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Title:Silver Tureen (a), lid (b) and liner (c) [pair with 1975.1.2561a,b]
Artist:Etienne-Jacques Marcq (French, born ca. 1705–1781)
Medium:Silver, cast in several parts and soldered together.
Dimensions:Height: 26.5 cm. Width: 39 cm. D.: 24.3 cm. Liner, height: 11.5 cm.; width: 32.3 cm.; d.: 21.3 cm.
Credit Line:Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
These two silver tureens were made in 1749 for an unknown patron whose arms were polished out and replaced a few decades later.(1) The coat of arms and motto are those of Pierre-Anne de Chaponay, marquis de Chaponay-Morancé (1754 – 1832), knight of the Order of Saint Louis, of an important family of Dauphiné. He began his career at the French royal court as a page of Marie Thérèse of Savoy, comtesse d’Artois (1756 – 1805). She was the wife of Charles de France, comte d’Artois, the youngest grandson of Louis XV of France, who became King Charles X of France in 1824.(2) The arms were likely engraved in the 1780s after erasing the earlier ones, and certainly before Chaponay’s wedding in 1796. The paper label on the inside of 1975.1.2561 refers to the famous jeweler and connoisseur of goldsmith’s work, Germain Bapst (1853 – 1921), and may date about 1900, but no later than his death in 1921. Bapst, the scion of an old jewelry firm that once served the French Crown, was for a short time in business with the jewelry designer Lucien Falize (1839 – 1897). The two oval tureens of similar form and decoration each stand on four compact rolled-up feet that are attached to the body by fanned-out leaves with C-scrolls and shell formations. Reeded moldings on the shoulders distinguish the swelling lower bowl from the slightly concave edge. A rippled band with twisted foliage forms the lip and meets on the short sides to merge into massive bifurcated scroll handles. On the sides are cartouches featuring a relief of asymmetrically arranged foliage and pods with the engraved arms and motto GALLO CANENTE SPES REDIT (At the crowing of the cock, hope returns). The undulating lids have a lowered oval center accommodating a silver still-life composition with casts showing crayfish, several asparagus spears, truffles, and other vegetables and herb leaves, all surmounted by an artichoke. Stippled and engraved floral sprays and applied shell ornaments surround the lids’ sides. One of them, 1975.1.2560c, contains its original silver liner decorated with foliate handles. The roughly cutout squareshaped openings in the lids’ centers that accommodate the bolt and nut securing the finials are unusual. These awkward elements may have been created by an inexperienced workshop. Recent examination of the tureens by Richard E. Stone concluded that all parts are from the eighteenth century but that the lids were altered to fit the heavy finial compositions.(3) The naturalism and effervescent spirit of the French Rococo is seen in the superb sculptural realism of the finials, which was achieved by casting models from actual crayfish, asparagus, shallots, and truffles. This enhancement may have taken place when Pierre-Anne de Chaponay acquired the tureens, with the intention of adding an extravagant touch. Both objects had stands and were likely part of a larger service. French silver of the ancien régime is exceedingly rare, as much of it was melted down and converted to coinage during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. A less dynamically formed round tureen or pot d’oille of 1755 – 66 with its circular stand by the same goldsmith is preserved in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.(4)
Catalogue entry from: Wolfram Koeppe. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 394-396.
NOTES: 1. The tureens were displayed on a side table in the dining room of Robert Lehman’s apartment at 625 Park Avenue, New York. 2. Saint-Allais, Nicolas Viton. Nobiliaire universel de France; ou, Recueil général des généalogies historiques des maisons nobles de ce royaume. Vol. 13, pt. 1. Paris, 1876, pp. 281 – 82. I am grateful to Benoît Constensoux and Alexis Kugel of Galerie Kugel, Paris, for sharing their knowledge about Parisian silver and French heraldry. 3. Examination by Richard E. Stone, conservator emeritus, and Linda Borsch, conservator, Objects Conservation department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. 4. See Mabille, Gérard. Orfevrerie française des XVIe, XVIIe, XVIIIe siecles: Catalogue raisonné des collections du Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Musée Nissim de Camondo. Paris, 1984, pp. 107 – 8.
Marquis de Chaponay-Morancé; [Les Fils de Léon Helft, Paris]. Probably acquired by Philip Lehman through Helft in 1933.
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