Ornate Stoneware Urns
A very rare pair of finely modeled campana-form stoneware urns, ornamented with floral swag motif on the main body and grapevine frieze below the rim, the lug handles with Flemish-style bearded and whiskered male mask terminals, attributed to Ambroise Tellier, American (New York), ca. 1860. 25 ins. high, 17 ins. diameter at top, 19 ins. square at base. Shown on an associated pair of terra-cotta plinths with inset panels, English, ca. 1940.
In the mid-19th century, the New York-based firm, Ambroise Tellier, produced terra-cotta statuary, urns, fountains, and decorative architectural ornament, in addition to a full line of terra-cotta bricks, tiles, and slabs. The firm was lauded and the design for this specific urn was depicted in an 1859 issue of The Horticulturist, the widely-read gardening and taste-making journal edited by one of the nation’s first landscape architects, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852). According to The Horticulturist, Mr. Ambroise Tellier was an Italian artist who emigrated to the United States, establishing an atelier at 1194 Broadway in New York City. The Horticulturist indicated that Tellier’s terra cotta material was “perfectly adapted to a northern climate, being as durable as brick”. Although this pair of urns is not marked by Tellier, we may surmise that they were produced by his firm because one of the statues from the same historic house bears his mark.