Gold, gemstone and silver gilt mounted agate vase by Morel

By Morel, Jean-Valentin (French, 1794-1860)


This exquisite agate vase is truly a masterpiece: adorned with delicate precious jewel detailing, it is a supreme example of Jean-Valentin Morel's highly skilled work.


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This vase was crafted by the famous 19th Century French jeweler Jean-Valentin Morel, who was celebrated for creating precious works, such as this one, in the Renaissance style. The vase is of oval form and crafted in pink, veined agate, featuring a tapered bowl and flat cover. The cover and base of the vase are decorated with relief engravings of acanthus leaves. The cover is surmounted by a central enameled figure of a nude putto, who holds his hands above his gilded hair, and stands atop a defeated dragon. The putto and dragon are set upon the cover with a curved and stepped gilt mount, which features white and green enameled leaf decorations.

The cover of the vase meets the body of the vase at silver-gilt bands which are enameled with white leaf forms and twisted rope work. Mounted to each end of the body of the vase is an enameled mermaid figures of sirens, who have gilt hair and green and white scaled tails, which are entwined with the scrolling gilt handles of the vase. The vase features a waisted base, which is set upon a gilded and enameled rectangular plinth which is intricately decorated.

The top of the plinth features four scrolled mounts and four inlaid precious stones set in roundels. The edges of the plinth are decorated with central enameled masks set upon scrolls and inlaid with further precious stones. Each of the four corners are mounted with enameled, shelled turtles which are set upon gilt scrolls.

The mounts bear the hallmark of Morel.


Probably bought from Fossin by Baron Anthony de Rothschild in 1836


Isabelle Lucas, I., 'Jean-Valentin Morel and the revival of the lapidary's art', Apollo (January 2005), pp. 48-49.


Artist / Maker
By Morel, Jean-Valentin (French, 1794-1860)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Agate, Enamel, Gold, Precious Stones, Silver-gilt
Multi-coloured, Orange, Pink, Silver


27.5 cm / 10.6 inches
33 cm / 13 inches
18 cm / 7.1 inches


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