- Michèle Bimbenet-Privat. Les Orfèvres et l’orfèvrerie de Paris au XVIIe siècle. Paris 2002, p.132.
- Franco Boggero & Farida Simonetti. “Silversmiths and their work in Genoa and Flanders” in Silver for Sir Anthony (dir. Anne-Marie Claessens-Pere?). Antwerp 1999, fig. 120/2.
- Franco Boggero & Farida Simonetti. Argenti genovesi da parata tra cinque e seicento. Turin 1991, fig. 18.
The coat-of-arms on the shield borne by the foreground figure on the platter pertains to the House of Grimaldi of Monaco whose prince Louis I Grimaldi was appointed Duc de Valentinois by King Louis XIII, in 1642.
The ewer and basin were probably produced for the French royal collection, after designs by Charles Lebrun, by Giovanni Aelbosca Belga, a Flemish goldsmith who worked in Genoa from where the Grimaldi’s of Monaco originated. It may be compared with similar magnificent ewer and basin by the same silversmith which also portrays an historical episode involving the Grimaldi family (Victoria & Albert Museum inv. n° M.11&A-1974).
The silverware portrayed here apparently records two important historical events. The upright ewer depicts Henri IV, the founder of the Bourbon dynasty, on his journey into Paris in 1595 when he was at last accepted as king by the Parisians. The basin portrays the triumphal entry of his son Louis XIII at Susa in 1629, after emulating Hannibal’s crossing the Alps.
French kings considered themselves the heirs to the Roman Emperors, and the inclusion of Suetonius’ book The Lives of the Caesars allows this painting to be understood as a Vanitas of earthly power and glory.