Hermes box with an unknown master

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zilverik
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Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Fri May 11, 2018 2:22 am

Hi all,
This nice box has the retailers mark of Hermes. It has a mark for small articles of .800. Height is 3,4 cm; diameter is 4,4 cm. Master in a lozenge is EH with a symbol I cannot identify. Who could be that maker?

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zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Fri May 11, 2018 7:07 am

Hi,

Some more info and additional photo's might help. The box is part of a toilet-set. Two bigger boxes, two smaller boxes, one lipstick holder. All Hermes and all of the mysterious maker EH. The set is placed on a Hermes tray, maker Ravinet d'Enfert and there is a Hermes perfume funnel in the form of a horseshoe. And I have no idea what the numbers 12 and 17 mean.
Image

Image

blakstone
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby blakstone » Fri May 11, 2018 11:11 am

Émile-Maurice Hermès (1875-1951), of course. The device is a stirrup, a nod to the company's origin as saddler and tackmaker.

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Fri May 11, 2018 11:43 am

Hi Blakstone,

Thank you! I searched in a lot of books and I couldn’t find this master mark. I found his name of course on Wikipedia as owner and as designer, but I couldn’t imagine that he had his own master mark. Where did you find his mastermark?

Kind regards,

Zilverik

blakstone
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby blakstone » Mon May 14, 2018 2:42 pm

The French Cultural Heritage website has an excellent reference of Parisian maker's marks from 1875-1925; you can search the reference here: Advanced Search

Hermès' mark is listed here: Hermès, Emile

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Mon May 14, 2018 4:39 pm

Thank you Blakstone. The existence of Emile Hermès as silversmith is completely new to me. I wonder if there are more known silver pieces from his hand. There must be something because of the quality of these boxes. Unlikely that the maker just made these and nothing before or after.

Kind regards,

zilverik

blakstone
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby blakstone » Tue May 15, 2018 12:33 pm

It is important to note that, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, a "maker's" mark is not necessarily that of a trained craftsman, but possibly that of a business owner. Indeed, from the late 19th century the latter is far more likely. Just as an item marked "Tiffany" or "Cartier" was not made by Mssrs. Tiffany or Cartier, Hermès' mark was registered for silver manufactured by his company. He was not a trained silversmith.

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Tue May 15, 2018 1:05 pm

Hi Blakstone,

Thank you. I think you are right. But how do you know that EH wasn’t a trained silversmith? Couldn’t he have been director and a trained silversmith?

Kind regards

JayT
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby JayT » Thu May 17, 2018 10:44 am

Blakstone is spot on, as always. Hermès were and are saddlers and leather workers - no connection with silver. A visit to the Hermès website and the Wikipedia entry should give you history of the firm.

Hermès has always outsourced its silver, porcelain, furniture and other homewares items. In particular silver has been outsourced to Puiforcat, among other makers. In fact, Hermès bought the Puiforcat company sometime in the mid-1990’s. Hermès sticks to what it does best - leather manufacturing - and leaves other crafts to other specialists.

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Fri May 18, 2018 10:39 am

Hi,

Hermès-silver I know of are all marked Ravinet d’Enfert (and now Emile Hermès). I have 20 pieces of Hermès-silver in my collection and I have never seen Hermès-silver marked by Puiforcat. Can you show examples with the Puiforcat-mark?

Regards

JayT
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby JayT » Sat May 19, 2018 5:32 am

To clarify - I didn’t state that silver marked by Puiforcat was retailed by Hermès, but rather that Puiforcat has been one of the manufacturers who supplied Hermès. In other words, Hermès outsourced silver production to Puiforcat, in addition to other makers, and marked the silver with their own mark. This arrangement suited both : Puiforcat was not seen as diluting their brand by marking for another retailer, however prestigious, and Hermès had the benefit of retailing well executed and well designed objects. As you undoubtedly are aware, in France after 1838 makers only had to stamp a mark for silver fineness, and the retailer could stamp a maker’s mark.

The relationship between Hermès and Puiforcat has been close; in fact Puiforcat is now owned by Hermès.

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Sat May 19, 2018 8:17 am

Hi JayT,

Do I understand you correctly that it could well be that Puiforcat supplied silverware to Hermès without the Puiforcat-mark? And that it is plausible that the Puiforcat-silverware for Hermès was marked by the mark of Émile-Maurice Hermès, EH. Why should Puiforcat not mark their silverware for Hermès while Ravinet d'Enfert did?

Regards

JayT
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby JayT » Sat May 19, 2018 8:54 am

Yes, I’m saying Puiforcat was known to have supplied silver to Hermès, and Hermès marked it with their own mark, perfectly legally. Hermès is not the only firm to do this. Odiot for example now outsources all its silver manufacture, yet stamps with their own mark.

Puiforcat is a prestigious maker. Perhaps they felt that being a subcontractor for another retailer would dilute their brand. Ravinet d’Enfert on the other hand perhaps found that marking for Hermès boosted their own brand image. To find out you’d have to speak with a Puiforcat sales manager in person. This is not the kind of intel that comes from sending an email, In my opinion.

zilverik
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Re: Hermes box with an unknown master

Postby zilverik » Sat May 19, 2018 3:39 pm

Hi JayT,

So your opinion can not actually be checked.

Anyone with a different opinion?

Regards


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