Tea and chocolate set in porcelain and vermeil, Paris around 1725-1735.
Our extremely rare set is presented in its original box in solid violet wood trimmed with silk, with its "cabaret" tray in red martin varnish in imitation of China.?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 the Dehua ovens.?The sugar bowl and the teapot have a very refined vermeil frame, with fretels imitating cocoa pods.?Six other pieces in vermeil are present, a chocolate maker with its removable handle in turned ebony, four spoons decorated with shells and a small tea box.?These coins are finely engraved with a count's crown crossing the letter E.?They are all hallmarked, in particular by Léonard DESBOIS, a goldsmith received as a master in Paris in 1725.?The turned boxwood "moussoir", with its screw-on handle is present, it was used to emulsify the chocolate by rotating it with the palms of the hands inside the chocolate maker.?Two crystal bottles adorned with vermeil stoppers 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 adorned the chocolate.??Very good condition, box varnished with a stamp, porcelain in perfect condition, small lacquer restorations on the tray.??Work of a Parisian merchant mercer circa 1725-1735.??Dimensions:??Box: Height : 24cm; Width : 39 cm; Depth : 37.5 cm.??Tea or chocolate sets from haberdashery in public collections :??Louvre Museum : Regent's Tea Kit (Inventory N ° OA 122373).?Louvre Museum : Kit of Queen Marie Leszczynska offered by King Louis XV (Inventory N ° OA 9598 B).??* Soft-paste porcelain :??Soft porcelain was produced in France, notably 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 make it possible to produce real hard-paste porcelain and will mark the end of this production.??* Shaker cup :??A shaker, or shaker cup, is a cup that slots into its saucer, which helps keep the cup stable.?It was originally intended to contain hot chocolate, the latter 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 chocolate fashion spread to all the countries of Europe, the shaker became a porcelain object, this material absorbing more heat.?From the beginning of the 18th century they were produced not only by European manufacturers but also in China.?????Our opinion :???"Merchants of all, doers of none", this is how Denis Diderot defines the role of the merchant mercer in his encyclopedia.?At the same time trader, importer, collector, designer and decorator, he does not produce 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 fashion maker.?He assembles the productions of several artists, delivers sets but also furniture from the greatest cabinetmakers, which he enriches with precious materials, such as porcelain, bronze or lacquer, which he can have made to measure in Paris or import from foreign countries like Germany, China or Japan ...?As with the Regent's tea set or the queen's tea set offered by King Louis XV, our box is a delivery from 1725-1735 from a Parisian merchant haberdasher.?For our necessities our merchant called on a cabinetmaker, a goldsmith, a glassmaker, a wood turner, a sheather and a porcelain factory.?At the beginning of the reign of Louis XV, only a few great haberdashery merchants marketed such rich sets, among them we can cite Thomas Joachim Hébert (1687-1773), Lazare Duvaux (1703-1758) or even Edme-François Gersaint (1694-1750) .?This precious commodity, like the chocolate ceremony, was still at that time reserved for an elite of the nobility, which is confirmed by the count's coat of arms (nine-pearl crowns) which adorns the vermeil pieces of 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 think that it could be the Comte d'Evreux, Louis-Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne (Paris, 2 August 1679 - hôtel d'Évreux, Paris, August 3, 1753).
The date corresponds, the Count furnishes his hotel in Evreux (Elysée) from 1722, moreover he is married to Marie-Anne Crozat who is the daughter of the richest man in Paris, the latter, Antoine Crozat (1655-1738) is one of the greatest French collectors of the 18th century of porcelain, mounted objects ... he buys thanks to his immense fortune from maritime trade with America.
In addition to the slave trade, the monopoly of trade with Louisiana or his tobacco plantations in St Domingue, he also smuggled money with Peru.
At the beginning of the 18th century, he was one of the biggest importers of sugar, vanilla or chocolate, which was heavily taxed and was a royal delicacy out of reach for the people.
This commodity was brought back to Spain by the conquistadors.
Among the Habsburgs of Spain, the chocolate "to drink" as it is called then, is the ultimate beverage.
When the daughter of Philip III of Spain, Anne of Austria, left to marry the King of France Louis XIII, she did not want to give up the drink of her childhood for anything in the world ! It is thus at the beginning of the XVIIth century, in 1615, thanks to Anne of Austria and her Spanish retinue, that chocolate makes its appearance in France.
The reign of the Sun King saw the triumph of chocolate at the court of Versailles. His wife, Queen Marie-Thérèse of Austria, had the reputation of having two passions : "The King and chocolate".
Thus, at Versailles, chocolate was served every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in the salons of the Court. The king did not share this craze and considered chocolate as "a food that deceives hunger but does not fill the stomach". However, he popularized its consumption, and in 1680, the word "chocolate" entered the dictionary.
The Regent, Philippe d'Orléans, was a great consumer of drinking chocolate. Those who had the honor of being "admitted to the chocolate" could observe the prince drinking his chocolate upon waking. His little pleasure is to drink chocolate with his mistress of the moment ; indeed, chocolate has an aphrodisiac reputation, drinking chocolate is no longer as harmless as drinking tea or coffee. Inviting a lady to drink a cup of hot chocolate after dinner leaves no doubt as to one’s naughty or gallant intentions...
Unlike his great-grandfather, Louis XV loved this drink. He liked nothing better than to prepare his coffee and chocolate himself in his small apartments, in the company of a small group of privileged people. In 1729, the King offered his wife Marie Leszcynska a splendid tea, chocolate and coffee set for the birth of the Dauphin.