Painter / Retailer
By Charles-Ludovic Crétineau-Joly
Retailed by Ferdinand Barbedienne (firm active 1839-1955)
Enamel on copper
12.5 x 20 cm (diameter)
French (Paris), 1863
Signed and dated
‘L. CRETINEAU’ (in gold, beneath the horses on the stem) and ‘Maison F. Barbedienne. Paris. 1863’ (in gold, under the foot)
The subject depicted in the bowl of the coupe is the triumph of Galatea, with Polyphemus playing his pipes. The direct source, except for the figure of Polyphemus, is an engraving, The Triumph of Galatea, by Charles Simoneau after a long lost painting by Antoine Coypel for the Dauphin, published in 1695; a copy of the print belongs to the British Museum (1888,0716.206). Cretineau-Joly has reversed the print, suggesting that he may have used a nineteenth-century copy, which itself reversed the Simoneau.
The form of the coupe is based on sixteenth-century examples from Limoges, although these mostly have more elaborately shaped stems. The decoration, too, is less richly worked than on early models: for examples of sixteenth-century work, see Sophie Baratte, Les Emaux Peints de Limoges, 2000.
At the 1862 London International Exhibition, Barbedienne exhibited enamels for the first time, but then mainly those imitating Byzantine and Asian work. The present piece, dating from the following year, represents an early and hitherto relatively unrecognised aspect of the firm’s foray into the promotion of ‘Limoges’ enamels, with which it was attempting directly to compete with the Manufacture de Sèvres. At the 1867 Exposition Universelle, Barbedienne exhibited a miroir d’ornament designed by Constant Sévin, with ‘Limoges’ enamels by Alfred Gobert; this was acquired by the Musée d’Orsay in 1993 from Blairman (OAO 1270).
Crétineau-Joly, a student of Charles-Alexis Apoil (1809-64) from the Manufacture de Sèvres, was born in Fontenay-le-Comte, but by 1861 was recorded in Paris. He exhibited at various Salons between 1861 and 1878. In 1865, for example, he exhibited Amphitrite et Neptune (no. 2392), which may have been similar in appearance to the present work. A coupe presumably by Crétineau-Joly, signed and dated Barbedienne dated 1869, with a similar treatment of the triumph of Galatea, was sold at Sotheby’s (Paris), 9 April 2008, lot 58.
For a related, but anonymous nineteenth-century French coupe, see Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, 2009, no. 246.