Possibly designed by Edouard Lièvre or Eugène Cornu and executed by G. Viot & Cie
Paris, circa 1860
The waisted body surmounted by a foliate ring with palmettes, each side flanked by a pierced handle with arabesques, the circular base raised on jewelled elephant's head feet.
'Orientalist' designs of this type were made by Emile Reiber (1826-1893) and Edouard Lièvre (1829-1886) and executed by the finest Parisien bronziers such as Escalier de Cristal, Barbedienne, Christofle and Maison Marnyhac. Towards the late 1870s Lièvre created a fabulous suite of neo-Japanese furniture for Albert Vieillard (d. 1895), the renowned director of Bordeaux's ceramics manufactory. It was Vieillard's keen interest for Japan that inspired Lièvre's highly original designs. The most celebrated piece of this suite is the Cabinet Japonais, now in the Musée d'Orsay.
The combination of 'Orientalisme' with onyx is reminiscent of the furnitures et luxury objects designed by the sculptor Eugène Cornu (d. 1875), who owned marble quarries in Algeria, and executed by the bronzier G. Viot et Cie. For example, compare the pair of enamel and bronze-mounted onyx vases with elephant-head stands by Cornu and Viot, shown at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris by the Compagnie des Marbres Onyx d'Algérie.
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