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Art Diary

Porcelain from Versailles: Vases for a King and Queen

10 February 2023

This exhibition at the Getty Center in Los Angeles (14 February–3 March 2024) brings together two ornamental sets of vases owned by Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette of France. The vases are prime examples of the production at the Sèvres porcelain manufactory before the French Revolution and were personal treasures of the royal family. Beginning in 1778, the manufactory produced garnitures of vases to a design known as vases des âges (vases of the ages), which were typically made in three sizes with a large central vase and two pairs of smaller vases. Louis XVI bought one of these garnitures for his library at the palace of Versailles; the scenes painted on the front show episodes from François Fénelon’s Adventures of Telemachus, one of the king’s favourite books. The gilt-bronze mounts of another set of chinoiserie vases on show at the Getty are attributed to Jean-Claude Duplessis, who was appointed orfèvre du roi (goldsmith to the King) in 1758 and produced many designs for Sèvres. Find out more on the Getty’s website.

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Lidded vase (1775–76), Sèvres porcelain manufactory. Palace of Versailles. Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY/Christophe Fouin

Lidded vase (1781), Sèvres porcelain manufactory. Walters Art Museum, Maryland