Our extremely rare service is offered in its original box in solid rosewood trimmed with silk, with its "cabaret" tray in red varnish Vernis Martin in imitation of China lacquer.
It includes four "shaker" * cups and their saucers, a sugar bowl and a teapot in soft-paste porcelain * from St Cloud decorated with "prunus" imitating "Chinese white" porcelain from Dehua ovens.
The sugar bowl and teapot feature an elaborate gilt-silver frame, with fretels imitating cocoa pods.
Six other pieces in gilt-silver are present, a chocolate maker with its removable handle in turned ebony, four spoons decorated with shells and a small tea box.
These pieces are finely engraved with a count's crown crossing the letter E.
They are all hallmarked, in particular by Léonard DESBOIS, a master goldsmith confirmed in Paris in 1725.
The turned boxwood "moussoir", with its screwable handle is present, it was used to emulsify the chocolate by turning it with the palms of the hands inside the chocolate maker.
Two crystal bottles decorated with gilt-silverstoppers are also present and were used to contain the vanilla extracts and various liquors.
Finally, five tin cans hidden in compartments under the cups were used to contain the cocoa paste and the various spices which accented the chocolate.
Very good original condition, the casket shellac varnished , porcelain in perfect condition, small restorations on the lacquer tray.
Work of a Parisian Marchand Mercier*, circa 1735.
Box: Height: 24cm; Width: 39 cm; Depth: 37.5 cm
Tea or chocolate sets from marchands merciers in public collections:
Louvre Museum: Regent's Tea Service (Inventory No. OA 122373)
Louvre Museum: =Queen Marie Leszczynska's service offered by King Louis XV (Inventory N ° OA 9598 B)
* Soft-paste porcelain:
Soft porcelain was produced in France, especially in St Cloud from 1678 to imitate Chinese white porcelain, but unlike the latter, the paste does not have kaolin.
The discovery of this material near Limoges, in Saint-Yrieix in 1767 or 1768 will allow the production of real hard-paste porcelain and will mark the end of this production.
* Shaker cup:
A shaker, or shaker cup, is a cup that fits into its saucer, which helps keep the cup stable.
It was originally intended to contain hot chocolate, very thick, requiring vigorous stirring.
Invented in Peru at the end of the 17th century, this type of silver cup was brought back to Spain.
Then, as the fashion for chocolate spread to all the countries of Europe, the shaker became a porcelain object, this material absorbing more heat.
From early 18th century they were produced not only by European manufacturers but also in China.
Our opinion :
"Sellers of everything, makers of nothing", this is how Denis Diderot defines the role of the marchand mercier in his encyclopedia.
Marhcand mercier is a trader, importer, collector, designer and decorator, he doesn't create anything according to the rules of his corporation but he plays a major role in the rise of French luxury in the 18th century, as a design and trend maker.
He assembles the productions of several artists, delivers necessities but also furniture from the greatest cabinetmakers, which he enriches with precious materials, such as porcelain, bronze or lacquer, which he ajusts in Paris or imports from abroad like Germany, China or Japan ...
As it is the case with Regent's tea service or the one of the queen offered by King Louis XV, our service is supplied circa 1725-1735 by a Parisian dealer.
For our service the dealer (marhcand mercier) involves a cabinetmaker, a goldsmith, a glassmaker, a woodturner, a sheather and a porcelain factory.
In early reign of Louis XV only a few great marhcand merciers could deal such rich services, among them we can cite Thomas Joachim Hébert (1687-1773), Lazare Duvaux (1703-1758) or even Edme-François Gersaint (1694-1750) .
This precious article, as well as the chocolate ceremony, were still at that time destinied for an elite of the nobility, which is confirmed by the count's coat of arms (nine-pearl crowns) which adorns the gilt-silver pieces in our box.
It is also quite astonishing to encounter this type of crown crossed out with a simple letter, as if it was obvious that this letter could only refer to one family.
Although this is only a simple hypothesis, we believe that it could be the Comte d'Evreux, Louis-Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne (Paris, 2 August 1679 - hôtel d'Évreux,Paris, 3 août 1753)
The date matches, as the Count refurbishes his manor Hotel D'Evreux (current ELysee palace) in 1722. Moreover he is married to Marie-Anne Crozat, dauther of the richest man in Paris, Antoine Crozat (1655-1738) and one of biggest French art collectors, especially of porcelains, mounted works of art, which he acquires thanks to his fortune made in sea trade with America.
In addition to the slave trade, the monopoly of trade with Louisiana or its tobacco plantations in Santo Domingo, it also smuggles money with Peru.
At early 18th century, he was one of the biggest importers of sugar, vanilla or chocolate, which heavily taxed was a royal delicacy unattainable for common people.
This product was brought back to Spain by the conquistadors.
Among the Habsburgs of Spain, "drinkable" chocolate, as they called it then, was the beverage par excellence.
When the daughter of Philip III of Spain, Anne of Austria, leaves to marry the King of France Louis XIII, she does not want for anything in the world to give up the drink of her childhood! It was therefore in ealry 17th century, in 1615, thanks to Anne of Austria and her Spanish retinue, that chocolate made its appearance in France.
The reign of the Sun King saw the triumph of chocolate at the court of Versailles. His wife, Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, was known to have two passions: "The King and the Chocolate".
Thus, in Versailles, it is served every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in the salons of the Court. The king does not share this craze and considers chocolate as "a food that deceives hunger but does not fill the stomach". However, he popularized his consumption, and from 1680, the word "chocolate" entered the dictionary.
The Regent, Philippe d´Orléans, was a big consumer of drinking chocolate. Those who had the honor of being "admitted to chocolate" could watch the prince wake up drinking his chocolate.
Price : on request
Price : on request
Price : on request
8 000 €