Designer / Maker
By Charles Lepec (b. 1830)
Enamel on silver, parcel-gilt
Height: 32 cms
French (Paris), circa 1867
‘BERNARDO VISCONTI M.CCC.L.XXVIII’ (around the portrait bust)
Paris Exposition Universelle, 1867
The Illustrated Catalogue Of The Universal Exhibition Published With The Art Journal, London, 1868, p. 304
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
In his application to participate in the Paris Exposition Universelle, 1867, Lepec offered more than twenty works, including coffrets, coupes, objets de forme and so on, enamelled on gold, silver and copper. The present vase may be one of the ‘5 vases ou, mieux dire, objets de forme, style vénitien’ (see Daniel Alcouffe, ‘Les Emailleurs Français à l’Exposition Universelle de 1867’, Antologia di belle Arti, IV, 13/14, 1980, p. 104).
Several of the exhibits from Paris illustrated below have been traced. The coupe in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum; a plate in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and another in the Musée Municipal de l’Evêché, Limoges. A covered coupe, probably from the same exhibition is in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
The collector Alfred Morrison (1821-97), one of Lepec’s greatest patrons, owned the magnificent nef (Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe).
According to an article in the Art Journal in 1867 ‘One only of M. Lepec’s greatest works … has Mr. Morrison permitted to pass from Mr. Phillips [the dealer in Cockspur Street, London] to any other hands than his own’ (vol. VI, New Series, p. 154. This was the large Clémence Isaure, now in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Alcouffe, op. cit., no. 3).
Note: further details and amendments to this entry will be given in Olivier Hurstel and Martin Levy ‘Charles Lepec and the Patronage of Alfred Morrison’ Metropolitan Journal (forthcoming, 2015).