Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Sèvres Vase Aubert No. 40, 1924-37

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Courtesy of Her Majesty,
Queen Elizabeth II

This is one of a pair of vases, called “Vase Aubert No. 40” which was made in hard-paste porcelain between 1924-37. One of the pair depicts “Africa” while the other depicts “India.” The vases were presented by the President of the French Republic to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) on the occasion of their coronation, May 12, 1937

The vases themselves were produced by Sèvres as early as 1924, but were evidently left undecorated. One, seen here, was painted in 1928 by Henry-Joseph Lasserre with a tiger hunt in the Indian sub-continent. The scene depicts huntsmen seated in howdahs on the backs of elephants, shooting at tigers in a lush jungle.

The other was painted in 1930 by Louis-Jules Trager, depicting an African scene of antelopes, camels and native dancers amongst the pyramids. In May 1937, the English royal arms was added at a cost of 6,000 francs.

The two vases, each valued at 40,000 francs, were sent in 1937 to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for presentation to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth by the President of the French Republic, Monsieur Albert Lebrun. However, after the whole Abdication Keruffle ™ with his older brother the King had announced that, as a general rule, he would not accept coronation gifts. To avoid embarrassment, the French ambassador was informed that the gift would be treated as personal rather than as official.

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