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Monumental French Renaissance Bronze Ewer after Duquesnoy- Villemsens for the Great Exhibition (Code 1889)

  • £2,15000


This monumental 19th century gilt bronze decorative ewer could only have been made for exhibition or as a special commission. It stands nearly 1 meter tall and is so heavy it is difficult for one person to lift. The main scene around the center is of Bacchanalian putti after Duquesnoy with an unwilling dog and a goat. There is a rams head terminal to the handle and a winged cherub surmounting the handle top. There is further cast detail and decorative ornamentation throughout.

It does not have a makers name, and this would not be unusual if it were made for exhibition. A catalogue reference of a near identical example exists for the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Crystal Palace for the French foundry of Villemsens. This maker was also known to have exhibited similar works at the Paris exhibition not long after and is perhaps the most likely attribution. The sheer scale of this piece limits the number of potential sources.

The style is Renaissance Revival and the styling of the putti is very much in the manner of François Duquesnoy, the 17th century Flemish sculptor who also included goats and dogs in his Bacchanalian works. The maker clearly took significant inspiration from his artworks and perhaps specifically 'Putti with He-Goat' which resides in the Galleria Doria in Rome. The piece is meant for exhibition and is of course in no way practical for use, and indeed the neck is capped off from production to prevent objects falling inside and to strengthen the neck.

Note the second image which shows a standard can of soup for scale! It is large enough to make an impact even in the largest of settings such as the entrance or lobby of a building, and it may also suit a film production looking for something out of the ordinary. Despite the size, the quality has not suffered and it maintains a high level of detail and finish.

Due to the massive size and weight this item can only ship by arrangement and will require a specialist service - ask for a shipping quote. Or you are welcome to collect from Lincoln (City). My shipping scales go up to 25kg and this items goes well off the top of the scale. It can still be carried a short distance by one strong person however, and if you wish to collect I will be able to assist with loading.


A remarkable piece, generally in very good order. Slight wear in places and some age related patination.

Measurements (Approx)

Height 97 cms ( 38 1/4 inches )
Width 43 cms ( 17 inches ) at widest point
Weight over 25 Kg (before packing).

Stock Code: 1889 OC19-2



By special arrangement before purchase only - contact us for details, or collect from Lincoln, UK


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