Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
ldoc
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:24 pm

Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby ldoc » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:43 pm

Thanks for any help in identifying the master silver maker's mark on this eye bath. I have been advised that le vieillard (the old man) was used from 1818 to 1839. However, the markings within the lozenge have not been identified. It looks to me like 3 chicks over and R and another letter but none of my searches have come up with a maker.

Any input much appreciated.

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https://1drv.ms/i/s!Atn4aHQ7Gh2_gaId28ATW4zwrbW0Ag

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https://1drv.ms/i/s!Atn4aHQ7Gh2_gaIcCObn_EY5OskhTw

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https://1drv.ms/i/s!Atn4aHQ7Gh2_gaIeQgr4EW2ap2FtqQ

Please forgive the links, but the img tags don't seem to show the pictures

ldoc
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:24 pm

Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby ldoc » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:48 pm

This time with the pictures - apologies for being a slow learner!

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JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:22 am

Congratulations on your find.

The vieillard mark, or head of Michelangelo facing right in an octagonal reserve, is the silver standard mark used in Paris for 950 standard silver from 1819-1838. See:

http://www.925-1000.com/Ffrench_marks.html

You should also have a guarantee mark somewhere on the object.

As for the maker’s mark, are you sure there is a second letter after R? If not, then I believe this to be the mark of Louis-Etienne-Auguste Royer working in Paris at 19 rue Geoffroy-L’Angevin. His mark was the initial R with a symbol of 3 female blackbirds in a triangle (trois merlettes en triangle). Royer was a jeweller who registered his mark in 1805. No end date is given.

See Arminjon, v. 1, no. 03123, p. 307.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by oel on Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edit typo

JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:11 pm

Talking to myself here. While casting another admiring glance at your eyebath, I do see the guarantee mark in your first picture on the lower rim: a Gorgon head in an oval reserve for medium objects. All three marks as they shoud be.

JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:35 pm

Since the OP has not returned, I’m continuing my monologue on this Neoclassical style eye bath. In looking again at the maker’s mark, I don’t believe the initial is an R, as the OP stated, and I do see a hint of a second initial. The lower part of the lozenge was cut off inadvertently when the object was stamped. Fortunately, the symbol of 3 winged creatures is clear.

So back to the books to look for the symbol. There are 3 possible candidates for Paris makers working 1819-1838:
-Royer as originally suggested, symbol 3 female blackbirds facing right in a triangular formation;
-François Duché, a jeweller, initials FD, symbol 3 birds facing right in a triangular formation above and an upside-down anchor below (trois oiseaux et une ancre renversée);
-Pierre-Noël Blaquière, initials PNB, symbol 3 swallows facing right in a triangular formation (trois hirondelles). Blaquière was a jeweller, specializing in fittings for travel cases (nécessaires), of which an eye bath could be one element. His mark had a border around the lozenge, with a pellet at each point.

From what can be seen of the mark, I believe Blaquière is the maker of this object. He registered in 1803-1804; no end date is given, but he was mentioned in the Almanach Azur until 1822. Therefore if he is the maker, the eye bath can be dated quite precisely to between 1819-1822. He worked at 174 rue St-Honoré, then after 1820 at the magnificent townhouse mansion, the Hôtel d’Aligre http://www.paris-promeneurs.com/Patrimo ... u-hotel-de

See Arminjon, v. 1, no. 03047, p. 300.

A very famous maker who also produced nécessaires and other objects worked at 283 rue St-Honoré, just two blocks away from Blaquière’s first address. This of course was Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Napoleon I’s silversmith.

This object is carefully executed, well marked, not frequently found on the market: nice!

blakstone
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby blakstone » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:38 pm

I agree emphatically that the mark is Blaquière's. I spot-checked available Paris commercial almanacs, and he is listed in 1825 at 123 rue St. Honoré, and in 1833 at 11 rue Bailleul; he is not listed in 1837 or 1838. (I could not find directories for 1834-1836). He is almost certainly the Pierre-Noël Blaquière who died in Paris, 12th arrondissement, on 5 Jul 1849.

JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:15 pm

Hello blakstone
Nice finally to have a dialogue about this wonderful object. So Blaquière it is for the maker. Your additional research on his places of business is interesting.

