French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
MGArgent
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French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:57 pm

Hi Forum,

I obtained this French beaker late last year. I haven't committed to polishing it yet so it's a bit dark still, but I admittedly tend to favour cleaning pieces (especially those intended for food/beverage consumption).

I am hoping for assistance with the following questions:

  1. I think this was made by Louis-Jacques Berger although the seller attributed it to Louis-Jean Belin and I have also seen this mark attributed to Jean-Louis Berger, can anyone provide a definitive answer?
  2. Clarification on production dates of either 1794-1797 or 1798-1809
    1. Did the unofficial Association des Orfévres mark continue to be used after 1797 as a supplementary mark, or
    2. When a new marking system was introduced such as in 1798, was it not required for previously made pieces bearing old marks to be remarked with the new marks in order to be legally sold?
I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.

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JayT
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby JayT » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:29 am

Hello
Thanks for the clear images.
According to Arminjon, the leading authority on Paris marks, your object was made by Louis-Jacques Berger, initials L, pellet J B, symbol a vase (un vase). Berger registered 3 marks; this is the second, registered on 24 September 1807. No end dates are given for the second and third marks. He specialized in goblets and cups (timballerie). At the time your timbale was made, Berger was working at either 18, place Thionville (1800) or 2, rue de Pont-de-Lodi, where he moved in 1806. See Arminjon, v. I, no. 02395, p. 245.

You also have marks used in Paris from 1798-1809: the standard mark (poinçon de titre) for 950 standard silver of a standing cock with head turned left in an octagonal reserve, and a guarantee mark (poinçon de garantie) of an old man in an oval frame with the numbers 85 indicating Paris. The mark of the Association des Orfèvres has been discussed on these forums. Please use the search function for more info. Briefly, this mark is not a good indication of date of manufacture, as it was used for up to 50 years after 1794-97.

Regarding your question 2.ii about recount marks (poinçon de recense), these were introduced for a few months at the beginning of each change in the marking system for Paris and the provinces, in 1809, 1817, and 1838. They were not obligatory, but allowed the owner to avoid the cost of re-assay and re-taxation if the object was handed down or resold. Many owners didn’t bother to have their objects recounted because of the hassle involved, and for privacy concerns. It is interesting to find objects with one or more recount marks. You don’t show a recount mark on your timbale. See Tardy p. 191, p. 192, p. 198.

Hope this helps.
Regards

MGArgent
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:35 pm

Hello JayT,

Thank you for the excellent answers and for clarifying that this timbale was made by Louis-Jacques Berger.

I do have some short follow-up questions:

  1. The mark on my timbale has some deformation and I don't think there is a pellet. Instead of a pellet, I believe it might actually be the accent at the tip of the "L" that has been slightly distorted (see images below for mark comparison)
    1. If this is indeed the 1st or 3rd registered mark, are you able to follow up with the literature from Arminjon for the corresponding mark?
  2. I agree with you that my timbale was made after 1797, and as per your remarks there is an excellent discussion documenting why on a previous thread HERE
    1. Perhaps an open-question that has not been addressed directly is: if it is known that silver articles must have been produced during 1793-1797, is there any way of differentiating pieces made during this time or must every piece be assumed to have been produced pre-1793 or post-1797?

Mark Comparison Images
  1. My Mark
  2. LJB with pellet
  3. LJB without pellet
  4. LJB without pellet

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JayT
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby JayT » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:26 am

