Today we are elated to offer for sale the rarest-of-the-rare, number 1 of 8, Camille Faure Limoges large and important enameled “The Lady and the Unicorn” enameled covered ginger jar! And condition is flawless!
The massive enameled lidded vessel is the epitome of the finest Camille Faure craftsmanship and design. The piece is intricately and expertly crafted of multi-layer vitreous glazed enameled copper, in a baluster “ginger jar” shape with matching lid. Signed “Fauré Limoges France E No. 1/8” on the bottom edge; additionally the piece features a signed Camille Faure Certificate of Authenticity label on the bottom, issued by the Union Chamber of Enamelers of Limousin indicating the vase is entirely hand-crafted by the artist.
The striking and stunning vase features the magnificently hand-painted 360 degree panoramic wrap-around Taste scene from the world-famous The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders from wool and silk, from designs drawn in Paris around 1500. The set is considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages in all of Europe. The set is on display in the Musée National du Moyen Âge (see last photo), housed in the magnificent Gothic Renaissance mansion known as the Hôtel de Cluny, which was partially constructed on the remnants of the third century Gallo-Roman baths known as the Thermes de Cluny, (from the Roman era of Gaul). The museum consists of two buildings: the frigidarium (“cooling room”), within the vestiges of the Thermes de Cluny, and the Hôtel de Cluny itself, which houses its collections.
The subject of the tapestries are complex, and scholars generally agree that they present a meditation on earthly pleasures and courtly culture, offered through an allegory of the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words “À mon seul désir” (My only desire). The tapestry’s meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as also representing love or understanding. It can also be interpreted as the old fairytale of a unicorn which is captured and brought to a princess’ garden, but a lion is jealous of the new acquisition while other garden residents (animals) ignore it. But the unicorn only wants to be free, causing further problems in his new home.
Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the mystical unicorn on her left and the mighty lion on her right; some include a monkey or dog in the scene.
Taste depicts a lush garden with towering fruit trees and beautiful aristocratic noblewoman with light hair and alabaster skin, wearing a luxurious golden brocade embroidered gown, taking costly sweets from a gold tazza held by a young and lovely lady-in-waiting. Her eyes are on an exotic parakeet on her upheld left hand. Her delicate veil in her headdress gently blows in the wind. The lion and the unicorn are both standing on their hind legs reaching up to pennants that frame the lady on either side. A small white pet dog sits patiently on the train of the woman’s dress waiting for a sweet to drop. A pair of birds fly above the women while a rabbit joyfully hops along. Other animals picture include a large white dog with fanciful collar, a pair of quails, a goat, a pair of birds, and another rabbit.
The vase features a magnificent translucent sang de boeuf ground overlaid with delicate cascading white flowers. The pennants, as well as the armour of the Unicorn and Lion in the tapestry bear the arms of the sponsor, Jean Le Viste, a powerful nobleman in the court of King Charles VII. However, a very recent study of the heraldry appears to lend credence to another hypothesis – previously dismissed – that the real sponsor of the tapestry was Antoine II Le Viste (1470–1534), a descendant of the younger branch of the noble Le Viste family and an important figure at the court of Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.
The tapestries are created in the style of mille-fleurs (meaning: “thousand flowers”) which were a specialty of weaving workshops in Flanders, particularly Bruges and Brussels. The tapestries were rediscovered in 1841 by Prosper Mérimée at the Chateau de Boussac (owned at the time by the subprefect of the Creuse) where they had been suffering damage from their storage conditions. In 1844 the renowned novelist George Sand saw them and brought public attention to the tapestries in her works at the time (most notably in her novel Jeanne), in which she correctly dated them to the end of the fifteenth century, using the ladies’ costumes for reference. Nevertheless, the artifacts continued to be threatened by dampness and mould until 1863, when they were brought to the Thermes de Cluny in Paris. Careful conservation has restored them nearly to their former glory.
The fine craftsmanship and execution of the painted scene vividly displays Faure exceptional and imaginative talent. The piece will become the crowning jewel of any Camille Faure and antique enamel collection. The vase presents beautifully and is in excellent antique condition, with very minimal display wear and patina commensurate with age. There is minor patination to exposed brass (the entire vase is made from brass but mst f it is covered in enamel). No chips, cracks, dings, scratches, or restorations of any kind. Just as you’d dream for.
Bring splendor and haut talent artistique to any interior with this stunning vase. An opportunity like this won’t last long… Fresh to the market!
Dimensions: 15-1/4″ in height, 8-3/4″ in diameter (at the widest point)