Fine French Silver Gilt Bowl and Cover (Empire)

Object Number: #806

Paris, 1794/97
C. H. Hache

City hallmark: a woman’s head as a guarantee hallmark for Paris, for works of 958 silver content, for the period 1794-1797 (Rosenberg no 6560).
Hallmark of fineness: a walking rooster in a hexagonal shield for 950 silver fineness, for the years 1809-1819 (Rosenberg3 no 6573). This fineness hallmark was used during 1798-1838 next to the city hallmark.
Maker’s mark: in a shield, the initials “CH”, between them an axe and below a vessel (Arminjon, Beaupuis & Bilimoff 19991: no 693).

Height: 12,5 cm (4,7 in.); length: 25 cm (9,8 in.); weight: 800 gr.


Detailed Information

Fine French Silver Gilt Bowl and Cover

The present silver gilt bowl and cover is a vessel of the Directoire period in France (1795-1799) – a transitional period from the Louis XVI to Empire style. The bowl has a bright, round body and is raised on a round, high foot. The rim of the foot has an embossed scrolls frieze and the node between the foot and the body is adorned with plastic, cast claw feet and a cast lamb’s tongue frieze. The walls of the body and the cover as well are smooth and decorated with applied motifs. The round body has in each front-side a cameo of a Roman hero. The cameos are framed from a wreath of flowers. The cover has a sumptuous decoration: four applied, walking lions in relief. Winged putti, who play an Orpheus-lyre, are sitting on the four lions. A plait ring adorns the rim of the cover. The finial, which stands on a concave ring, is formed from a half-dove with outspread wings. Around the dove, there is a frieze of flower heads. Two cast, applied, side-handles contribute to the whole iconographic programme, as they have the form of a winged half-Eros or half-Victory goddess (Nike) that hold a laurel wreath and stand on a stylized arrow. This kind of handle is typical for the Directoire and the following Empire style.

This marvellous bowl with cover is thanks to its decoration a typical object of the late 18th century. The bowl presents a decoration that approaches as much as possible antique forms. Especially the decorative programme indicates an influence from the designs of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853) or also from the work of Henri Auguste (1759-1816).
After the French Revolution (1789), the revolutionaries were looking their ideal in the moral system of the Roman republic and this found an application also in the objets d’art, through the use of strictly ancient, roman motifs.

Maker: C. H. Hache was a silversmith installed in Paris.


Arminjon, C., Beaupuis, J. & Bilimoff, M., 1991, Dictionnaire des poinçons de fabricants d’ouvrages d’or et d’argent de Paris et de la Seine, Bd. 1: 1798-1838, Paris: L’inventaire/Imprimerie nationale.
Rosenberg, M., Der Goldschmiedemerkzeichen, Bd. IV. Ausland und Byzanz, Dritte erweiterte und illustrierte Auflage, Berlin: Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt A:G: (Rosenberg3).