An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719
Lot 36
An Important and Rare Régence silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service
no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicolas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris, 1719
Sold for US$ 102,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
Property of Another Owner
An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719 An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719 An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719 An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719 An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719 An Important and Rare Régence  silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicholas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris,  1719
An Important and Rare Régence silver-gilt toilette box from the Duchess of Modena Service
no maker's mark evident, attributed to Nicolas Besnier, with charge, discharge and jurand marks for Paris, 1719
The reverse of the lid engraved with the arms of Charlotte-Aglaé d'Orléans, Duchess of Modena, height 5 1/4in (13.5cm); length 9 1/4in (23.5cm); silver weight approximately 67oz troy.

Footnotes

  • Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans depicted as the goddess Hébé attributed to Pierre Gobert

    Charlotte-Aglaé d'Orléans was the third daughter of eight children born to Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who would be Regent of France (1715-1723) and Françoise Marie de Bourbon. Born 20 October 1700 at the Palais Royal in Paris, she was raised between Abbey of Chelles and the Val-de-Grâce Abbey. Known at court as Mademoiselle de Valois, Charlotte married Prince Francesco d'Este, son of Rinaldo d'Este, Sovereign Duke of Modena, in 1720.

    According to Paul Micio (see Les Collections de Monsieur, frère de Louis XIV, Paris, 2014, p, 263), this box is a part of what was originally a forty one piece toilette service that was listed as lot 235 in the inventory that was conducted at the Duchess's residence at the hôtel de Modène, rue de Grenelle, Paris, after her death on 19 January 1761. According to records, this service surpassed in weight and piece count the nineteen piece service of the Duchesse de Cadaval (1738-1739), acquired in its entirety by Elizabeth Parke Firestone and given to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1952 and a thirty seven piece service belonging to Marie Antoinette described in the Royal Archives (see Michèle Bimbenet-Privat, Les orfèvres et l'orfèvrerie de Paris au XVIIe siècle, vol. II, Paris, 2002, p. 43).

    The Duchess of Modena's impressive and extensive service included quatre carrés or four dressing boxes. The only other of the inventoried carrés known today is the grand carré currently in a private collection (see P. Micio, ibid, p. 267 and 269, fig. 218 and details a and b). The interlaced strapwork band along the cushion-molded body, the Greek key border above and the interspersed alternating shell, double heart, anthemia and urn band on the lid are identical between the grand carré and the piece offered here. Along with the grand carré there are thirteen other pieces from the service that are known today, which are in private collections, with pieces bearing charge marks dating from 1696 to 1722, most dating from 1717-1722. The box offered here is the fifteenth known piece.

    Though this box does not appear to have a maker's mark and the grand carré lacks one as well, as do five of the other known pieces in the service, the majority of the fully and legibly marked items bear the maker's poinçon of Nicolas Besnier. Two pieces in the service bearing Besnier's poinçon with related decorative elements are the pair of powder boxes which display the same strapwork band as the box offered here as well as the beaded guilloche rim to the edges of the lids (see P. Micio, ibid, p. 268, figs. 215-217). A washbasin in the service, marked for Besnier (see P. Micio, ibid, p. 266, fig. 211), is nearly identical to a basin in the service of her mother, the Duchess of Orléans, attributed to Besnier, which was part of a toilet service he supplied to her between 1717 and 1721, now in the collection of the Louvre.

    Nicolas Besnier became a master goldsmith in 1714 and was appointed orfèvre du roi in 1715 and housed in the Galeries du Louvre. Besnier produced a number of pieces for the King's collection including a table service in silver and silver-gilt. Sadly, much of the French silver produced in this period has been lost, making surviving pieces, particularly those with Royal provenance, exceedingly rare. A pair of candlesticks by Besnier, Paris, 1724, engraved with the arms of Bateman and Spencer was sold Christie's New York, 15 October 1985, lot 51. Nicolas Besnier was also the director of the Beauvais Tapestry Factory from 1734 to 1753. He died in 1754.
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