Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Jewel coffer on stand (petit coffre à bijoux)

Maker:
Coffer attributed to Martin Carlin (French, near Freiburg im Breisgau ca. 1730–1785 Paris)
Factory:
Porcelain plaques by Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)
Decorator:
Eight plaques decorated by Jean-Jacques Pierre the Younger (French, active 1763–1800)
Decorator:
One plaque decorated by Michel-Gabriel Commelin (French, 1746–1802)
Date:
ca. 1770
Culture:
French, Paris and Sèvres
Medium:
Oak veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, stained sycamore, holly, and ebonized holly; thirteen soft-paste porcelain plaques; gilt-bronze mounts; velvet (not original)
Dimensions:
37 1/2 x 21 3/4 x 14 1/2 in. (95.3 x 55.2 x 36.8cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Furniture
Credit Line:
Gift of Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1958
Accession Number:
58.75.41
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 529
In 1770, the year the Austrian archduchess Marie-Antoinette (1755 – 1793) married Louis-Auguste, the dauphin of France, she received among her wedding presents a jewel coffer on stand mounted with porcelain plaques. That piece (Château de Versailles) appears to have been the prototype for the eight other examples of this model known today, three of which are in the Museum’s collection. (footnote 1) Made by or attributed to Martin Carlin, these coffers were marketed by Simon-Philippe Poirier, who himself may have invented their design, or by his partner and successor, Dominique Daguerre. All of them have a drawer in the stand fitted with a velvet-lined surface and a compartment for writing implements, so they must have doubled as a small desk. Although most of the plaques on the present example display floral decoration, the oval plaque on the lid and the shaped and undulating one on the front of the coffer show love symbols. Since most of the plaques are marked with the date letter R for the year 1770, it may be assumed that this piece of furniture was made then. Poirier delivered a coffer of French porcelain on a green ground with floral cartouches, richly embellished with gilt bronze, and its stand, to Madame du Barry on December 13, 1770. Since the casket is not listed in any of the inventories of her belongings, it is possible that she ordered it as a sumptuous present for someone else. Coffers of this description were in the possession of Marie-Joséphine-Louise of Savoy, comtesse de Provence (1753 – 1810), and of Empress Maria Feodorovna (1759 – 1828) at Pavlovsk.

1. The other two are acc. nos. 58.75.42 and 1976.155.109.
Marking: Painted on one plaque in gray enamel: crossed L's enclosing P (Sèvres factory mark and date letter for 1768)

Painted on seven plaques in gray enamel: crossed L's enclosing R (Sèvres factory mark and date letter for 1770)

Painted on eight plaques in gray enamel: P' (but written on one plaque as P7) (decorator's mark for Pierre jeune)

Painted on one plaque in gray enamel: [1] crossed Ls enclosing X (Sèvres factory mark and date letter for 1775); [2] Cm (decorator's mark for Commelin)

Painted in underglaze blue on seven plaques, all but one with mark of Pierre jeune: haut (unexplained)
Possibly Comtesse du Barry ; Sir Charles Mills, Baronet ; The Lords Hillingdon , London ; The Samuel H. Kress Foundation (until 1958; to MMA)
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