announced the sale on 18 April 2012 in Paris one of the worlds most important collections of 17th & 18th Century French Silver assembled for over half-a-century by Raymond Jourdan-Barry and his son Pierre.
The superbly coherent 200-lot ensemble embodies rarity and supreme elegance. This is a collection of the highest quality a pinnacle in the quest for ideal beauty. Each item of silverware is imbued with the spirit of the ensemble as a whole, embodying refined taste, virtuoso technique, perfect proportions and stylistic unity. And each item has its own look making it possible to speak of a Jourdan-Barry piece.
Pierre Jourdan-Barry is both a collector and a patron of the arts. He comes from a family of collectors who formed his artistic taste. He has invested in painting, ceramics (donating his faïence collection to the Musée Pastré in his native Marseille), silver, and works of art from the Middle East. He has also donated a number of silver items to the Louvre, including a rare Paris two-light candelabrum by François I Roberday (c.1630). It was his father, the erudite Raymond Jourdan-Barry author of the landmark study of Provençal silver, Les Orfèvres de la Généralité dAix-en-Provence, published in 1974 who began the silver collection, which Pierres acquisitions have transformed into a veritable History of French Silver, both Parisian and provincial. Every French city reputed for the quality of its silversmiths is represented: Lille by Pacot, Toulouse by the Samsons, Strasbourg by Imlin and Oertel, Bayonne by J. Delanne
France's Leading 17th & 18th Century Silvermsiths
The highlight of the ensemble is a very rare silver-gilt porringer with cover and presentation dish by Thomas Germain, complete within case and dating from 1722 (est. 500,000-800,000* / $653.000-1.045.000). It is a major discovery the first known work by the most famous Paris silversmith of the 18th century, who introduced France to the Rocaille style which he had discovered during his time in Rome.
The collection also includes beakers, candlesticks, porringers, tureens, wedding cups, sugar-bowls, olive spoons, rare 17th century cutlery and ewers, some with their basins all produced by the most renowned silversmiths of the 17th and 18th centuries. There is also a rare collection of thirty 18th century silver and silver-gilt boxes.
Other highlights include a pair of toilet candlesticks by François-Thomas Germain (est. 50,000-60,000 / $65.000-78.000); an elegant basting spoon with openwork olivewood handle by Edme-Pierre Balzac, Paris 1749 (est. 40,000-60,000 / $52.000-78.000); a small helmet ewer by Pétronille-Thérèse Pacot, Lille 1735-36 (est. 40,000-60,000 / $52.000-78.000); a large helmet ewer by Philippe Rougemaille, Paris 1719-20 (est. 80,000-100,000 / $104.000-131.000); two pairs of candlesticks, forming a set of four, by Jean-Baptiste de Lens, Paris 1736-38 (est. 70,000-100,000 / $91.000-131.000); a sugar-castor by Jacques Filassier, Paris 1719-20 (est. 40,000-60,000 / $52.000-78.000 ); a snuffbox/hunting cup by Gabriel Bouvier, Lyon 1767-68 (est. 50,000-80,000 / $65.000-104.000); and a ewer with basin by Jean Delanne (Bayonne c.1740), the ewer formerly in the Karl Lagerfeld Collection (est. 120,000-180,000 / $157.000-235.000).
To my mind, a collection is a way of learning about and exploring uncharted territories. Whether collecting French silver, provincial faïence or Tibetan bronzes, the collector is obliged to learn and appreciate as much as he can both about the technical, social and commercial conditions that prevailed when these items saw the light of day; and about the people who commissioned them, whose identity can sometimes be traced by a knowledge of the coats-of-arms often engraved on items of silver. Pierre Jourdan-Barry, 2005
Thursday 12 April 10am-6pm
Friday 13 April 10am-6pm
Monday 16 April 10am-6pm
Tuesday 17 April 10am-6pm
* estimates do not include buyers premium