This superb coffee-pot can be dated to between 1768 and 1775 when Francesco Pagliani was the Turin assay-master. In the past the maker's mark was attributed to Giovanni Battista Bollea but is now known to be that of Giuseppe Balbino. His relationship with the workshop of François-Thomas Germain is recorded. Indeed the very strong modelling of the rocaille foliage on the feet, handle and spout which contrast so successfully with the plain twisted body, recall the celebrated coffee-pots made for the Portuguese court by Germain. These incorporate representations of coffee-beans around the spouts, handle-sockets and, as on the present example, finials.
The eagle-headed spout is also of the finest quality and is reminiscent of those found on Milanese coffee-pots although there the quality is rarely of such a high standard.
The close artistic relationship between Turin, the capital of Piedmont and Paris is evident in the design and workmanship of both this coffee-pot and the important Turinese silver-gilt inkstand with Royal Piedmontese arms now attributed to the Court goldsmith Boucheron and in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, (sold Christie's Geneva, 19 May, 1997, lot 122). Such a relationship is hardly surprising given the French orientation of Turin both in politics and art. The intimate relationship between the two kingdoms is illustrated by the number of marriages between the two Royal families in the 18th century.