Pair of petrified wood lidded vases

ca. 1780
Petrified wood, chased gilt bronze
Inv. CAM 153
© Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / photo: Jean Tholance

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Each of these egg-shaped, lidded and footed vases stands on an octogonal base decorated with laurel leaves. The handles are formed of intertwining gilt bronze snakes with intricate chasing. The vases are exceptional for the rarity of their material and the quality of their mounts; they were part of Marie Antoinette’s collection at Versailles, where they were placed in the queen’s bathroom. Justly concerned about the revolutionary uprising, she had entrusted her collection of precious objects to her favorite marchand-mercier, Dominique Daguerre, on October 10, 1789. After the queen’s death, Daguerre and his partner, Martin-Éloi Lignereux, handed them over to the representatives of the nation on November 16, 1793. They were put up for sale in 1798 during the Directory, and reappeared in 1841 at the sale of Baron Roger, before becoming one of the jewels in Moïse de Camondo’s collection.

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