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Agate vase with a central band of cameos
Ladoireau, Pierre (?); Belle, Josias (?)
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Ladoireau, Pierre (?)
Belle, Josias (?)

Agate vase with a central band of cameos

s XVI - XVII century. Agate, Chalcedony, Cowry, Enamel, Gold, Silver gilt. Room 079B

Described in the 1689 inventory of the Dauphin’s Cabinet as a vase “in the antique style”, this is an example of the prevailing fashion in the 1680s. The decoration of enamelled leaves in the adornments combines floral motifs covered in enamelling of the same metallic colour with a variety of stones, an aesthetic solution deriving from collections of engravings. The use of cameos serves to lend the vase an antique appearance. Valued at 200 Louis d’or in 1689, its high valuation may reflect the fact that it was a very recent work, then at the height of fashion.

The typical decoration of Parisian workshops at the end of the 17th century consisted of friezes of intertwined ribbons combined with rosettes and leaves of enamelled gold that alternated over the entire surface, all carried out on a cut and slightly raised sheet of gold, on which enamelling with a white background had been applied, imitating porcelain, with small painted details. These motifs were in turn arranged on a gilded surface, uneven in lustre, which provided a smooth contrast.

The cameos on the vase, in a range of colours and addressing various themes, include heads, busts and complete figures. There are Caesars, warriors, female busts, the figure of Minerva and what is thought to be an ecclesiastical figure, formerly identified as Cardinal Richelieu. In 1918 one of the cameos, still visible in old photographs, was stolen. Some years later the head of a Roman emperor was attached; this came from the remains that the police had managed to recover from one of the stolen and subsequently dismantled vases.

The vase was originally crowned by a female bust in white agate with gold clothing and holding a small dog, also white, in her arms. The profile and size of this piece, already lost by 1815, can be appreciated from the corresponding hollow in the case. The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent y Minier, "Vase agate sardoine, montures d’or avec émaux et pierreries, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri II", c. 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/10 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Inventory number
Ladoireau, Pierre (?); Belle, Josias (?)
Agate vase with a central band of cameos
s XVI - XVII century (Vessel and cameos); 1680 - 1688 (Adornment)
Chased; Enamelled; Carved; Mounted / set
Agate; Chalcedony; Cowry; Enamel; Gold; Silver gilt
Height: 22.8 cm.; Diameter: 13.4 cm.; Weight: 722 g.; Diameter of the base: 7.4 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 76-77.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El tesoro del Delfín: alhajas de Felipe V recibidas por herencia de su padre Luis, Gran Delfín de Francia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 263-266.

Arbeteta, L. Azcue, L., El Tesoro del Delfín, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2018, 2018.

Other inventories +

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 419.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 88.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 47.
Vaso en forma de tibor

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 07-03-2020 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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