Your timbale was definitely made in Paris 1798-1809, as indicated by the official silver standard and guarantee marks.
As for the maker, Arminjon tells us that Berger’s first lozenge-shaped mark was this second mark that you show with a vase as symbol. The third mark was the same as the second. She says his earliest mark was not in a lozenge and had a star as a symbol, thus his earlier work was produced during the chaotic period just after the Revolution. If you don’t have this reference, perhaps you could consult it in a library to read the info.
Just for fun, I looked at Nocq on the chance that Berger had a pre-Revolutionary mark, with no luck. I also looked at Arminjon v. I for all makers with a vase as a symbol. The only maker with a plain vase is Berger.
Your question 2.i isn’t clear to me. Until 26 November 1792 the French marking system in Paris was that of the Ancien Régime. In general, objects had a minimum of 4 marks: maker, date letter (poinçon de jurande), charge mark and discharge mark. During the chaotic Revolutionary period, objects were stamped by the maker, and with a number of other possible marks, including the woman’s head that you show. On 9 November 1797 the marking system was codified and standardized once again to include a maker’s mark in a lozenge-shaped reserve, a silver standard mark, and a guaranty mark which replaced the charge and discharge marks. This new system came into force on 19 June 1798. For a more complete overview of the French marking system, please consult Tardy.
When a maker stamps their mark it can vary slightly in appearance depending on a number of factors: the surface stamped, the firmness of the strike, wear on either the stamp or the object, among other things. A mark is rather like a signature - it isn’t always standard. To me the mark you show is that of Louis-Jacques Berger.

Good luck with your continued research on this object.

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:42 pm

Regarding question 2.i, it was not specific to the timbale in this post. It was a general question regarding identification of any silver article produced in France during 1793-1797.

I created a separate thread to address this question here: 925-1000.com - Identifying French Silver Produced 1793-1797

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:39 am

Hi JayT, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions, so thank you again.

Arminjon's assertion that Louis-Jacques Berger’s first lozenge-shaped mark was registered in 1807 would mean that Berger was violating the French laws of 19 Brumaire an VI [9 Nov 1797] that required makers to use lozenge-shaped marks?

Is it reasonable to state that a prominent and high-volume maker such as Berger would be illegally marking his items for 9 years?

From 925-1000.com - Discussion mentioning law of 19 Brumaire an VI [9 Nov 1797]:

...the lozenge-shaped maker’s mark (also initiated with the Brumaire law)...


Excerpt from ASCAS - The Bigorne Mark on French Silver

The groundwork of the future legislation on the standard and assay of precious metals was laid by the Act of the 19 Brumaire, An VI (1797).
The act provided an entirely new set of marks:
a rooster for the standard mark with the figure 1 for a fineness of .950 and a figure 2 for a fineness of .800.
For Paris the figures 1 and 2 appear at the right side of the rooster and for the Provinces at the left side.
The maker's mark was a lozenge with the initials of the silversmith's name and a symbol.


The following marriage timbale which one would presume would have been presented on the day of the wedding, has a lozenge shaped maker's mark of LBJ with a vase and is engraved 7, Julliet (July) 1807. This date slightly, but perhaps critically, pre-dates the 24th of September 1807, noted by Arminjon as the date that Berger registered another mark.

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I also found this image which is evidently from a reference book. Unfortunately the name of the reference was not provided with the image:

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Translation:
Mark of Louis-Jacques Berger, silversmith of goblets in Paris. This manufacturer worked from 1794 and his mark changed September 24, 1807.


I interpret this as saying Berger's 1st lozenge shaped mark shown in the reference without a pellet was used until his mark changed on September 24th, 1807.


Bringing this all together, I would like to offer another interpretation that Berger's 1st lozenge shaped mark without a pellet was in use from c1798 until September 24th, 1807, after which Berger registered a 2nd lozenge shaped mark with a pellet. In summary Berger's three marks and usage dates would be as follows:

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MGArgent
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:03 pm

Apologies for adding so many posts to this thread but I need to issue a correction.

I noticed the article with LJB maker mark and Michelangelo mark (1819-1838) I was using as reference to develop the table was also was stamped with a 1er coq (1st rooster 1798-1809) mark. Presumably the timbale was marked with the 1er coq mark when originally made. Overtime the 1er coq mark became so rubbed that it was later stamped with the Michelangelo mark. I have removed the Michelangelo mark from the proposed mark table and revised it as follows:


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clapel
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby clapel » Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:50 pm

Hello everyone,

The study of the L.J.Berger items is very interesting both for its vast production (many pieces have come down to us) and for the operational period with great changes in official marks, still unclear.
I add to your observations mine which lead me to hypothesize a new marks classification in the period 1796-1798.

