Pair of 19th century Russian ormolu and marble vases with covers


Combining unusual black veined marble with superb ormolu mounts, these decorative urns and stands take after a model in Pavlovsk Palace, Russia.


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These unusual vases are cassolettes, highly decorative urns that serve functional or decorative purposes. Identical in design, this pair are adorned with classicised ormolu mounts, which top a rich black marble with mottled white and grey veining.

Of tapering ovoid form, the urns are surmounted by domed covers, capped by a fruiting finial and pierced anthemion decoration. Twin goat-head masks adorn the rim on each side, connected by golden ormolu waves. The main body of each urn is applied with a gilt-bronze frieze of dancing nymphs, remarkably cast even on a small scale. The marble body culminates in a foliate finial.

The vases are supported by a pair of winged ormolu putti, crafted with sculptural finesse. From their ruffled hair to their feathered wings, the artist has deftly added details to the pair.

The putti stand on oval stepped plinths, which feature an impressive eagle and laurel wreath mount to the centre, as well as beading and leaf-and-dart bordering. The plinths stand on four toupie feet.

This pair of vases are of the same design as a fully ormolu pair in the Palace of Pavlovsk, Russia, and two further ormolu models were sold from Pavlovsk in the Soviet sales at Rudolph Lepke, "Kunstwerke aus den bestanden Leningrader Museen und Schlosser Eremitage, Palais Michailoff, Gatschina U.A.", Berlin, 6 November 1928, Lots 170-171. The model was likely designed by the bronzier Frederick Bergenfeldt (1760-1822), who took influence from the French master, Claude Galle.

A similar pair was sold at Christie’s, ‘Champalimaud Collection’, London, 6th-7th July 2005, Lot 195 (£45,600).

The elegant gilt-bronze mounts alongside the fascinating history of the model make these vases a highly desirable decorative pair.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Black, Gold, Metallic


41 cm / 16.1 inches
16 cm / 6.3 inches
9 cm / 3.5 inches


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