The decoration

The two vases offer a rich polychrome decoration, a perfect example of the fashionable motifs on Rouen faience from the first half of the 18th century. A niello decoration in ochre on the neck (yellow and black), with a blue background and reserves painted on the belly, a garland of flowers in five colours, blue and red monochrome at the foot... the painters used all their know-how. This blanket decoration gives way to small landscapes of charming exoticism painted in the cartouches, whereas four chubby masks ornate the upper belly. From one vase to the other, the eight landscapes are different, probably painted from models or engravings for which the originals are still to be discovered. The whole effect is spectacular even if upon closer inspection, a multitude of small white points can be seen on the surfaces, proof that the firing temperature had not been completely mastered: too high, it caused the decoration to boil. In a general way, it is surprising to notice that on the same vase, delicate parts such as the cartouche landscapes which were painted so finely, rub shoulders with more hastily handled parts, such as the foot of the vase, with its criss-cross too hastily sketched. Several artists could have worked on it in succession. These works, like most of Rouen’s production, are not signed. They leave us in the dark as to the modeller and the painter(s). If the name of these artists or the company for which they were working could be identified, we could then perhaps find a trace of the order and answer the numerous questions still raised by this stunning pair of vases.