This is a pair of French Haviland Limoges Barbotine vases, produced at the Auteuil studio in Paris, and decorated and signed by the Auteuil artist Maurice Bocquet. The age is 19th century, circa 1876 to 1882.
The vases are difficult to photograph. This type of glaze reflects everything, so please keep this in mind when you view the photos, that you may be seeing light glares and reflections in the glaze. If you already own some rare Haviland Barbotine, then you can see how my photos do not do these beautiful and rare vases justice.
The rarity is high because this is a pair of matching vases, signed and decorated by the same Auteuil artist, not just one single vase.
The vases are large and heavy. Each vase weighs around six pounds. They are approximately 13 3/8" high, 9 ½" long and 7 ½" wide.
The Haviland Auteuil Studio in Paris produced faience pottery, or terra cotta, decorative objects. This specific artist blended Japanese with Impressionism, in a Japonisme style.
The glaze may look black in the photos, but it actually shades from a real dark green to a lighter green, with a marbling of other colors like yellow, white and blue, probably to give a stone-like background to the flowers. This concept was being used by some of the top Paris decorators during this time period on lighter pieces of faience at other decorating studios. In some lights, the primary color will actually look more blue than green.
Many of the flowers and leaves are in raised relief, or a combination of partially enameled on the surface of the vase and partially in raised relief. What I mean is a few petals of a blooming flower might be painted on in thick enamel, and the other petals and a leaf stand out from the vase.
Here are some reference cites. In "Ceramique Impressionniste: Avec le Soutien de Haviland", on pages 31 and 32, you can view several color photos of vases painted by Maurice Bocquet. In "Limoges: Deux Siecles de Porcelaine," there is a reference to the artist on page 214. There is a good discussion of the Auteuil School and the Barbotine decorating of faience in the book, "Faience et Porcelaine de Paris" by Regine de Plainval de Guillebon, along with some nice color photos of pieces by Braquemond, Dammouse and others, but a truly exceptional book for discussion of the porcelain factories and decorators of Old Paris. For further reading on this type of art, I refer you to "Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art 1854-1910," and "Felix Bracquemond et Les Arts Decoratifs". Of course, I only provide a brief reference list here.
Bocquet painted Haviland terra cotta pieces at the time Felix Braquemond operated the Auteuil Workshop in Paris, along with Chaplet. Bocquet was considered to be one of the few exceptional artists to paint on the pottery pieces produced by Braquemond, using the Barbotine techniques of decorating created by Ernest Chaplet, and you will find his pieces on display in museums today.
The artist's signature is MB, found on the front of both vases. In the first photo, the signature on the vase on the left is below a green leaf, which is to the left of a cream colored partially raised flower. The signature on the vase on the right is below a partially raised leaf, which is place on the right side.
The shape of the vases is a soft quatrefoil at the mouth, with a large bulbous body, and a slightly tapered foot. There are no cracks. This type of glaze always has a light crazing, which can be viewed with a magnifying glass or under a strong light. The most serious of the crazing will look like light scratches in the glaze. Around the rims of the mouths, there is some glaze flaking and a few small flakes in the pottery. The same can be seen around the feet. All of the Barbotine is like this. On the raised flowers and leaves, there are a few small nicks. If anything larger occurred in the past, it has been professionally restored by a prior collector, and is not detectable to the eye.
The marks on the undersides of both vases are difficult to see. There is an H&Co incised, followed by an L, and partially filled with glaze. There is an incised number 13. There is a number hand painted on each vase also. I don't think this number has anything to do with Haviland. I purchased these vases in France, and my understanding is they were owned by a museum at one time, and the hand painted numbers may have been applied by the curator.
If you are seriously interested in these vases and need more photos, please feel free to email me with your questions.