Ornamental vocabulary and polychromy

Ornamental vocabulary and polychromy

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Ornamental vocabulary

Vase Borghèse,
Marbre, 3e quart du 1er siècle av. J.C.
Cette face du vase se retrouve traitée sur le dessus de porte de la porte située à gauche du bureau à cylindre.
Musée du Louvre, département des antiquités grecques, étrusques et romaines, inv. MR 985.N274.MA86.

The ornamental vocabulary shows the dominant taste for antiquity in the late 18th century. The slender columns support an entablature delicately sculpted with beading, denticles and palm leaves. Their architectural order is very original: neither Ionic nor Corinthian but rather Egyptian or Etruscan. The pilasters are decorated with candelabra, foliation, beading, festoons, winged women, dolphins, eagles and caducei. The four bas-relief overdoors reproduce the sculpted decoration of the famous Borghese vase. The gracefulness of this purely decorative architecture is similar to that represented on Pompeian frescoes dating from the 1st century AD.


This decor’s original colours, typical of the Directoire and Consulat styles, were concealed with whitewash in the 19th century. The light yellow and off-white outlining the cornice echo the yellow false marble decorating the lower part of the columns and contrast with the blue imitation-wood door frames, which in turn harmonise with the blues and whites of the stucco evoking the famous stoneware produced in England by Wedgewood, then very popular.
Prompted by this success, the royal manufactory at Sèvres also produced biscuit porcelain in blue and white.

  • Boiseries du grand salon de l’hôtel de Serres

    Paris, vers 1790-1795
    chêne sculpté et peint, stuc moulé, glaces
    legs EUGÈNE BARRIOL, 1938

    inv. 33897
  • Mariage de l’Amour et Psyché

    MANUFACTURE DE WEDGWOOD & SONS, Angleterre, vers 1770
    grès fin
    don ALBERT BICHET, 1903

    Ce médaillon offre un exemple de la production de la manufacture et illustre sa période la plus brillante.
    Présenté salle 24.

    inv. 10568 B