We present here our collection of ceramic objects whose Japanese enamel decors imitate the technique of cloisonné found on the Asian ceramics that inspired it.
Material : Enamelled ceramic
Provenance : France, between 1872 and 1884
Dimensions : H : 64 cm, L : 53 cm, P : 38 cm
Jar shaped like a perfume burner
This ceramic covered pot with plumbiferous cover and sinister decoration takes the shape of a traditional Chinese perfume burner without actually having the function because of the lack of opening. It was realized by Charles Gallé (1818 – 1902) perhaps in collaboration with his son Émile Gallé (1846 – 1904) for the house l’Escalier de Cristal between 1872 and 1884 as evidenced by the label torn below on which one can read the names of Pannier and Lahoche, directors of the house between 1852 and 1872, as well as the address. From 1872, the store was moved to 6 rue Scribe and 1 rue Auber.
We can assume that this model imitating a perfume burner was made by Charles Gallé, most certainly following a commission from Emile Pannier, since one does not recognize a stylistic form specific to that of the artist. Nevertheless, two other models, identical in form but with different decoration are known and signed. One of them went to auction in 2013 it is signed «Gallé Nancy», signature of Charles, the other is illustrated in the background Émile Gallé of the Musée d’Orsay and presents the signatures of Émile «E. Gallé déposé» and Charles «Gallé Nancy».
One-on-one coffee service
This very rare head-to-head coffee set in silver and gold (platinum) metallic reflected porcelain bears the signature of l’Escalier de Cristal. The pinnacle of refinement was achieved in the second half of the 19th century, most certainly for a wealthy American collector.
Stored in its original box with the initials H.E.B in brown leather, our very elegant service consists of a poly-lobed tray, a coffee maker, a covered sugar bowl, a milk jar as well as two cups and sub-cups hence its name from head to head. These different elements are decorated with motifs of flowers and flying insects of golden colour that stand out on a silver background made thanks to the technique of glaze with metallic reflection. The tray is also marked in its center with the HEB monogram.
Signed « E. Lachenal Modèle Escalier de Cristal »above andt « E. Lachenal » inside
Material : Enamelled ceramic
Provenance : France, circa 1890
Dimensions : H : 8,5cm D : 31cm
Cherry Blossom Bowl
This enamelled ceramic bowl was made by Edmond Lachenal for l’Escalier de Cristal around 1890.
Lachenal, adept of the Japanese taste from the last decade of the nineteenth century, realizes on this cup resting on three feet in volute, a decoration of branches of cherry blossom as it is characteristic. The red, pink and yellow cherry blossoms adorn the edges of a sky-blue background with lighter relief motifs. The application of the paste-on-paste technique is frequently found in the production of ceramists. Developed at the Sèvres factory around 1848 and more frequently used by sculptors, it consists of applying generally white motifs on a coloured background so that they emerge in relief.
As for the interior of the bowl, the artist decorates it with a delicate floral composition in pastel colors contrasting with the plain cream background. We also find, inside the ledge, its signature «E.Lachenal». The underside is not in rest of decoration, enamelled of the same light blue applied in a more cloudy way, we find the motif of the cherry branch between the curly fasteners, illustration of a mastered technique.
Quality of execution and refinement of the decor make this planter an extremely elegant example of the pieces produced in the Japanese taste by l’Escalier de Cristal
Inspired by Japanese enamels, the decoration appears on a blue background, finely enhanced by golden spirals. A nightingale in flight stretches its wings over graceful peony flowers while a second bird is placed on a branch decorated with a delicate lattice of golden highlights. “Queen of flowers”, the peony is associated, in China, with the aristocracy and more generally with the idea of prestige and honor, thus attesting that this planter was intended for an elite cultivating an elegant and refined art of living. The delicacy of the colours, meanwhile, particularly highlights the elegance of the design and the naturalism of the subject, testimony of the Japanese taste of the late nineteenth century.
This earthenware bowl mounted in bronze was made for l’Escalier de Cristal. The label, with slightly discoloured edges, remains as a whole legible and reads “L’Escalier de Cristal – n°1 rue Auber”. Its Asian style and the address indicated allows to date this cup after 1872, since it is the same year that the store moved to the new district of the opera.
Supported by a patinated bronze frame, our enamelled ceramic bowl features a colourful and flowery decoration inspired by Asian motifs and flora, the latter are highlighted by golden contours imitating Chinese cloisonné enamel. The bowl is placed on four carved bronze feet in order to reproduce the shape of elephant heads resting on their trunks. This shape of feet is very common in the production of ceramic objects mounted by the Crystal Staircase, as is the decoration in faux cloisonné. Two handles also shaped like an elephant’s head and retaining a ring adorn the sides and hold the bronze coronation.
Label “Escalier de Cristal rue Auber”
Materials : Bronze and earthenware
Provenance : France, circa 1885
Dimensions : H : 13cm D: 27 cm