Agate Cup with Handle in the Form of a Dragon ("Aguière d'Agathe")
Oil on panel, 34.9x26.7cm
Signed lower right Henri D Roszezewski
Henri-Dominique Roszezowski (1829–1894) was a French painter who specialized in still lifes and genre scenes. He was born in Paris, France, to Polish parents. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was a pupil of Thomas Couture.
Roszezowski’s early paintings were influenced by the work of Couture, and he painted in a realistic style. However, he later began to experiment with more expressive and impressionistic styles. His paintings often depict everyday objects and scenes, but they are also characterized by their use of light and color.
Roszezowski was a successful painter during his lifetime, and his work was exhibited in major exhibitions in Paris and other European cities. He was also a member of the Société des Artistes Français.
The present painting illustrates an exceptional enameled and gem-set gold-mounted carved sardonyx nautilus cup which entered the collection of Louis XIV before 1673 and was included in subsequent royal inventories. The hard stone vessel is Byzantine, 10th/11th century, and was carved during the second half of the 16th century. In circa 1630, the Parisian goldsmith Pierre Delabarre added the majority of the enamel mounts and in 1828 Louis Loque added further embellishment. The importance of the vessel in the royal collections is underscored by its appearance in several other paintings by Blaise-Alexandre Desgoffe (see Literature, Alcouffe 2001, p. 384, figs. 185s-f), in which he faithfully depicts the vessel, such as his picture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (acc. no. 87.15.119). Roszczewski, however, added a different, even more elaborate foot to the cup. A cup with a nearly identical body but with a different foot is preserved in the Prado, Madrid.
Sold New York, Sotheby’s, 17 February 1993, lot 191A
Private collection, Switzerland
D. Alcouffe, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Paris 2001, p. 384, reproduced, fig. 185c.
Possibly Paris, Salon de 1868, no. 2179.