A Repousse Gilt-bronze Mounted Chinese Porcelain Pot-pourri, the Porcelain 18th century, the Mounts Attributed to Benjamin Vulliamy
The circular domed lid with lily-of-the-valley finial above a pierced band and entrelac loop handles, raised on a moulded foliate spreading foot
Prince George, Duke of Kent (d. 1942)
Christie's London, Dealing in Excellence: A Celebration of Hotspur and Jeremy, 20 November 2008, lot 6.
Benjamin Vulliamy (1747-1811) and his son Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780-1854) belonged to a family of Swiss extraction whose original business of making clocks and watches expanded rapidly during the last quarter of the 18th century due much to the entrepreneurial spirit of the senior Benjamin. Working from 74 Pall Mall, their surviving Ornament and Clock Books contain extensive details regarding their business practices which clearly indicate that their craftsmen were not necessarily employees of the firm, but were "individuals or firms largely resident in London who were working independently for their own account," (See:Furniture History, 1967, Geoffrey de Bellaigue, "The Vulliamys and France," pp. 45-53). Besides mechanical movements for their watches and clocks, they also designed and had made elaborate cases which incorporated porcelain figures which were supplied by William Duesbury of Derby. In addition, they supplied ornamental metalwork in many guises and, as de Bellaigue remarks, "they were prepared to supply their customers with anything from a chimney-piece to a door handle, from a piano to a button." The Vulliamys were fully aware of current taste on the Continent and France, not only utilizing published French designs but also copying actual French objects or their components. They are also recorded as actually purchasing works of art in Paris, either on commission or for resale, and also utilized the workshops of the Delafontaines, "who were among the most eminent bronze manufacturers active in Paris in the beginning of the nineteenth century," (Bellaigue, op. cit.). The Delafontaines are shown in
Vulliamys’ books "as suppliers of bronze mounts, chased but not gilt, which were incorporated into candelabras, inkstands, clocks and mounted porcelain jars," as seen on the present vases.
The Vulliamys had an illustrious list of clients, including many members of the aristocracy and eminent personages, together with the patronage of the Royal Family, including the Prince Regent to whom they supplied elaborate mounts for Chinese porcelain vases.
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