Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Egg cup

Egg cup

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1762-1763 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ducrollay, Jean, born 1710 - died 1787 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.11:1, 2-2002

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA15 []

Made by a Parisian goldsmith, this diminutive but superbly crafted gold egg cup is a masterpiece of early Neoclassical design and ornament in the Greek taste ('goût grec'). The egg cup is very similar to a sketch of a vase in an album of designs (mostly for boxes) associated with the workshop of the goldsmith Jean Ducrollay. It probably formed part of a larger assemblage of vessels and utensils known as a 'nécessaire'. The term, which appeared in the early eighteenth century, was a broad one, and could refer to writing sets, sewing kits or to a boxed set of tablewares essential to the preparation of a light meal. In 1776, Louis XVI's Queen, Marie Antoinette, commissioned a 'nécessaire' for her palace of Trianon, at Versailles. The service included two gilded silver egg cups as well as numerous dishes, a mustard pot (with its spoon) and a sugar bowl.

Physical description

A gold egg cup formed as a vase. The openwork bowl hung with cast and chased laurel swags, raised openwork foot and a detachable cover or liner.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1762-1763 (made)

Artist/maker

Ducrollay, Jean, born 1710 - died 1787 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold

Marks and inscriptions


Dimensions

Height: 8 cm Base of foot to top of detachable cover, Diameter: 5 cm Across the rim of the cup, Diameter: 3.5 cm Across the foot of the cup

Object history note


Descriptive line

Gold vase shaped egg cup, possibly made by Jean Ducrollay. Paris, 1762-1763.

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

Carré, Louis. A Guide to Old French Plate. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1931; repr. 1971. SBN 413283208
Les Grands Orfèvres de Louis XIII à Charles X, with a preface by Y. Bottinear and O. Lefuel. (Paris: Hachette, 1965)
Christie's London, sale 6674: The Dr Anton C. R. Dreesmann Collection: Gold Boxes, Objects of Vertu and Portrait Miniatures. London 11/04/2002, lot 847
Brault, Solange and Yves Bottineau. L'orfèvrerie française du XVIIIe siècle. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1959.

Labels and date

This gold egg-cup is a masterpiece of early French neo-classical design. It is in the Goût Grec (Greek taste) fashionable in Paris in the early 1760s. Shaped like an antique vase it looks as if it has been cut from stone and is heavily ornamented with swags of laurel. The egg-cup has a detachable gold liner. What appears to be a working drawing for this egg-cup is in an album in the V&A's collection containing designs associated with the Parisian workshop of Pierre-François Drais, Charles Ouizille and Jean Ducrollay. The proportions and scale of this design are such that it could be easily for a large vase as it could an egg cup.

Illustrated with the egg-cup is a sketch for similar object from an album in the V&A's collection containing designs associated with the Parisian workshop of Jean Ducrollay. The proportions and scale of this design are such that it could be used as easily for a large vase as it could an egg cup. [26/11/2002]

Production Note

Not marked by Ducrollay but his identity as maker is suggested by the similar design in the Prints and Drawings Department.

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Raising; Chasing; Casting; Piercing

Categories

Food vessels & Tableware; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.