Ewer

French (Paris)
1705–06
Possibly by Jean Ecosse (active before 1705, died after 1741)


Object Place: Europe, Paris, France

Dimensions

Overall: 29.9 cm, 1715.5 gm (11 3/4 in., 3.78 lb.) Weight: 3.78 lb. (1.71 kg)

Accession Number

1993.357

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Britain, 1750-1800 / Portraits (Gallery 141)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Silver

Helmet shaped ewer on a stepped, domed circular foot with gadrooning and chased acanthus leaf band on matte ground; the compressed spherical knop above is chased with banded reeds. The lower portion of the body is decorated with applied open and closed straps on a matte ground. Bands of chased lambrequins on a matte ground below applied molded band and molded rim. Applied female mask below spout. Bold scrolled handle terminates in female head, scrolling leaves join the handle to the body.
Weight: 60.49 ounces (55.13 Troy oz.)


Impressive ewers such as this, paired with a matching basin, were “sideboard plate” intended for display on a tiered sideboard rather than for use at the dining table. The ewer’s inverted-helmet shape, the acanthus leaves around its domed foot, and the boldly modeled masks on handle and lip reflect the period’s great admiration of classical art.
In order to fund foreign wars, King Louis XIV of France often required noble households to surrender their silver objects to be melted down for the value of the metal. Therefore, surviving examples of high-quality French silver from this period are very rare.

Markings

Maker's Mark: a crowned fleur-de-lys, 2 grains [I or J?]E, [a heart?] (for Jean Ecosse see Nocq II, p.151): Handle (twice), mouldings above and below coat of arms, rim and underside of foot. Warden's Mark: 1705-06, a crowned M (Dennis 328): Underside of foot. Charge Mark: 1704-12, an A encircled by a crown (Dennis 328): Underside of foot. Discharge Mark: for work made in more than one piece, 1704-12, a crown with scepter and hand of justice (Dennis 3): Rim of foot. Other: Special countermark, 1705-08, a crowned E with 2 grains (Dennis 328): Rim of foot. Two illegible marks on handle. Engraved on bottom "201" and "Jo118/5506 matt".

Provenance

1926, MM. Cardeilhac, Paris [see note 1]. January, 1960, sold by S. J. Phillips, London, to Elizabeth Parke Firestone (b. 1897 - d. 1990) and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. (b. 1898 - d. 1973), Akron, OH and Newport, RI; 1993, gift of the estate of Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 26, 1993)

NOTES:
[1] Lent to the Exposition d'Orfèvrerie Française Civile du XVIe siècle au début du XIXe (Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, April 12- May 12, 1926), cat. no. 315.

Credit Line

Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. Collection