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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of Wartski Limited

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case CUP, shelf 5, box A

This is one of 7 designs for an aigrette which is a jewelled ornament representing upright plumes of feathers that was often worn on the head. The design was drawn by an anonymous designer for a goldsmith's workshop about 1760 possibly for an elite female client of the Court of Louis XV, King of France, from 1715 to 1774, at Versailles, Paris. Aigrettes were worn with formal dress at Court.

The design is from an album of designs which date from about 1735-1820 and includes those for snuffboxes, scent holders, watches and watch cases, spoons, fans and fan mounts, small swords, and chatelaines (ornamental chains, pins, or clasps usually worn at a woman's waist, to which trinkets, keys, purses, or other articles are attached).

There is a close relationship between the contents of the album and known work by three Parisian goldsmiths, Jean Ducrollay (1710-1787), Pierre- François Drais (active 1761-1788), and Charles Ouizille (1744-1830) whose names appear on the first page of the album. This suggests that all the designs emanate from their workshops. Drais worked for the Court at Versailles as jeweller to both King Louis XV and Louis XVI. Ouizille worked in this capacity for Louis XVI. Most of the material dates from the period 1755-90.

Physical description

Design for an aigrette.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca.1760 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour on paper


Height: 11.5 cm, Width: 8.3 cm

Descriptive line

Design form album of designs by Ouizille, French, eighteenth century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pouget, Jean Henri Prosper. Traité des pierres précieuses et de maniere de les employer en parure, par Pouget fils. Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1762.
Heike Zech, 'Designs for Gold Boxes in the Album of the Workshop of Jean Ducrollay and his Successors', in Going for Gold: craftsmanship and collecting of gold boxes, ed. Tessa Murdoch and Heike Zech (Sussex academic press, 2014).

Production Note

This design and ( 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, and 214,) are in the style appearing in Pouget, Jean Henri Prosper. Traité des pierres précieuses et de maniere de les employer en parure, par Pouget fils. Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1762.


Ink; Watercolour; Paper


Painting; Drawing

Subjects depicted

Brooches; Aigrettes


Designs; Jewellery; Metalwork


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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