Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Tureen

Designer:
Charles Percier (French, Paris 1764–1838 Paris)
Designer:
Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (French, Pontoise 1762–1853 Paris)
Maker:
Martin-Guillaume Biennais (French, 1764–1843, active ca. 1796–1819)
Date:
1794–1814
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Silver gilt
Dimensions:
18 1/4 x 14 1/8 in. (46.4 x 35.9 cm); Other: 20 1/8 in. (51.1 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1934
Accession Number:
34.17.1a–c
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 553
This tureen is part of a large table service reputedly given by Napoleon I to his sister Pauline and her husband, Prince Camillo Borghese.
Inscription: Engraved inside cover: [1] Biennais Orfre de Sa Mté l'Empereur et Roi à Paris; engraved underneath stand: [2] Biennais, Orfèvre de S Mte l'Empereur et Roi: à Paris; scratched underneath stand: [3] 1489 24 (possibly an inventory number); scratched to underside of liner: [4] 1489 24b (possibly an inventory number)

Marking: [1] B, 2 pellets, a monkey above, in a vertical lozenge (maker's mark)
[2] Head of Apollo with 1, in an oval (unofficial quality mark for first standard silver, 1794–97)
[3] Cock with 1, in horizontal octagon (Paris mark for first standard silver, 1809–19)
[4] Head of Minerva, in a circle (Paris medium excise mark for silver, 1809–19)
[5] Fasces with ax blade at center left (Paris restricted warranty mark for silver, 1809–19)

Location of marks:
[1], [2] underneath bowl of tureen, on inner side of applied ornament at base of bowl, inside cover, under rim of foot, on each handle, on under side of liner, on bottom of stand, under rim of stand
[3], [4] on side of bowl, rim of foot, wall of liner, inside cover, underneath center of stand
[5] on relief ornament at base of bowl, on leaf ornament at base of finial, on pedestal on which finial figure sits
Princes Borghese (ca. 1803?–1892; sale, Palazzo Borghese, Rome, March 28– April 9, 1892, no. 847); Don Antonio Licata, Prince of Baucina (from 1892; sold to Canessa) ; Ercole Canessa , Naples, Italy (after 1892–before 1924) ; Edith Rockefeller McCormick (by 1924–34; sale, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, January 2–6, 1934, no. 701; sold to Helft for $1100); [ Les Fils de Léon Helft , 1934; sold to MMA ]
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