Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Casket

Casket

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gueyton, Alexandre, born 1818 - died 1862 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oxidised silver, parcel gilt

  • Museum number:

    154-1852

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 67, The Whiteley Galleries, case 1, shelf 1

The surface of this silver casket has been oxidized. Oxidisation involved darkening the silver. This was done with a chemical dip of a sulphide (such as ammonium sulphide) to bring out the sculptural contrasts of the design. The technique won great acclaim in France and England and was prefered to the overbright, commercial finishes on silver and electroplate. The casket was bought from the Great Exhibition for £36.

Speaking of the Continental silver at the Great Exhibition of 1851, one critic commented: "frosting and burnishing seem to be unanimously banished from all high class design, whether French or German, and oxidising substituted in their places, and the consequence is, that in many foreign examples, we have specimens of the most elaborate modelling, most effectively displayed as works of Art…".

Physical description

Casket in "oxidised" silver, engraved and chased. A panel containing a group of figures in high relief on the front and back and a medallion with figures at either end: on the lid four busts in high relief, and a reclining female figure in the centre. The chased scene on the front shows Odysseus watching the young Achilles betraying his true identity by choosing weapons.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

ca. 1851 (made)

Artist/maker

Gueyton, Alexandre, born 1818 - died 1862 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Oxidised silver, parcel gilt

Marks and inscriptions

Chased scene on front shows Odysseus watching the young Achilles in disguise.

Dimensions

Height: 15.90 cm, Length: 12.50 cm depth, Width: 28.20 cm

Object history note

Bought for £36 from the Great Exhibition, London 1851

Historical context note

Speaking of the Continental silver at the Great Exhibition of 1851, one critic commented: "frosting and burnishing seem to be unanimously banished from all high class design, whether French or German, and oxidising substituted in their places, and the consequence is, that in many foreign examples, we have specimens of the most elaborate modelling, most effectively displayed as works of Art…". Oxidisation involved darkening the silver. This was done with a sulphide (such as ammonium sulphide), rather than with oxygen, and was thought to be beneficial because sculptural contrasts stood out much more clearly.

Descriptive line

Casket, made by Alexandre Gueyton, Paris, ca. 1851

Labels and date

CASKET
Manufacturer Alexandre Gueyton (1818-1862)
Paris, about 1851
"Oxidised" silver, parcel-gilt
154-1852

This casket was bought for £36 from the Great Exhibition, London, 1851. The selection committee commented that the casket was 'especially remarkable for the poetic treatment of the subject, and the spirited execution. The general form is elegant, and the ornaments are well distributed'. The scene on the front of the casket shows Odysseus watching the young Achilles, who had been disguised by his mother and send to live with the daughters of King Lycomedes, betraying his identity by choosing weapons. [1987-2006]

Materials

Silver

Techniques

Oxidation; Parcel-gilding; Chasing; Engraving (incising)

Categories

Metalwork; Containers; Myths & Legends

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.