Size: Height: 29.5 cm; Diameter: 31 cm
The quality of execution and refinement of decoration make this cache-pot an extremely elegant example of the pieces made in the Japanese taste that were produced by the Escalier de Cristal..
Inspired by Japanese enamels, the decoration is set against a blue background enhanced with fine gilded spirals. A nightingale in flight spreads its wings above graceful peonies while a second bird sits on a branch decorated with delicate latticework accented in gold. Peonies, considered to be the “Queen of flowers” in China and associated with the aristocracy, are generally linked to the concept of prestige and honor, indicating that this flowerpot was destined for an elite clientele who sought to cultivate an elegant and refined lifestyle. The delicacy of the colors sets off the elegance of the design and the natural qualities of the subject. It also exemplifies the taste for Japanese art at the end of the 19th century, when Japan became open to the West during the Meiji period. The reparatory of decorations inspired by Japan and China was widely used by the makers of objets d’art, and the clientele of the day held the style in particularly high esteem.
The company known as the Escalier de Cristal, whose stamp appears on the bottom of this piece, actively participated in encouraging a taste for Far Eastern art by manufacturing small decorative wares and luxury furniture in the so-called “Japanese-inspired” style. Founded in 1804 by the widow Desarnaud, the company was taken over by Pierre-Isidore Lahoche, the associate of her son-in-law, and became “Pannier, Lahoche and Company” in 1867, when they relocated near the new Paris Opera. At the time, this was a fashionable neighborhood where elegant women and lovers of beautiful objects came to visit the prestigious shops in order to find furniture and precious items that would attest to their good taste and refined lifestyle. In 1885, the company became “Pannier Frères” and broadened its activity to include custom furniture, which resulted in the production of several models whose luxury and quality were rarely equaled. The Escalier de Cristal thus became a specialist in furniture inspired by the Far East, taking its inspiration from the most famous designers of Japanese-style taste.