Amazing Antique French Silver Egg Cruet Set By Charles Alexandre Lavallée
Once in a while you come across a piece that really amazes you…And this is definitely one of those occasions…
When I first saw this wonderful work of art, I was struck by how lovely it was, above and beyond its rarity…
Egg Cruets were rather easily found in England starting the early 1800…
In France however those pieces were extremely rare, as boiled eggs were not necessarily part of ones breakfast meal.
Moreover, breakfast was and is still, a simpler deal then it is in Anglo Saxon countries, often limited to croissants or pastries along with coffee or tea.
Here however we have an example of a gorgeous piece that was wholly dedicated to the breakfast meal.
For a piece like that to be ordered and purchased indicates a family of true wealth and state, as breakfast remained a private matter and hence did not require to showcase the owners finest silver pieces.
In all our year collecting we have never come across a French piece closely resembling this..
And in discussing this with our Antique French Silver Expert friend Gilles Mihiere de Fustel, he agreed that this was quite an incredible find…
Called an ‘Oeufrier’ in French, this beautiful example shows a round body resting on three hoofed feet.
The body consists of 3 round discs that are each delicately worked in guilloche pattern, on all levels. The 3 discs are cut to receive 6 egg cups and 6 egg spoons.
The discs are linked by a central rod decorated with acanthus leaves…
The egg cups sit on pedestal round feet, and both the cups and the spoons show the same guilloche pattern as the main frame.
The handle is stunning, in the shape of a little Bacchus holding a cup in one hand and a bunch of grapes in the other.
All the details are just gorgeous, from the delicate acanthus leaves framing the hoofed feet, to the perfect balance of the object…truly a gorgeous find!
The piece is in exceptional state; all parts are marked with the Makers Mark and the Minerva.
The Hallmark is Minerva 1-1st title (950/1000)- 1838 -1919 – Paris
The Makers Marks show the name of the Maker spelled out with an iron crown above and a pellet below. It stands for Charles Alexandre LAVALLEE.
His mark was registered in 1855.
His workshop was located 2 rue du Marche Sainte Catherine, close to the Place des Vosges in in Paris