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Pair of French Restoration mounted opaline glass vases

Pair of French Restoration mounted opaline glass vases

A pair of elegant French blue opaline glass vases with gilt bronze frames. The slender amphora-shaped vases stand upon a ring-shaped gilt bronze foot. The upper edge of each vase is also encased in a gilt bronze ring. The vase handles are shaped like floral branches that gracefully rise from their point of attachment to the body, stretching until they reach the upper bronze edge, which provides their second attachment point.

From the 1780s onwards, a fashion developed for various valuable essentials, sewing boxes and toolboxes in mother-of-pearl, known as Palais-Royal wares after the palace complex of the Duke of Orleans above the Louvre. These objets d’art were sold from the Arcades Palais Royal near the Louvre.

The most famous of these shops was Maison A l'Escalier de Cristal, founded in 1802 by the widow Mme. Disarnaud. Her enterprise was the first to mount crystal taillé objects using gilt bronze. The objects were supplied by the crystal factory Vonêche, later known as Baccarat (from 1823 on), after which they were shipped to and finished in the Palais Royal workshops.
L’escalier de Cristal supplied clocks, vases, lamps and other artistic items to many royal families in Europe, and was appointed Fournisseur breveté du Roi in 1819. The establishment also extensively supplied the Duke of Berry and the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne.

The opaline glass objects, which strictly speaking should be known as cristal d’opale, were made using a kind of lead crystal that was then tinted through the addition of other substances. The earliest examples of cristal d'opale appeared during the Empire period. The technique was redeveloped by Baccarat, and objects thus produced were often fitted with frames from Palais Royal and other Parisian workshops. Opaline objects such as this were especially in favour during the Restoration period, when countless delicate and refined pastel colours were developed, including various shades of pink, purple and blue. The clear blue colour seen in the present vases was obtained through the application of cobalt oxide.

Fernando Montes De Oca, L'Âge D'or Du Verre En France: 1800-1830, Parijs, 2001, no. 538, p. 393 en ill. 395


Pair of French Restoration mounted opaline glass vases
Price on request
Private collection, Amsterdam
ca. 1825
opaline glass, gilt bronze
27 x 19 x 11 cm

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