Ferdinand Barbedienne

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Ferdinand Barbedienne

A Champlevé Enamel Jardinière

French, Circa 1870

REF No. B75450


Height :14 cm | 5¹/₂ in
Width :24 cm | 9¹/₂ in
Depth :15 cm | 5⁷/₈ in


A Champlevé Enamel and Gilt-Bronze Mounted Jardinière by Ferdinand Barbedienne, the design attributed to Louis-Constant Sévin. This fine jardinière is decorated all over with foliate scrolls and polychrome enamel flowers on a turquoise background.  The jardinière retains its original metal liner.  

Champlevé enamelling is similar to cloisonné in that the enamel is applied to discrete cells separated by metal. However, in champlevé, cells or troughs are cast into or cut away from the metal base, leaving a raised metal line between the cells which forms the outline of a design. The cells are then filled with molten or powdered glass and fired.  

The design for the jardinière with its distinctive néo-Byzantine enamel work is attributed to the sculptor and designer Louis-Constant Sévin (1821-1888), who created many of Barbedienne’s most important pieces from 1855 until 1888.

At the age of thirteen the gifted Sévin entered an apprenticeship with the sculptor Marneuf and by 1839 was an accomplished sculptor and designer of jewellery.  During the Revolution of 1848 he moved to London taking up the position of foreman for the goldsmith’s firm of Jean-Valentin Morel in London.  Many of the items he designed for Morel where presented at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.  

Returning to France in 1851 he moved to Limoges to design porcelain for the factory of Jouhanneaud & Dubois, before finally taking up the position of sculptor - decorator with Barbedienne in Paris in 1855, a position he was to hold until the end of his life in 1888.  He was to achieve great recognition for his work throughout his long career, including a medal for excellence at the London Exhibition of 1862 and a Gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878.   

An identical jardiniere with a cream rather than a turquoise field, signed 'Ferdinand Barbedienne' to the gilt bronze base, was previously in our collection Ref: B69110.

French, Circa 1870.


Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) was the inspiration and driving force behind one of the most important French art foundries. He pioneered the use of mounts and, more commonly, bronze sculpture including figures and animals. Barbedienne produced catalogues of bronze reproductions of Greek and Roman classical sculpture and experimented with champlève and cloisonné enamels during the third quarter of the century. Barbedienne exhibited several pieces of furniture at the 1855 Paris Exhibition including an ormolu mounted oak dressing table and an ormolu mounted ebony veneered bookcase. Both pieces were executed in his favoured Renaissance revival style for furniture. Furniture with mounts signed by Barbedienne is extremely rare.

The Barbedienne foundry handled the casting of numerous national monuments and architectural schemes. Ferdinand Barbedienne himself also took an active part in the promotion of contemporary sculpture and became one of the founders for Davis d'Angers' medallions as well as much of Rude's sculpture.

His signature varied from hand written capitals to stamp in capitals, usually F. Barbedienne, Fondeur or BARBEDIENNE PARIS.
In 1839 Barbedienne collaborated with the inventor Achille Collas who had succeeded in enlarging and reducing works of art to arbitrary sizes by a simple mathematical calculation, allowing the accurate reduction of classical and contemporary marbles for the purpose of reproduction in bronze. In 1850 Barbedienne was commissioned to furnish the Paris town hall for which he was awarded with the 'medaille d' honneur' at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1855.

Barbedienne's awards:
Paris, 1878; 'Grand Prix', 'Grande Médaille d'Or', 'Diplôme d'honneur' , and 28 'Médailles de Coopérateurs'.
Vienna 1873; 2 'Diplômes d'Honneur', 'Médailles de Progrès', and 25 'Médailles de Coopérateurs'.
Paris 1867: 'Jure Rapporteur (Hors Concours)'.
London 1862; 3 Medals for Excellence.
Paris 1855; 'Grande Médaille d'Honneur'.
London 1851; 2 Council Medals.

Makers Bibliography:
Barbedienne, Ferdinand, Catalogue des Bronzes d'art 1886 , Fonderie d'art Français: Val d'Osne, Fonderie de Tusey, Antoine-Louis Barye, Fonderie Rudier, Charles Crozatier, Ferdinand Barbedienne, Livres Groupe, (Paris) 2010
Mestdagh, Camille and Pierre Lecoules, L'Ameublement d'art français: 1850-1900, Editions de l'Amateur (Paris), 2010, pp.23, 120, 155, 161 and 179.

Kjellberg, Pierre, Les Bronzes du XIX Siècle, dictionnaire des sculpteurs, Editions de l'Amateur (Paris) 1987, pps.653-658.
Meyer, Jonathan, Great Exhibitions: London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collector's Club (Woodbridge, UK), 2006.

Ledoux-Lebard, Denise, Les Ebénistes du XIX Siècle, Editions de l'Amateur, (Paris) 1984, p.38.
Cooper, Jeremy, 19th Century Romantic Bronzes, New York Graphic Society, 1975 pps. 25, 41,149.

Ferdinand Barbedienne

A Champlevé Enamel Jardinière

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