This two-handled vase with lily and daisy decorations was a private commission.

In March 1896, Comtesse Henri Greffulhe, née Elisabeth de Caraman-Chimay, asked Gallé to design a vase as a gift for Princess Marguerite de Chartres who was marrying the Duc de Magenta. The cousin of the countess, the poet Robert de Montesquiou, composed a special quatrain to be etched onto the side of the vase.

The item shown here is Study IV for the final vase and was exhibited in 1897 at the Salon de la Société des Beaux-Arts. Several copies of some of Gallé’s one-off pieces were produced  to reduce the risks and losses which could take place during the production process.

The relatively simple shape of the vase, inspired by ancient Greek ceramics, contrasts with the rich lily and daisy decoration which provide a visual echo of the Princess of Chartres’ first name. The gold dust inclusions and cabochons in relief emphasize the precious and refined nature of the work, belying the fact that it looks like an imperfect trial piece.

D. M.

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City of Paris municipal collection's website

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