Gift of the Société des Amis du musée Delacroix, 2002
H. 0,275 m
This ewer is part of a pair with anthropomorphic handles - a siren, a reminder of the object’s purpose. On the body, the two ewers have two figures separated by a cord motif: a scarab on one side and a medallion depicting a bearded man on the other, set off with a garland. In his will, Delacroix left these "two earthenware vases, one adorned with cords" to Mme Cavé, an old friend with whom he once had a romantic attachment, at least at the start of their friendship.
The inventory of the apartment and studio on Rue de Furstenberg, drawn up just after Delacroix’s death, reveals a fairly impressive quantity of furniture and objects of all sorts from one room to the next, with a predominance of small bronzes and earthenware similar to this pair of ewers. Inspired from the techniques and decorative repertory of the Renaissance, these objects were highly prized in the 19th century, especially after the rediscovery of the work by ceramicist Bernard Palissy-yet the newly minted pieces did not match his skill or finesse.
Delacroix evidently liked paperweights depicting frogs or serpents, vases decorated with grotesque figures, fish-shaped bowls (one of them is in the museum), and even earthenware crocodiles!
In his will, Delacroix left these two Delft earthenware vases to Marie-Elizabeth Cavé as a souvenir of their friendship.
Henriette Bessis, "Etudes et documents : l’inventaire après décès d’Eugène Delacroix" in Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français, 1969, n°156, p.206.
Maurice Sérullaz, Delacroix, Paris, 1989, pp. 454, 457.