Pair of Ewers

pair of large porcelain jugs with gilt-bronze decorations such as female heads, goat heads and swan head spouts

Pair of Ewers, ca. 1785
Gilt bronze attributed to Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813)
Chinese porcelain from the Kangxi period (1662–1722)
Hard-paste porcelain and gilt bronze
Private collection


In the 1780s, Gouthière made the gilt bronzes for the chimneypiece of the Salon des Nobles in Marie Antoinette’s apartment at the Château de Versailles and for that of her foyer at the Paris Opéra. During the same years, he probably made the gilt-bronze mounts for this pair of ewers, known to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. No document has been found to confirm their attribution, but the expressiveness in the female and goat heads combined with the naturalistic finish on the various grapevines and leaves are characteristic of Gouthière’s work.

It is not known when or under what circumstances Marie Antoinette came into possession of these ewers. She displayed them at the Château de Versailles in the Cabinet de la Méridienne, a room in her private apartments where she kept her collection of rare and luxurious porcelains, hardstones, and lacquers, some mounted in gilt bronze by Gouthière.

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