L.J.Berger does not appear to have registered any mark during the Ancien Regime until the end of J.F. Kalandrin’s Regie, Nov. 1792.

The period between 1793 and the first half of 1796 is not yet sufficiently documented and needs further study.

The first known mark of L.J.B. was deposited at June 12, 1797, as evidenced on the plaque an V, following the Arrete 21 brumaio an V, and shown at page 95 of the volume Nouveaux poinçons by J. Helft. (symbol: 5-pointed star FIG. 2)
A “droite timbale” with a 5-pointed star symbol above the letters L.J.B., which corresponds to that of J. Helft, has recently appeared on the online market with Jurand P89, Kalandrin’s Charge and Decharge without numbers. These marks, still in the Ancien Regime style without royal insignia, remained in use until 30 Jul 1797 as indicated by Arminjon. (Orfevres registers end)

In the second half of 1997, as the draft of the future Brumaire Law was at a very advanced stage, the first lozenge marks were provisionally adopted in Paris and Arminjon claims to have found them on a plaque, unique in its kind and preserved in the Tresor of the Monnoie in Paris.

This single plate could contain only a limited number of marks and it is likely that it were not the only one and that others have been lost.
L.J.B., active only from the previous two months, has certainly deposited the lozenge mark.
The Monnoie, together with the change of silversmiths marks, has also adopted a new guarantee or royalty payment mark replacing the previous Kalandrin. I propose may be the one with a boar head 1 in oval, for the following considerations.
I observed 28 items with the “tete sanglier 1” mark; all present silversmith lozenge marks and title and guarantee marks COQ1 / 85, but never Greek woman 1 ; among these also various Berger's gobelets, timbales and a ciborium with lozenge mark without dot between L. and J. (FIG.5) had been found.


The Monnoie on January 8. 1798 issues a Resolution that imposes the lozenge mark throughout the French Republic. Moreover the Brumaire Law, as planned by art. XX and LXXXII of , has replaced the guarantee mark with a new one to identify the census period lasting 6 months. This census mark therefore provisional but already from the COQ shape, has the letter A on the left and 1 on the right and is accompanied by a guarantee with the head of an old man with upside-down numbers S8. Since this date, the poinçon d’essai Greek woman 1 was also used.
After January 8, Berger lays a new mark similar to the previous one but adds a dot between the letters L. J. to differentiate it as documented by the gobelet with the rare COQ A1 / S8 brand with the Greek Woman 1. (FIG. 4)
Even after the definitive application of the Brumaire Law on June 18, 1798, Berger kept the mark with the dot between L. ° J. (FIG. 1)

Since two different marks to identify a silversmith in the same period cannot coexist so it is impossible that the one without a dot was in force after January 8, 1798 but only before.



Some rare objects by Berger have, such as MGSilver's marriage timbale, a lozenge punch without a dot between L J, associated with official marks COQ 1 / 85 and Greek woman 1, after 18 June 1798. (FIG. 6)
In my opinion these objects, already stamped in the second half of 97 by Berger but unsold and therefore without official mark (sanglier 1), were presented only after the application of the Brumaire Law and marked COQ 1/85. This eventuality is known and occurred every time the guarantee stamps are changed both in the Ancien regime period and subsequently as in 1809, 1819, 1838, especially in the first period of the new marks

Beginning in 1809 (Coq 1 2°series), Berger's objects always feature a lozenge with dot but the poinçon d’essai appears to be Greek Woman P almost constantly. (FIG. 3)


The attached photos present objects from the periods:
1st half 1797 symbol star and Jurande P89,(FIG. 2)
II semester 1797 lozenge without dot and sanglier1 (FIG. 5)
8 Jan1798 lozenge with dot and COQ A1 / S8 upside down and Greek woman 1 (FIG, 4)
18 Jun 1798 lozenge with dot and COQ 1/85 and Greek woman 1 (FIG1)) + rare items late with lozenge without dot and COQ 1/85 (FIG. 6)
1809 lozenge with dot and COQ 1 2nd series and Greek woman P (FIG. 3)

These findings document the entire period of Berger's activity and I propose for your evaluation the temporal classification of the various marks of both Silversmith and Officers.

