Sep 23, 2008



c. 1880

design probably conceived by

Eugène Rousseau

(French, 1827–1891)

glass probably made by

firm of Appert Frères


retailed by

firm of Escalier de Cristal


Glass with gilt metal mounts

Overall: 13.3 x 48 x 28.2 cm (5 1/4 x 18 7/8 x 11 1/8 in.)

Bequest of John L. Severance (by exchange) 2001.36


The retail firm of Escalier de Cristal seems not to have directly manufactured the wares they sold, but they exercised design control and sometimes brought together craftspeople of various talents and training to execute their stylish goods. Eugène Rousseau was not himself a craftsman, but he acted as a sort of editor, and glass and ceramics were made under his supervision. The glass of this bowl, with its cast relief decoration and colored inclusions, is of a kind associated with Rousseau. It is known that much of his glass was actually made by the firm of Appert Frères. In terms of style, this Centerpiece reflects the interest in things Japanese, which was an important element in the luxury goods made around 1880. The swimming fish and the naturalistic details of the gilt metal pinecones and twigs tied with string suggest this Asian source of inspiration.

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