In 1830, aged only 18, the duc d'Aumale, second son of Louis-Philippe, inherited the château de Chantilly from his great-uncle and godfather, the prince de Condé. After the premature death of his elder brother the duc d'Orléans in 1842, the duc d'Aumale assumed the role as the family's principal patron of the arts, engaging Eugène Lami to redesign and refurbish his private apartments at Chantilly. The long association of three generations of the Froment-Meurice family of silversmiths with the duc began at this time. Chantilly was largely razed during the events of 1848, and returning to France after a long period of exile in England following the Revolution, the duc d'Aumale set about reconstructing the château. The ambitious project was entrusted to the architect, Honoré Daumet, and Froment-Meurice was appointed as one of his chief collaborators.
As early as 1884, the duc d'Aumale had decided to bequeath Chantilly and its contents to the Institut de France on his death. However, when political circumstances were about to force him into exile for a second time, in order to avoid the instant confiscation of his property, he converted the bequest into an immediate donation on 25 October 1886. Three weeks after the signature of this historically important transfer to the Institut de France, the duc commissioned Froment-Meurice to produce a presse-papiers (paperweight), to be given as a memento to each of his four executors in recognition of the instrumental part they played in negotiating the donation. Executed according to the duc's own specifications and to designs by Daumet, the paperweights were the result of collaborative efforts by several artists working under Froment-Meurice's supervision: the miniature on ivory aerial view of Chantilly by Madamoiselle Dollé; the ivory profile relief of the duc d'Aumale by Paulin Tasset, after Jules-Clément Chaplain's commemorative bronze medallion executed in 1887; the modelling of the winged lions and other ornamentation by Germain, responsible for much of the decorative sculpture at Chantilly; the silversmithing and enamelling by Ferin. In addition, each paperweight was engraved with a dedication, recording in Latin its recipient and the date (using the Julian calendar) of the transfer to the Institut de France. The four recipients were Edouard Bocher (this lot), Ernest Denormandie (exhibited Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Trésors d'Argent - Les Froment-Meurices, 4 February - 15 June 2003, cat. 77), Henri Limbourg and Edmond Rousse (whereabouts unknown). In 1888, the duc d'Aumale requested that a fifth paperweight be made, this example being conserved in the Musée Condé at Chantilly.