Since the Middle Ages, precious objects, most often antique, were assembled in order to enhance them, protect them or give them a new function. These vases or cups made of hard stone, marble, rock crystal, onyx…, such as the eagle of “Suger”, an antique porphyry vase made of gilt silver  for the treasure of the basilica of St Denis and today in the Louvre museum.

Aigle de Suger : vase en porphyre rouge, argent niellé et doré, vers 1147 – Musée du Louvre

Later in the Renaissance, other natural products such as ostrich eggs, nautilus, coconuts, rhinoceros horns …. were decorated with precious mounts in order to adorn the cabinets of curiosity.

Nautile monté en hanap : Neptune – Musée de la Renaissance, château d’Ecouen

From the 17th century onwards, more than the unusual, it was the decorative aspect that interested collectors. The mounted objects became part of the home décor. These are mainly porcelains from China or Japan which are decorated with gilded bronze mounts of great mastery.

Fontaine à parfum : Porcelaine et bronze doré - Chine, début de l’époque Qianlong vers 1743 - Château de Versailles
Fontaine à parfum : Porcelaine et bronze doré – Chine, début de l’époque Qianlong vers 1743 – Château de Versailles

At the end of the 18th century and in the 19th century, the object will often be conceived with its mount, thus keeping the idea of a mounted object and two materials each one highlighting itself, but losing the intention of the function deviation and the confrontation between two civilizations.

Vase "ovale Daguerre"
Vase “ovale Daguerre” en porcelaine de Sèvres “Beau Bleu” à monture de bronze doré d’époque Louis XVI ; attribuée à Pierre-Philippe Thomire, vers 1785-1790

With the vogue for Japanese art at the end of the 19th century, “l’Escalier de Cristal” produced many enameled crystal vases with gilded bronze mounts.

Vase en cristal émaillé et bronze doré, vers 1885 – Rijksmuseum


At the beginning of the 20th century, wrought iron took on a noble status thanks to ironworkers such as Edgar Brandt, Raymond Subes and Gilbert Poillerat. It was used to enhance ceramic objects such as the monumental vase presented here, whose body made of stoneware and mounted in wrought iron in the 1920s was probably designed for architectural or garden decoration.

Vase en grès et fer forgé patiné, France vers 1930