Born in Paris in 1794, Jean-Valentin Morel (d.1860) was the pupil of the goldsmith Adrien Vachette, with whom he learned to master the techniques of the goldsmith, silversmith, lapidary and jeweller. For a time, Morel had worked on his own, using mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and exotic wood because he could not afford precious materials. Recognising his genius, the Fossins appointed him manager of their workshop for objets d'art in 1834. In 1848, after the French revolution which drove King Louis-Philippe into exile in London and obliged foreigners to melt their silver, Jules Fossin decided to open a branch in London, with Morel as the man in charge of the venture. Morel's greatest support came from the exiled royal family of France, now living at Claremont in Surrey. On 22 March 1849, when Queen Victoria was due to Lunch at Claremont, she suggested that Morel bring down his stock and lay it out in one of the drawing rooms. The display was a huge success, with Queen Victoria buying numerous items and commissioning Morel to execute her birthday present to Prince Albert. This established his popularity. From then on, Morel devoted himself to the Great Exhibitions, being awarded the Grand Medaille at the 1855 Paris Exposition Universelle for his remarkable Perseus and Andromeda bloodstone cup, commissioned by Henry Thomas Hope. He was subsequently made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by Napoleon III.