Tea and coffee set

ARTIST / MAKER: Henri Duponchel (retailer)
Jules Wiset (gilder)
Louis Manant (gilder)
DATE: ca.1860 (made)
PLACE: France (made)

This rare French parcel-gilt tea and coffee set is engraved with the Cambacérès ducal coat-of-arms, a family of French nobility. The arabesque decoration seen on each piece is typical of the French orientalist style, which had become fashionable during the 19th century. The style stemmed from an intellectual curiosity prompted by travel and the fashion for exotic works of art. Interest in early Islamic metalwork was particularly prevalent in France during this time and the bowl and the ewer within this set are traditional Islamic forms.

Henri Duponchel was an architect, interior, costume and stage designer, stage director and a silversmith. His earliest known work was his appointment as the developer of James and Solomon de Rothschild’s hotels in Paris. From 1835 to 1842 he was the director of the Paris Opera where he befriended the painter Delacroix. In 1842, he joined the workshop of the silversmith Jean-Valentin Morel and registered his own mark in 1849.