• Paris, 1766 
  • Silver 
  • Inv. 1085A/B/C


François-Thomas Germain

The ensemble is made up of three pieces. In the centre, an allegorical scene depicting ‘Bacchus inebriating Love’, is represented by two children, one of them winged, playing on a rocaille style platform. The smaller flanking figures depict the ‘Adolescence with the attributes of Folly’, in the form a little girl watching a pair of doves, perched on a bed of roses, while the other, the ‘Tenderness’, has a small girl playing castanets, seated by a mask, a tambourine and a bunch of grapes.

This purely ornamental centrepiece was commissioned by Count Piotr Grigorievitch Chernichev, the Russian ambassador in Paris, and we know that it was already at production stage in 1763 (although it was only completed in 1766, after the silversmith’s bankruptcy). An inscription on the reverse of the base of the central piece shows us the date of completion, as well as the name and status of the master who made it: ‘FAIT . PAR . F. T. GERMAIN . SCULPr . ORFre . DU . ROY . AUX . GALLERIES . DU . LOUVRE A PARIS 1766’ (Made by François-Thomas Germain, sculptor-silversmith of the King in the Galleries of the Louvre in Paris 1766).

Later, this work was acquired by Czar Alexander III and became part of the Russian Imperial Services.

Count Piotr Grigorievitch Chernichev; Prince Soltikov; Alexander III, Emperor of Russia; Russian Imperial family (1894–1917); The Hermitage, St Petersburg. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from the Antikvariat, Moscow, 16 March 930.

A: H. 53 cm; W. 90 cm; D. 67 cm; 36.6 kg
B: H. 40 cm; W. 41.5 cm; D. 36 cm; 9.14 kg
C: H. 40 cm; W. 41 cm; D. 35 cm; 8.5 kg 

Bapst 1887

Germain Bapst, Études sur l’Orfèvrerie Française au XVIIIe Siècle. Les Germain, Orfèvres-Sculpteurs du Roy. Paris: J. Rouam et Cie, 1887, p. 130, fl.

Helft 1965

Jacques Helft (ed.), Les grands orfèvres de Louis XIII à Charles X, Paris, 1965, pp. 186–7, no. 2.

Verlet 1969

Pierre Verlet, Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, n.p., no. 14.

Versailles 1993

Versailles et les tables royales en Europe, exhibition catalogue. Versailles: Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Paris, 1993, no. 204.

Perrin 1993

Christiane Perrin, François Thomas Germain orfèvre des rois. Saint Rémy-en-l’Eau: 1993, pp. 100–2, 197.

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.), Museums Discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woodbine Books, 1995, p. 92.

New York 1999

Katharine Baetjer and James David Draper (eds.), 'Only the Best'. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, p. 120–1, cat. 57.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 134, cat. 110.

Updated on 07 september 2022

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