Designing ornamental vases or urns was particularly popular during the mid-18th century since the only limit to the possibilities was the imagination of the artist. Saly, a sculptor by training, was a student at the French Academy in Rome from 1740 to 1746, at which time he published a set of 30 etchings. Saly began with basic antique vase forms but deviated from classical ornament to use a rich variety of fantastic creatures for embellishment.
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