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Paul de Lamerie, seen by many as the greatest 18th century London goldsmith was a master of his art - his virtuoso style is seen on salvers, candlesticks and tureens, the finest of their type, offered in Centuries of Style.
Paul de Lamerie was born in the Netherlands in April 1688. He was the only child of Paul Souchay de la Merie, an officer in the army of William III, and his wife, Constance le Roux. They moved to London in 1689, settling in Berwick Street in Soho.
Lamerie began his journey to become one of the greatest goldsmiths working in London in the 18th century in August 1703 with his apprenticeship with Pierre Platel, another member of the growing community of Huguenots living in London at the time. Platel, who was born in Lille, arrived in London by 1688 and was made a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths' by redemption by order of the Court of Aldermen in June 1699. Platel's work shows great skill and as such would have proven a very worthy teacher for Lamerie.
Having finished his apprenticeship Lamerie registered his first mark as a largeworker on 5 February 1713 and opened a workshop in Windmill Street, near Haymarket. Within a short period of time he was producing silver and gold to the highest standards, for example the octafoil salver offered here (lot 336) and the Sutherland Wine-Cistern, hallmarked in 1719, sold from the collection of the Duke of Sutherland (Christie's, London, 29 November 1961) and now in the collection of the Minneapolis Museum of Art.
Though specifically describing the Sutherland cistern P. A. S. Phillips says "... is the earliest piece which I know of de Lamerie's highly decorative plate, showing exceptional imagination in form and ornaments, and exhibiting unexpected power in his early work" (P. A. S. Phillips, Paul de Lamerie His Life and Work, London, 1935, p. 76) but this imagination continued to be the distinguishing feature of his output, culminating in his production of plate designed in the latest Rococo fashion, for example, the highly accomplished candlesticks made for Algernon Coote, 6th Earl of Mountrath (lot 335).
Besides producing some of the greatest silver of the 18th century Lamerie also served as captain and, later, major in the Westminster volunteer association and served on committees at the Goldsmiths' Company. Though he never served as prime warden of the company he did supply them with a great deal of plate, perhaps most famously with a ewer and basin made in 1741.
As no ledgers survive it is not possible to say exactly how much plate he supplied during the course of his long career but he certainly supplied some of the greatest patrons of the arts in England, such as Sir Robert Walpole, for whom he made at least two inkstands, the Earl of Thanet and Baron Anson, for whom he produced entire dinner services, and the Duke of Bedford.
Centuries of Style: Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes
10 Jun 2010
London, King Street
European Furniture, Decorative Objects & Early Sculpture
Silver & Objects of Vertu
Paul De Lamerie