Hope the OP eventually returns to find all this info!

ldoc
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby ldoc » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:59 am

Hi JayT,

Thanks so much for this really helpful information. A month after the intial posting with no replies I had given up hope of finding anything, so I cannot tell you how delighted I was to pick up on your post and very appreciative of your expert knowledge - thanks to Blakstone too.

I collect medical antiques, not specifically silver and whilst I can find my way around an English hallmark I struggle with the early French marks and have had difficulty even seeing the pictures from the tiny little punches they used, yet alone linking them to makers.

On the offchance that you have more knowledge to share, I am struggling with another French hallmark which I have also posted on this forum

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=50961

In any event I am in your debt. Many thanks.

AG2012
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby AG2012 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:31 am

Hi,
An interesting article.
(Btw. what`s the hole at the base ? It does not belong there. )

Silver eye bath
Bill Bynum and Helen Bynum
Lancet,2016

In biology structure and function are intimately linked, as they are in so many other things. The simple eye bath is an instance. Made since the 16th century, these small hand-held objects have been valued by people whose eyes troubled them. They were fashioned from a variety of materials. Silver, porcelain, and hand-blown glass serviced the top end of the market in the 17th and 18th centuries. Mass production during the 19th century created pressed glass eye baths in a variety of colours. Aluminium had its day in the early 20th century before plastic overtook metal in the manufacture of so many goods. Eye baths were to be filled with a fluid, and then held up to the open eye to bathe it. The top of the eye bath was shaped to fit the contours of the eye socket so that in theory the fluid would not be spilled. Easy to purchase and easy to use, eye baths could have been unproblematic. Doctors in past centuries begged to differ. For which eye disorders was bathing indicated? What should be the composition of the fluid? Should the eyes ever be wetted except under the direction of a physician? These issues are highlighted in William Buchan`s Domestic Medicine (1769), a guide for many on what to do until the doctor arrives (or because self-treatment was planned). It went through at least 142 separate English-language editions between its publication and 1871. Buchan was clearly uneasy at the thought that his readers might wash their eyes without guidance. Any inflammation of the eyes was then simply called ophthalmia, and it was one of the main reasons people used eye baths. Domestic recipe books frequently included instructions for making up a washing solution, although bathing the eye did not necessarily refer to the use of an eye bath and a saturated cloth is likely to have been commonly used. Although Buchan recognised its frequency, he cautioned against too easy resort to external applications, “wherein great hurt is often done”. Indeed, during the 18th century the kind of bathing recommended for eye diseases was of the whole body in a mineral spa, since these were thought to be systematic not local conditions. Buchan was also without doubt responding to the fact that eye diseases were the focus of itinerant oculists and cataract couchers, one of several marginal groups of healers, including bone-setters, looked on askance by the medical establishment (of which Buchan, despite writing for a lay audience, was a member). He associated overly frequent use of eye baths to the influence of these quacks. Instead, Buchan reserved washing the eyes—with lukewarm milk and water—for only persistent cases of ophthalmia. Buchan was also dubious about the compositions of what were called collyria (eye-waters)—“every person pretending to be possessed of some secret preparation for the cure of sore eyes”, he wrote. At the time he practised, collyria mostly contained some combination of sulphur, lead, or aluminium, designed to “brace” the eye. Camphor was sometimes added, but, as Buchan pointed out, it was insoluble in water, so would do no good. When troubled with sore eyes, he preferred a rose water solution. In the 19th century, the standard ingredient became boric acid, a mild antiseptic. Made of unmarked silver this 18th-century silver eye bath was an item for an elite member of society and might have been part of a larger set of toilet items designed for a dressing table. In such a set, medicine cups and spoons readily convey their intended use. Toothpicks, tongue scrapers, and eye baths straddled the divide between personal hygiene and health. Their strictly medical use eventually became victim of the eyedropper, which could direct a small amount of a medicinal solution to the eye.

JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:08 pm

@AG2012
The “hole” at the base is not a hole, but rather a Gorgon head mark, and therefore does belong there. All marks are complete and authentic on this object: it is very well marked.

JayT
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Re: Lozenge master silver mark on eye bath

Postby JayT » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:10 pm

@Idoc
Welcome back! The loop has now been closed. It was truly a pleasure to help you research this object. It was one of my favourite posts on the French silver forum in 2017.


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