I look forward to your comments and any criticisms of this reconstruction.
Best regard Clapel

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MGArgent
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:50 pm

Thank you for the well thought out and interesting read!

I am not qualified to offer the detailed reply that this post deserves, so I look forward to reading other's opinions.

Your proposed timeline seems plausible, but I do have a question regarding the two statements:

  1. clapel wrote:Since two different marks to identify a silversmith in the same period cannot coexist...

  2. clapel wrote:18 Jun 1798 lozenge with dot and COQ 1/85 and Greek woman 1 (FIG1)) + rare items late with lozenge without dot and COQ 1/85 (FIG. 6)

In 1. are you stating that two marks cannot be used in the same period, and then in 2. are you stating that on rare occasions, the two marks are coexisting in the same period?

It seems that one of these statements must be false?

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:12 pm

Please disregard my previous question, I think you already explained this as follows:

clapel wrote:...a lozenge punch without a dot between L J, associated with official marks COQ 1 / 85 and Greek woman 1, after 18 June 1798. (FIG. 6)
In my opinion these objects, already stamped in the second half of 97 by Berger but unsold and therefore without official mark (sanglier 1), were presented only after the application of the Brumaire Law and marked COQ 1/85. This eventuality is known and occurred every time the guarantee stamps are changed both in the Ancien regime period and subsequently as in 1809, 1819, 1838, especially in the first period of the new marks

I am restating the timeline to make sure that my understanding is correct. I think this is aligned with your proposal:

  • 1st half 1797: symbol star and Jurande
  • 2nd half 1797:
    1. lozenge without dot and sanglier 1,
    2. lozenge without dot NO sanglier 1 (will later receive the COQ 1/85 mark)
  • 8 Jan 1798: lozenge with dot and COQ A1 / S8 upside down and Greek woman 1
  • 18 Jun 1798: lozenge with dot and COQ 1/85 and Greek woman 1
  • 1809: lozenge with dot and COQ 1 2nd series and Greek woman P

If this is the case, my next question is:

After reviewing results from a quick internet search, it seems there are a fair number of articles with the lozenge without dot and COQ 1/85 marks. Is this set of marks actually that rare? If not, would it have been possible to produce a large number of articles with these marks in only 6 months in 1797?

clapel
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby clapel » Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:51 pm

Hello MGArgent

Yes, that is my proposal.

To corroborate the proposal I add that almost all the Orfevres, who produced objects with sanglier 1, recorded the new lozenge mark to the Guarantee and Province (Douet) with a low progressive number. This means in the first days or months of the new registers.
Berger has no. 8 for the Guarantee and no. 83 for the Province, but from 8 Jan 98 begins the use of the mark with the dot.

Your questions:
I can say that in my research I found more than 30 objects of identified or unknown Orfevres with the Sanglier1 mark (facing both right and left), including 7 from Berger.

Certainly Berger was very active for the production of simple and small objects of rapid realization.(with the due exceptions such as yours Timbale mariage which has important and fine engravings.)
His objects were in great demand especially in a period of economic recovery following the patriotic contribution and gold and silver requisitions during the Terror period.

It is therefore possible that he was unable to sell all the items produced in the short 5-month period of 1797 and may have presented them only later when the title and guarantee marks had changed.

