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Martin-Guillaume Biennais

Milk Jug with Imperial Arms

Artist

Martin-Guillaume Biennais
La Cochère, France, 1764 – Paris 1843

Title

Milk Jug with Imperial Arms

Date

About 1810-1814

Materials

Silver gilt

Dimensions

18 x 10.4 x 9.5 cm

Credits

Ben Weider Collection, inv. 2008.405

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

This milk jug, which the Emperor possibly used on Saint Helena, seems to have been part of a travelling service from which Napoleon kept only a few pieces. It bears the stamp of Biennais, the most celebrated silversmith in the Empire. He was given important commissions (the insignia for the Coronation in 1804, for example), but he also made silverware for domestic use. This jug is decorated with an exquisite bas-relief frieze of winged seahorses alternating with Gorgon’s-head medallions encircled by acanthus leaves. The coat of arms of Napoleon and Marie-Louise is engraved on it under an imperial crown.

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