11118

A PAIR OF GILT-BRONZE MOUNTED SPECIMEN PORPHYRITIC GRANITE VASES IN THE DIRECTOIRE TASTE

Possibly Russian. Early 19th Century.

Measurements

Height: 23" (58 cm)
Width: 6" (15 cm).

Research
Each vase with ovoid porphyritic granite body mounted with angular “handles” emerging from a molded rim. The socle of-gilt bronze resting on a square shallow plinth. The vases resting on verde antico pedestals with gilt foliate border above a stepped base; these bases may not be original, but they are of the same period and have been used together with the vases since at least 1870.

Provenance:
Important old US Collection

The present pair of vases on pedestals was formerly owned by Henry Clay Gibson (1830-1891), where they stood on a mantelpiece in his Philadelphia home (figure 1).

Gibson was a Gilded Age industrialist and whiskey magnate, and the son of John Gibson, a bank accountant and founder of the Gibsonton Mills Distillery near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Henry inherited his father’s successful distillery business at the age of 22, and over the next thirty years he and his partners expanded it significantly. He was also engaged as a financier and banker, and member of various other enterprises throughout Philadelphia such as the Fidelity Insurance, Trust & Safe Deposit Co. and Philadelphia & Reading Railway Co.

In the early 1880s Gibson retired from the firm and focused his attention on assembling his art collection. Although little is known about the way in which he acquired his collection we do know that Gibson had been sent abroad in the mid 1800s to learn more about the family distilling business and he traveled to Italy and France from 1850-52. “He seems to have bought most of his collection on trips to Europe in 1879 and in the 1880s.”1

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.