Silver French Tea Caddy

Object Number: #403

Paris 1783-4

Maker: Claude-Isaac Bourgoin 

Assay’s office mark: for Paris, as in Rosenberg no. 6546(for middle silver works, 1782-9)

Date letter: “U” underneath a crone for 1783/4 (Rosenberg, no. 6411).

Maker’s mark: “CI/B” underneath a crown, a fleur-de-lys, and between “C“ and “I“ a heart for Claude-Isaac Bourgoin (Carré, p. 44)

Provenance: Coat of arms of Yves-Joseph-Charles Pommyer de Rougemont, director of the king’s farms

Height: 7 cm (2 2/3in.); weight: ca. 142 gr. (4 oz 11 dwt)

Detailed Information

Silver French Tea Caddy

This tea caddy is a simple and elegant object of French silver. The body has a rectangular form and a slip-on, flat cap (in order to refill it easily). The vertical walls are completely smooth with only dominant adornment the engraved coat of arms of Yves-Joseph-Charles Pommyer de Rougemont. This is to be found on a smaller format on the cap. The marks are underneath the bottom and the cap.

Tea in Europe

Tea was during the 17thcentury, since circa 1680, imposed in Europe. The great supporters of this hot drink were first of all the statesmen and noblemen of the court, as well as doctors. In France, tea was sold already around 1636, but it became popular under cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661). Its price was always relatively high. It was traditionally drunk with sugar, another expensive condiment of the eighteenth century. The necessity to store tea in a dark and dry place, in order to keep its aroma, has resulted in the development of the closing tea caddy. The tea caddies in England were usually made in sets of two, in order to keep separately the green from the black tea.

The habit of drinking tea had by the early 18thcentury a ceremonial character: the lady of the house prepared the tea in front of her guests. This is one of the reasons why the equipage for tea was made of silver.

Provenance

The tea caddy at hand clearly belonged to Yves-Joseph-Charles Pommyer de Rougemont [?(1733-1808)], director of the king’s farms. He was married to Marie-Brigitte Louise Landru.

The Pommyers was a noble European family. François Pommyer, Squire and Lord of Rougemont was baptized in Paris in 1703. Like his father – Yves-Joseph Pommyer – François Pommyer became Treasurer General of France in the Bureau des Finances of Alençon (Normandy). He died in 1779. His brother, Yves-Joseph-Charles Pommyer, married to Marie-Elisabeth Huart, was also a squire and lord of Rougemont and father of Yves-Joseph-Charles Pommyer, who had the same name as his father. He was married to Marie-Brigitte-Louise Landru and the couple lived in the rue Verrerie of the parish Saint-Jean-en-Grève, Paris (Paris, Archives Nationales, LVIII 576).

Maker

Claude-Isaac Bourgoin was a silversmith active in Paris from the 6th September 1779 until 1806. A silver-gilt games counter container made by him is at the collections of the Royal Collection Trust.

Literatur

Gruber, Al., 1982, Gebrauchssilber des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts, Würzburg: Edition Popp

Brême, D., Sainte-Fare-Garnot, P.-N., Musée Jacquemart-André (Hrsg.), Nicolas de Largillière, Paris: Phileas Fogg, 2003.