècle: Les Germain, Orfèvres-Sculpteurs du Roy, Paris: J. Rouam et Cie, 1887, s.p. 

Helft 1965

Jacques Helft (ed.), Les grands orfèvres de Louis XIII à Charles X. Paris: 1965, pp. 140–1, il. 2. 

Verlet 1969

Pierre Verlet, Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, s.p., no. 10. 

Priore 1996

Alicia M. Priore, 'François Bucher’s Designs for Vases and Mounts', Studies in Decorative Arts, vol. III (2), Spring–Summer 1996, pp. 2–51. 

New York 1999

Katharine Baetjer and James David Draper (eds.), 'Only the Best'. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, catálogo de exposição. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 112–13, cat. 52. 

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 118, cat. 92. 

Updated on 08 june 2022

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