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Paul de Lamerie (1688 - London 1751) A Bold Rocaille Coffee Jug

Silver
George II
London, 1737
Maker’s mark of Paul De Lamerie

The arms are those of Bigge impaling Dent with Hindmarsh in pretence.

Height: 23 cm, 9 in
Weight: 916 g, 29 oz 10 dwt


 

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Provenance

Thomas Bigge (1683-1759), of Byker, co. Northumberland, bequeathed to his unmarried daughter in his will dated 1752,
Mary Bigge (1712-1791), bequeathed in a codicil to her will made on 1 August 1790 which left half her silver to her niece, the daughter of her sister Grace, Lady Carr and her husband Sir Robert Carr 1st Bt. (1707-1791),
Elizabeth Carr, Lady Glyn (d.1814), second wife of Sir Richard Glyn 1st Bt. of Ewell (1711-1773), presumably by descent to their third son,
Thomas Christopher Glyn (1789-1827), who married Grace Juliana (d.1872), daughter of Thomas Charles Bigge (1739-1794) and granddaughter of Thomas Bigge (1683-1759), (see above), then by descent to their son,
The Rev. Charles Robert Glyn, (1820-1882), rector of Wycliffe, co. York, and his wife Maria, daughter of Sir Theophilus St. George 3rd Bt., then by descent to the present owners.
 

Silversmith Biography

Paul de Lamerie arrived in England with his Huguenot parents in or before 1689, having been baptized at 's Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 1688. In 1703 he was apprenticed to the Huguenot goldsmith Pierre Platel, and after being admitted to the freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company, he registered his first mark and set up a workshop in Windmill Street, Soho, in 1712. He took thirteen apprentices between 1715 and 1749 who paid premiums varying between £10 and £45m In 1716 he married Louisa Juliott, also a Huguenot, and by her had six children, three of whom died in childhood. Little more of his personal history is known, although his career in the Goldsmiths' Company is comparatively well documented. By 1717, he was already referred to as 'the King's Silversmith' but again in a complaint 'for making and selling Great quantities of Large Plate which he doth not bring to Goldsmith's Hall to be mark't according to Law.' He joined the livery in 1717; fourteen years later he was elected to the court of assistants. In 1743 he was appointed fourth warden and in 1747 second warden; that he never became prime warden probably due to ill health. From the outset he had wealthy clients such as the Honourable George Treby and the Duke of Sutherland. Among his more important later patrons were Sir Robert Walpole, Baron Anson, and the fifth Earl of Mountrath. A gradual expansion of his business culminated in his move in 1739 to considerably larger premises in Gerrard street. His pre-eminent position in the trade is signified by the commission he received in 1740 from the Goldsmiths' Company to provide two of their most splendid pieces of ceremonial display plate, a silver-gilt inkstand and the famous rococo ewer and dish.

Description

The coffee jug of tapering cylindrical form and on spreading pedestal foot. with rococo shell cast and chased spout, the hinged cover with baluster finial, chased with foliate scrolls and rocaille and engraved with a coat-of-arms, marked underneath and inside cover. The underside of the coffee pot with a drop in base so typical of other examples found bearing the mark of Paul De Lamerie.

The arms are those of Bigge impaling Dent with Hindmarsh in pretence, for Thomas Bigge (1683-1759), of Byker, co. Northumberland and his wife Elizabeth (1688-1758), daughter of Edward Hindmarsh, whom he married in 1706.

Consumption of Coffee

The second half of the 17th century sees the spread in Europe of new hot drinks: tea, coffee and chocolate. Their preparation and consumption quickly became associated with the social rank of their consumers, as the price of such ingredients was prohibitive for some.
The idea of entertaining guests with the offer of a hot drink and cakes also lead to a progressive decrease in formality as it was considered a less engaging and formal alternative to a full meal invitation. Nevertheless, the elegance of the presentation was an essential component of the ritual and precious and elaborate pots and vessels quickly started to appear in the houses of the well off.

These exotic drinks were surrounded by an aura of mystery and fancy, evocative of the alluring countries they were imported from and they duly engendered romantic ideas, associated with their consumption. A print in the collection of the British Museum (1877,0210.404) bears testimony to the almost alchemical consideration in which coffee was held as it illustrates an old gipsy fortune-teller performing the ritual of interpreting the residues of coffee beans in a porcelain vessel. Another relevant element is the detail of the coffee pot. The scene shows a gathering of highly fashionably dressed ladies in a garden, a silver coffee pot dominating the table, testifying the consideration in which the drink was held. Amongst the hierarchy of materials, silver was generally adopted for such vessels because of its high prestigious standing within the ranking of materials. The consumption of such drinks was not confined to private social gatherings, as the opening of assembly rooms and tea and coffee houses testifies.

While tea and chocolate mainly encountered the taste of female consumers, coffee established itself as a strong beverage most popular with men. It is for this reason that public coffee houses soon gained an unofficial reputation for venues appropriate for important decision-making on politics and state affairs. The most notorious one was possibly the Lloyd's Coffee House, associated as it was with its clientele of merchants, traders, and bankers. Coffee houses soon proliferated in England, the first one opening in Oxford in 1650, followed by the one that opened in London in 1652, run by Pasqua Rosee (currently the Jamaica Wine House), a servant or possibly valet to the businessman Daniel Edwards, who was an importer of various goods from Turkey, including coffee.

Coffee houses were initially perceived by the public as dubious places, possibly because of the popular reprobation against the moral decadence of the political class and aristocracy, at first the main consumers of the drink.

By the first half of the 18th century coffee had become extremely popular and it became common for it to be drunk the Turkish way, mixed with a substantial quantity of sugar that made it denser and more syruplike. It required pots with short and high spouts for more practical pouring, in order to make sure the grounds would not be poured with the liquid.
 

A Bold Rocaille Coffee Jug (1688 - London 1751) Reference: 23938.2