This Sèvres Vase is one of a pair on display at Apsley House where they have been since at least the 1840s. These two vases show the quality of the workmanship associated with the Sèvres factory.
Decorated with an image of a now extinct type of South African zebra called a quagga, the other vase features a gnu, and they were both taken from a series of aquatints that the expedition artist Samuel Daniell’s produced in 1799.
Daniells travelled to South Africa and his prints were widely distributed. Both vases stand on an ormolu (gilt bronze) foot by the celebrated goldsmith Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843).
Sèvres were the leading French manufacturer of ceramics and was founded in 1738 becoming a royal factory in 1759. In 1875 the factory was transferred from Sèvres to a new building, funded by the state, next to the Parc de Saint Cloud where it still stands today.