This monumental piece bears witness to the eclectic taste in the decorative arts of the late 19th century. Nourished by the forms and motifs that the Renaissance and the reign of Louis XIV fecundated, Jérôme Massier (1850-1916) delivers here a spectacular model. The pedestal, formed of three busts of children with lion paws, supports a monumental baluster-shaped vase, decorated with a central medallion, various ornamental friezes, and two winged putti, leaning against the rim.
It is no coincidence that such decorative power emanates from this piece. Indeed, Jérôme Massier uses here a vase model that was developed by the Sèvres imperial manufacture and exhibited for the first time in London during the World Fair of 1862. He seduced the critics to the point that it was reproduced in the Illustrated British Catalogue of this exhibition.
But the imperial manufacture is not the originator of the design of this vase, which we owe to Claude Ballin (1615-1678), one of the main goldsmiths of King Louis XIV. For the Sun King, this model was made in silver, as well as in bronze to adorn the gardens of Versailles.