Origin: France, ca. 1910. Condition: excellent, sharp detail, no dings. Size: 2-5/16” diameter (excluding handle) x 13/16”. Weight: 33.4 grams.
Origin: England, 1904. Condition: excellent, no chips or cracks to glass; no dings or monograms to silver. Size: 10-3/4” tall.
Origin: America, ca. 1880-1910. Condition: very good; there are three moons on the periphery, not visible from the top, and one shalllow fleabite that is visible from the top. Size: 2-5/8” diameter; 1-3/4” high.
Origin: probably America, ca. 1870. Condition: excellent; there are a few very minor fleabites along the bottom edge of the base and a couple of small ones (probably from rings) on the lion’s head, where a user would likely pick up the paperweight (these are very difficult to see due to the complexity of the design). Size: 5-3/4” x 3-3/8” x 3-3/4”.
Origin: France, ca. 1850. Condition: excellent, sharp detail. Size: 3-1/4” diameter (excluding handle); 1” high. Weight: 83.7 grams.
Origin: America, ca. 1920. Condition: excellent, no chips or cracks, normal frosting to bottom of base. Size: 8-1/8” diameter; 6-3/4” high.
As noted previously, the medal inset into the bottom of the tastevin celebrates the birth of Louis XV’s first grandson. He would have inherited the throne ahead of his younger brother, Louis XVI, had he not died at the age of nine after a fall from his hobby horse. The jeton’s obverse, displayed on the interior of the tastevin, depicts Louis XV crowned with a laurel wreath and surrounded by the identifying words “LUD. XV REX CHRISTIANISS” (“The most Christian Louis XV”). The medal is is signed “B. DUVIVIER F.” for Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier (1730-1819) who later served as Medal Engraver to the King beginning in 1764 and then as France’s 13th “graveur général des monnaies” from 1774 until after the fall of the monarchy in 1791. The medal’s reverse depicts the goddess of childbirth, Lucina, introducing the infant (titled duc de Bourgogne)to the French nation personified as a kneeling maiden. The upper edge reads “PROLE ET PARTU FELIX” (“Announcing the happy birth” and a lower panel explains the reason for the issuance of the jeton, “DUX BURGUNDIAE DELPHINI FIL. LUD. XV NEPOS. NATUS XIII SEPTEMBRIS MDCCLI” (“Duke of Burgundy, son of the Dauphin, son of Louis XV, was born 13 September 1751”).
Silver dating to the pre-revolutionary “ancien regime” is extremely rare. France’s finances were weak and even the king himself was forced to melt nearly all his silver tableware to pay his debts. Michel Delapierre is among the most reknowned silversmiths of the era, noted for his well-balanced designs and expert craftsmanship. Though he registered his own maker’s mark after completing his apprenticeship in 1737, he preferred to use his father’s mark, even though he had died in 1734. This tastevin bears that mark, a crowned fleur-de-lys, two grains (dots), the initials MDLP and a stone (a clever play on on words since “Pierre” means “stone”).
Delapierre’s work is exceedingly rare, and is represented in major institutional collections by two pairs of candlesticks in the Wentworth Collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a single covered dish at Le Musee du Louvre, and a candlestick and a vinegar bottle in France’s Musee des Arts Decoratifs.
Generally, fine tastevins were engraved at one edge with their original owner’s name. In this case, the tastevin is engraved with the shortened name of the owner “De Melinville”. His full name and title was Armand Francois de la Pierre, Ecuyer, Marquis de Melinville, Seigneur de Talhouet et autres lieux, chevalier de l’ordre militaire de Saint-Louis. It is unlikely but not impossible that the same family name of the silversmith and the Marquis de Melinville is more than a coincidence. The Marquis de Melinville served as a “lieutenant des marechaux de France” and in that role was charged with resolving disputes between men of noble birth for the purpose of avoiding unnecessary duels. In that role, he was assigned to the town of Hennebon, in his native Brittany.
The tastevin bears the master’s mark for Michel Delapierre; the charge mark for Paris (1756-1762); the Paris discharge mark; and the commune mark (“jurande”) for 1757-58.
Origin: France, 1757. Condition: excellent, sharp detail , normal wear the foot, but virtually no wear elsewhere. Size: bowl, 3-1/2” diameter, 1-1/4” high; overall, 3-1/2” x 4-5/8”. Weight: 207.2 grams. Provenance: Robert Lloyd; A Private Collection; S J. Shrubsole.
After the final defeat of Napoleon, the Bourbon monarchy was restored to France, and reminders of the previous reigns appeared everywhere in French decorative arts. This coin, dating to 1652, depicts the boy king Louis XIV surrounded by the Latin inscription translated as “Louis XIV, by grace of God, king of France and Navarre”. The reverse is decorated with the royal crown over a shield of fleurs-de-lys. Though a 17th century tastevin would never have been made with a coin in the bottom, the combination of these two elements was a masterful stroke by Parrod and makes this tastevin a particularly desirable example.
Origin: Dijon, France, ca. 1840. Condition: ecellent, sharp detail. Size: 2-13/16” diameter (excluding handle); 3/4” tall. Weight: 72.7 grams.
Origin: England, ca. 1810. Condition: excellent, no dings or cracking. Size: 6-1/4” diameter; 1-3/4” high.
Founded in 1833 ostensibly to promote horse racing, the club was in fact the most exclusive Anglos-French social club in France and among the most prestigious in the world. With the Emperor’s half-brother serving as president, the membership in the 19th century was strictly limited to 297 gentlemen and included the reigning kings of England, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Origin: France, ca. 1880. Condition: excellent, sharp detail. Size: 8-3/4” tall.
Origin: France, ca. 1900. Condition: excellent, no cracks, no enamel or gilding wear. Size: 9-1/4”.
Origin: Belgium, ca. 1920. Condition: no chips or cracks. Size: 9" diameter; 2-3/8" high.