Orfèvre Jouaillier, Metteur en Oeuvre, Brillans

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Engraving with designs for jewelry, which makes the fourth plate of the jewelry section of the "Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers" (Encyclopedia, or annotated dictionary of sciences, arts, and crafts), published in Paris by Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert between 1751 and 1772. The Encyclopedia was published in 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates, and consists of thousands of articles, written by hundreds of contributors. It was one of the most important reference works for the arts and scientes, and one of the strongest tools in the propagation of the ideas of the French Enlightenment of the 18th century. Attempting to classify all domains of human activity, as well as the learning processes for such activities, the Encyclopedia became a work of enormous importance, and gave expression to many of the most important intellectual and social developments of its time.

This engraving is the fourth plate of the jewelry section of the Tome on Jewelry and Metalsmithing of the Encyclopedia, titled "Recueil des plances sur les sciences, les arts libéraux et les arts méchaniques, avec leur explication: Orfèvrerie, Joaillerie" (Collection of plates on sciences, liberal arts, and mechanical arts, with their explanations: Metalsmithing, Jewelry), and contains ten different designs for jewelry, including earrings, aigrettes, brooches, chatelaines, and hair and tie ornaments.

The plate contains three designs for earrings (Fig. 1, 2, 3), one with a dove perched on a small garland of flowers and leaves, which scrolls around it; one with a rosette surrounded by small leaves, from which hangs a ribbon bow motif holding a teardrop-shaped stone surrounded by square-cut stones; and one with a round pearl framed by branches of laurel leaves, which flanks a trophy motif with a flaming torch and a bucket with arrows, both surrounded by thin garlands of flowers and leaves, and from which hang three teardrop-shaped stones, possibly pearls, surrounded by square stones.

The two designs for aigrettes (Fig. 4, 10) consist of bundles of large, scrolling feathers, and branches with small flowers and leaves, held together by a small ribbon bow motif. There are two brooches (Fig. 5, 6), both with ribbon bows, one with thin garlands of flowers and leaves interlacing around it, and the other with wheat ears filling the spaces of the ribbon bow. Another brooch (Fig. 7) consists of a love trophy made up of a flaming torch intersected by a bucketwith arrows, and with two loving doves standing on it, surrounded by scrolling branches with leaves, and from which hangs a smaller love trophy of a flaming torch and a bucket with arrows, with two hearts tied together at the bottom.

The design for a chatelaine (Fig. 8) consists of a garland of flowers and leaves decorated by a net of lozenges formed by an interlacing ribbon and ribbon bows, with a round watch frame hanging at the bottom, made up of a thin wreath of leaves, and with the left cachet decorated with two interlacing fish motifs, and the right cachet decorated by a scrolling frame with small, stylized leaves. The final design (Fig. 9), for a pendant or nécessaire, consists of a basket with garlands of flowers and leaves, containing a trophy of a sword with a ribbon bow and several trumpets.

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