French drageoir from the Consulate or Empire period in 950/1000 sterling silver and crystal. Taking on the rare form of an Athenian, it rests with three high legs on a tripod base lined with a frieze of palmettes on a guilloché background featuring in its central part a pine cone on a leafy terrace. The uprights, entirely guilloché, are decorated in their upper part with three winged Egyptian figures carrying the Nemes and in the lower part with three claw feet. Delicate ornamentation of friezes of pearls and palmettes on a guilloche background. The cover includes a leafy seed mirroring that of the terrace.
Complete with its crystal lining, probably from Creusot, former Royal Manufacture of Crystals and Enamels of Queen Marie-Antoinette.
Hallmarks – on the lid and the base –
• 1er coq 1er titre Paris 1798-1809 (solid silver 950/1000),
• Moyenne garantie Paris,,
• Hallmark of the Association of Goldsmiths (number 1 on the right: 1794-1797).
• Master goldsmith, AH two anchors in saltire for Antoine HIENCE.
Each amount receives in its inner part the hallmark of the Association of Goldsmiths with the number 1 on the right and that of the master goldsmith.
• Complete: H.23 cm - D.12 cm.
• Crystal lining size: D.8.4 - H.10.4 cm.
Antoine HIENCE is a Parisian goldsmith. Specialist of hollowware ("la grosserie"), HIENCE registered his first mark in 1798 for his address of 36, quai des orfèvres then a second hallmark on September 8, 1821 at 60, quai des orfèvres. his activity ended on 22 September 1828.
This drageoir is a rare example of table goldsmithing at the beginning of the 1st Empire, of what will be called the Return from Egypt style. It is a complementary model to a pair of solid silver candlesticks present in our collections.
This style extends over a short period, and testimonies of pieces of goldsmithery and tableware in this style are very rare, both on the market and in museums.
Objects inspired by Egyptian art appear in France and Europe from the 18th century, constituting what will be called "Egyptomania". Queen MARIE-ANTOINETTE shows in particular a marked taste for these decorations, for which she contributes to launching and developing fashion.
Determined to make people forget the bitter military failure of the Egyptian campaign, General BONAPARTE will make public from 1802 the results of the work of the scientists he had wanted by his side and will organize a real official fashion around Egypt which wins all over Europe as far as Russia.
The Return from Egypt style strictly speaking extends over a fairly short period, but shows remarkable inventiveness and great finesse of execution, a preamble to the official style which will then dominate the period.
One of the characteristics of the current will be the production of high quality objects made by the most illustrious manufacturers and craftsmen of the period.
Their refinement undoubtedly corresponds to what has been noted as a "revival" after the obscurity of the Revolution and the Directory, desired by a consul who became emperor wishing to quickly install his regime in the continuity of the greatest historical periods. of the Kingdom.
It is therefore interesting to mention this extract from a text by Henri BOUILHET (1830-1910), founding member and president of the Union Centrale des Arts décoratifs :
"We must admit, at this time of the Empire, manners had regained the pace and the tone of good company of the old regime, and houses had formed which could, without in any way suffering, support the comparison of the best known in the time of Louis XVI. The table especially had lost in these circles “of its democratic plethora and its splendours of upstart.” We got used to the idea that taste comes from measure, and that "There is grace in substituting quality for quantity. Thanks to educators, such as TALLEYRAND, Mme de MONTESSON and a few other distinguished figures, we understood that a cutlery, to be perfect, should not be bothered with the bastard accumulations that we had seen spread out under the Directoire, and silly silverware that we had so admired at the outset. The comfortable type of a dining room then was neither Pompeian nor Etruscan, but decorated with stucco in calm and clear tones, without too much furniture or equipment. The table is round, supported by chimeras or sphinxes, covered with a tablecloth of Saxony, passed to the cylinder, embroidered with the master's figure. In the center is the silver planter (...) then here are the candlesticks, whose branches often end with Egyptian heads, and whose feet rest on lion claws".