Vase on a column stand
- Lapidary workshop: Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs, Versailles
- probably by François Joseph Belanger (French, Paris 1744–1818 Paris)
- lapidary work probably by Augustin Bocciardi (ca. 1729–1797)
- Mount maker:
- attributed to Pierre Philippe Thomire (French, Paris 1751–1843 Paris)
- after 1771–72, mounts ca. 1780
- French, Versailles and Paris
- Egyptian porphyry, gilt-bronze mounts
- H. (vase) 41 1/4 in. (104.8 cm); H. (stand) 35 5/8 in. (90.5 cm); Diam. 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm)
- Natural Substances
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1971
- Accession Number:
Louis-Marie-Augustin, duc d’Aumont, assembled an impressive collection of marble and hardstone vases, urns, columns, and other artworks. After a visit on October 10, 1775, to the duke’s Paris residence, Horace Walpole noted admiringly in his journal: “2 millions in tables, columns, lustres and china. 2 beautiful porphyry tables with legs of same in ormolu exquisite by Gouthière who works only for him.” Most of those luxurious furnishings were sold at a public auction following the owner’s death. According to the sale catalogue, the duke had assiduously hunted down the rarest marbles and hardstones in Rome and throughout Italy. Those materials had been transported to Versailles, where Aumont had established a stone-cutting workshop at the Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs, the office responsible for organizing the court entertainments. François-Joseph Bélanger, a prominent architect and designer, was the artistic director of the workshop, and it is very likely that he was responsible for the design of this imposing vase and its base, which are almost certainly carved from a single column found at an ancient Roman ruin. Unlike the mounts of the porphyry tables seen by Walpole, the gilt-bronze decoration of the Museum’s vase and column is not attributed to Gouthière but to the sculptor and bronze worker Pierre-Philippe Thomire. The ram’shead handles and swags of vine leaves and grapes that embellish the vase are symbolic of the wine god Bacchus.
 Walpole 1937–83, vol. 7 (1939), p. 353.