A French silver centrepiece
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A French silver centrepiece

MARK OF FRANÇOIS-DÉSIRÉ FROMENT-MEURICE, PARIS, CIRCA 1850

Details
A French silver centrepiece
Mark of François-Désiré Froment-Meurice, Paris, circa 1850
On four hoof feet, the oblong base with beaded borders and two vacant oblong cartouches, the shaped oval openwork bowl with detachable plated liner with scalloped rim, supported on four openwork husk scrolls, applied with two ribbon-tied laurel sprays and wreaths, the base applied with a model of a bullock, marked on base, bullock and base, and basket
20¼in. (51.5cm.) wide
286oz. (8,900gr.)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Franois-Dsir (1802-1855) was the son of a goldsmith, first training in his stepfather's workshop until 1818 and then in that of the chaser Langlet. He came to prominence at the Paris industrial exhibition of 1839, when he was made Argentier de la Ville de Paris. His work at the 1844 exhibition established him as the leading silversmith in France, and subsequently the number of his workmen increased from twenty-five to eighty. He generally aimed at the revival of Mannerist virtuosity, preferring the Renaissance to Gothic, which brought him the nickname of Benvenuto Cellini.

The second Empire heralded a new change in stylistic tastes with Napoleon III adopting a socio-economic attitude to the luxury industries and therefore favouring a more 'industrial' silver. Franois-Dsir persisted in producing Mannerist style silver but was cut short in his career, dying at the height of his fame in 1855. On his death, the business was taken over by his son Emile (1837-1913), who continued to produce works in the same style until late in the century when Art Nouveau came into fashion.
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