A rare and complete Vernis Martin olive-green lacquer fitted travelling box, Coffre de voyage, most probably for a lady as the contents include sewing implements and a patch box.
The box is decorated with an oriental design in brown and gold with two large cranes on the lid, standing next to a large vase, full of resplendent flowers. The front is decorated with chickens and flowers all in brown, highlighted with gold. Each side has flower designs in the same colours.
The interior is lined with a maroon silk, with silver gilt braiding around each object. The finely chased escutcheons and carrying handles are in a gilt metal. Original mirror in the lid; a silk maroon cushion holds the contents in place for travelling. Original key.
The filled set comprises;
A Sèvres porcelain tea service each piece finely painted with flowers: a teapot and cover; sugar bowl and cover; milk jug, two cups and saucers; two small covered pots and covers.
Four glass faceted bottles for loose tea with mounts, stoppers and chains all of silver-gilt; two slim glass faceted bottles for scented water, the mounts, stoppers and chains all of silver-gilt.
A fine silver-gilt small beaker and fluted saucer (for drinking the scented water), two silver-gilt spoons with rococo designs on the handles; a silver-gilt funnel; a silver-gilt tongue scraper and ear pick; a silver-gilt paper cutter or fruit knife; a silver-gilt patch box; a silver-gilt bodkin; a gold thimble; a pair of steel and silver-gilt decorated scissors.
The silver-gilt, or vermeil discharge marks, or poinçon décharge are for the marks of the Fermiers Généreaux for the jurisdiction of Paris: 1762-68.
The gold thimble and silver-gilt bodkin have 19th Century marks.
The Sèvres porcelain marked with the date letter L for 1764, and with M for 1765. Various painters’ marks as detailed:
Teapot, Thiérè:date letter M for 1765 painted by Jean-Baptiste NOUALHIER l’âiné ( 1757-66 ~ flower painter)
Sugar-boowl, pot à sucre Bouret: indiscernible painter’s marks.
Condition: small chip under the glaze, in the manufacture inside the flange of the lid.
Jug,pot à lait à trois pieds,date letter M for 1765; painted by Claude Antoine TARDY (1757-95 ~ flower painter)
Cup and saucer, – goblet Litron,date letter M on both for 1765; cup - painted by PECQUERY (1763-68 ); Saucer painted by BF perhaps J C BIENFAIT, (c.1765,1768-70, flower painter). See: Peters Part II, p. 87. Unattributed marks.
Cup and saucer, goblet Litron,both pieces with date letter M for 1765, cup with no painter’s mark; Saucer painted by BF perhaps J C BIENFAIT, (c.1765,1768-70, flower painter). See: Peters, Part II, p.87. Unattributed marks.
Condition: small chip by suspension hole on footrim of saucer, probably issuing from the hole.
Small pot and cover, pot à fard,date letter L for 1764, painted by GC, Unattributed painter (C.1764)
Small pot and cover, pot à fard,date letter M for 1765 painted by Louis-François PRISETTE (1764-70)
It is unusual to find fitted boxes with sewing implements. At this date, they were commonly fitted with an equipage for tea and or drinking implements for scented waters. Most boxes were made of un-lacquered wood, which would have been more suitable for travel.
Therefore, this Coffre de Voyagewas very likely to have been a special order from a Parisian Marchand-Mercierand would have been a most expensive and luxurious article, as both the box and the contents are of a high quality.
Vernis Martin and the Martin family.
Vernis Martin is the name given to a lustrous style of lacquer-ware. The name vernis Martin, literally ‘Martin varnish’, has become a generic term for French mid-18th century lacquer-ware. A bronze or gold powder was added to the varnish, a process perfected by the Martin family.
There were many other manufactures making such wares in France, but the Martin family wares were of the highest quality. The factory was run by the four Martin brothers: Guillaume, Etienne-Simon, Robert and Julien from before 1730 to c.1770. In 1730, Guillaume and Robert perfected a composition, which was patented, thus giving their own name to this type of lacquer-ware
Their characteristic colours were an orangey-red and different shades of green.In 1748 their factory became part of the Royal Factory of Furnishings orvernisseurs du Roi.
Among their commissions were coaches for and rooms at Versailles. Their name is also associated with all types of lacquered furniture, boxes, snuff boxes, fans, and many different types of quality lacquer ware.