In my overall case series there are only 6 objects with lozenge without dot and COQ1 / 85:
1 gobelet, 1 timbale, 1 chalice, 1 tastevin in addition to your Timbale and Timbale mariage;
but gobelet and tastevin do not have the guarantee hallmark; this means that despite having presented to regularize them, he has not paid the rights as they have not yet been sold.

I hope I have answered the questions with sufficient objectivity and clarity.

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:13 pm

Hello Clapel,

Thank you for confirming the timeline.

Are you aware if it was common for French articles to be later engraved as such is the case with so many English pieces? Is it likely that the marriage timbale was of a plain form when originally made by LJB, and then subsequently engraved in 1807 for the marriage, either by LJB or another silversmith?

If you search the following phrase you will see one more object with LJB lozenge without dot and COQ1 / 85:

Jean-Louis BERGER, 1806-1809 Timbale

You will find a timbale that was made by Louis-Jacques Berger (distinctive LJB without dot and vase mark), but it has been misattributed to a Jean-Louis Berger in the description:

Timbale du service de campagne de l’empereur Napoléon Ier
Grande timbale en argent à fond plat et bord légèrement évasé. Elle est gravée des Grandes Armes Impériales.

Rare timbale faisant partie de l’orfèvrerie personnelle de campagne de l’empereur Napoléon Ier, Jean-Louis Berger semble en avoir eu l’exclusivité et s'être fait une spécialité de la fabrication de ce type d'objet.
Une timbale identique, par Jean-Louis Berger, est conservée au Wellington Museum de Londres.


English Translation:
Timpani from the campaign service of the Emperor Napoleon I
Large silver cup with flat bottom and slightly flared edge. It is engraved with the Grandes Armes Impériales.

Rare timpani forming part of the personal campaign silverware of the Emperor Napoleon I, Jean-Louis Berger seems to have had the exclusivity and to have made a specialty of the manufacture of this type of object.
An identical timpani, by Jean-Louis Berger, is kept at the Wellington Museum in London.

This timbale is engraved with the les armoiries de Napoléon Ier which did not exist before 1804 (SOURCE)

As with the marriage timbale, this Napoleon timbale may have been created at some point in 1797, but it certainly could not have been engraved prior to 1804.

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:30 pm

Following up my previous post, I think we should consider another possibility that was touched on earlier:
JayT wrote:A mark is rather like a signature - it isn’t always standard.

Considering the variance between the marks is so minor (i.e. with or without a 'dot'), I think it needs to be considered that LJB may have been using both marks simultaneously, and the small variance between the marks may have been tolerated by the authorities, at least for awhile.

Separately, an important date missing from the proposed timeline is the 24th of September 1807, the date Berger's mark was renewed.

clapel
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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby clapel » Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:33 am

Hello MGArgent

It is very likely that the Timbale mariage was engraved in 1807, even if the LJB mark without a dot is earlier.
It is ascertained that Berger worked directly or indirectly through G. Biennais, for the Emperor and his family by providing gobelets, timbales and saucers for various travel boxes and toilets.
It is true what JayT writes: a mark is a signature but two different contemporary marks are not conceivable. When the new is deposited the previous one is destroyed.
Furthermore, the two marks are different:
1) The 1797 one has the top and bottom angles more acute than the lateral ones and therefore it is narrower.
2) The 1798 has almost equal angles and is wider to make room for the central dot.

For that of 1807 (see object with Greek woman P after 1809), it looks very similar to the previous one. Perhaps it was necessary to deposit the new one because the punch was worn out or broken.

On the proposed timeline I would be grateful to Trev and JayT, experts of the forum on French objects, to know their opinion.

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Re: French Beaker/Timbale 1794-1779 or 1798-1809

Postby MGArgent » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:51 am

Thank you for taking the time to answer to my questions, your responses were thorough and sufficiently addressed my concerns.

I was not aware that French silversmiths were mandated to keep only a single maker punch at any one time. With no copies allowed, they must have been very careful not to misplace the punch!

I think you have a well documented and interesting proposal and I look forward to reading the feedback of the French experts on the forum.


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