Pierre Brun

Maître orfèvre of St. Girons, near Toulouse, born, 12 February 1720. He is recorded as having been apprenticed to Jean I Lacère on 3rd July 1735.' This apprenticeship was cancelled on 20 September 1745 by his son, Jean I Lacère, in Toulouse. The latter, as garde, signs the certificate for Pierre Brun, who then becomes a compagnon in 1746.² The apprenticeship for silversmiths was fixed by the laws of 1668 to a minimum of eight years to a maximum of ten. The apprentice could be not younger than ten years of age or older than sixteen. After that, it was customary for the young silversmiths to become compagnons (of the guild), to travel around France for a length of time between one to two years. The garde (or alderman of the guild) signed their certificates of freedom from apprenticeship. Pierre Brun's master, Jean Lacère père was a member of a well-established family of silvermiths in Toulouse (b. 1677, master 1701, d. 1756). He built up a relatively considerable fortune in land. He married Dorothée Ratier in 1708, from which he had 18 children, amongst whom Marguerite, born 17. November 1725. She married the notary Bertrand Gaubert in 1755. Amongst the witnesses were: Jean Sebastien de Varaignes de Belesta, Knight of St. John of Jerusalem, Commander of Pouccharamet, procurator to the King (Louis XV), etc; Louis-Hyppolyte de Varaigne-BeléstaGardouch, retired Knight of the Order, commander of Douzens; and Etienne Reynes, priest, "Chancelier" (Bailli?) of the Order. It is conceivable that Pierre Brun, through his old maître and with the aid of Jean Lacère fils met dignitaries of the Order and followed a Knight to Malta, around 1746 or after. Grand Master Pinto had set a standard of grandeur on the island, as displayed by the amount and quality of silver in this exhibition, inciting foreigners to enrol as silversmiths to the Order. Brun's mark, BR over VN (a), recorded in J. Helft: "Le Poinçon des Provinces Françaises", is the same recorded in Malta. In "Nouveaux Poinçons", by the same author, his mark is drawn differently (b) and is very much in the Toulousan manner. More information is as yet lacking and with further research, it may be revealed when Brun arrived and left the island. He might have returned to St. Girons and died there, ca 1790 as suggested by J. Helft. His oeuvre in Malta is of fine quality, dating from the Pinto to the late Rohan period.