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Creusot Vase

Date : 1899 /1900 | Medium : Porcelaine blanche à décor bleu rehaussé d’or et médaillons en pâte sur pâte

Medium: white porcelain decorated in blue, enhanced with gold and pâte sur pâte medallions

Form: Claude-Nicolas Alexandre Sandier; Decoration: Taxile Doat

Sent from Sèvres to the Musée de Rouen in 1901

The simplicity of the Creusot Vase is a perfect illustration of the way Alexandre Sandier, artistic director since 1897, aimed for an intricate blend of form and decoration in light compositions. Each continent is depicted here on the shoulder of the vase by a medallion set against a vermiculated blue background. The head in profile corresponds to a cartouche near the bottom of the vase containing an emblematic animal: a horse represents Europe, with an elephant for Asia, a bison for America, a kangaroo for Australia and a lion for Africa.

The quality of the pâte sur pâte (‘paste on paste’) decoration on this vase is worth emphasising. A technique perfected in Sèvres around 1850, pâte sur pâte consists of a slip applied with a paintbrush onto unglazed porcelain and reworked with a fine point as layers are added. The final effect resembles a cameo. Such work was entrusted to sculptors in particular, and not to painters. Taxile Doat, who created the decoration on this vase, was one of the greatest masters of the technique. Professor of Ceramics at the University of Saint Louis (1909-1914), he contributed to the spread of artistic porcelain ware in the United States.