An antique, 19th century French bronze urn, signed F.A.D. and after the 17th century model by Claude Ballin, goldsmith to Louis XIV, for the gardens at Versaille. This urn is one of the thirteen different models on the marble railings that separates the Parterre du Nord and the Parterre d'Eau in Versailles.
Historically significant copies of this Ballin design also resided in the Chateau de Bagatelle in the Bois du Bologne, home to the Fourth Marquess of Hertford, who was allowed to commission copies of the originals in the 19th century, during the reign of Napoleon III. The collection of garden vases at Bagatelle was dispersed later in the 19th century, including this model, which is now in the Wallace Collection.
This beautifully proportioned and detailed urn features handles with the the heads of Janus, each handle supported by a boar's head, and the neck adorned with a deep bas relief band of shells and acorns. The rounded bottom is banded with a Greek key over acorns. The square, signed base is a painted white metal.
By all indications this special piece is a close contemporary of the careful renditions of the Bagatelle era.