Tea and coffee set

ARTIST / MAKER: G.J.A. Bompart (maker)
DATE: 1809-1819 (made)
PLACE: France (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver-gilt, with wooden handles

This five-piece tea and coffee set is influenced by the early Empire style, a form of Neoclassicism that developed during the rule of Emperor Napoléon I between 1804-1815. The style embraced the use of motifs found within the art and architecture of Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, to be used as imperialistic symbolism and in turn, glorify Napoléon’s reign and the French state. Silver pieces were even often gilded to further demonstrate the grandeur of the style and wealth of the Empire. The decorative motifs used in the style were a further comment on the use of the piece, such as the scaled fish head spouts on the tea and coffee pot alluding to its function as a vessel for liquid.

The sets maker, Jacques Gabriel André Bompart, attained the level of a Maître Orfèvre or master goldsmith, yet very little is known about him. He registered a mark in 1798 and worked out of no. 20 Place Dauphine in Paris until 1838. He produced many tea and coffee services in the Empire style, with the water leaf borders a motif that is used on much of his work.