French, est. 1764
Vase, c. 1840
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of C. Peter Kaellgren
Originally a producer of windowpanes, mirrors, and stemware, Baccarat began producing lead crystal in 1816 and it remains its specialization. Baccarat’s quality products quickly attracted royal notice in France, with commissions as early as 1823 from Louis XVIII, Charles X, Emperor Napoleon III, and other notable patrons. The shoulders of this large, baluster vase feature impressive reliefs: heads of river gods with their bearded faces and hair wreathed in rushes and reeds. At some point in its history, this vase was altered to serve as a lamp base (it is not uncommon for an object’s original function to be transformed over the centuries). Despite this alteration, the piece is still very important, and it remains among the largest of its vase type produced by Baccarat.