A Very Rare Louis XVI French Silver and Crystal Cabaret, or Liquor Display Set by Théodore-Joseph Hardy dating back to 1783 in Lille.
This gorgeous piece shows a silver plateau resting on four scrolled feet, topped by delicately carved grape bunches and grape leaves.
A grape vine and wine leaves decorate the two sides of the plateau. As in each piece of this beautiful set, the garlands are removable for better cleaning.
The edges of the contoured plateau are also decorated with a silver pearl line.
This particular decor type started appearing in 1773 on another piece by Hardy, before literally overtaking the Louis XVI period.
The bottle holders show the same beautiful fruits and flower garlands on three sides, separated by acanthus leaves topped pilasters.
the Silver pearl line is found again on their upper rim.
Each piece is removable for better cleaning.
The central holder is obelisk shaped with flower chutes, and is topped by a silver pearl and a geometrical handle.
The geometrical part may have been added a little later.
The cobalt crystal bottle may have been added in the early 19th century.
Théodore-Joseph Hardy, seems to have specialized in Liquor Cabarets, since out of the 21 Silver Cabarets found from Lille and dated to prior to the French Revolution, 7 were his.
The Hallmarks are under the Fermiers Généraux régime (the Old Regime) for the city of Lille, always a treat for collectors:
Photo # 6:
You have the City Letter for Lille showing a crowned Fleur de Lys for the Years 1783-1784
Photo # 7:
You have the Poinçon de Jurande or Lettre Date, showing a crowned L for Lille used starting June 30th 1783.
Photo # 8:
You have the Makers Mark for Théodore-Joseph Hardy showing his three initials under an open crown with a dot in between.
Hardy was born on September 8th 1744 in Lille, to his father a Master Silversmith of his own, Mathias Hardy.
On June 19th 1753 Théodore-Joseph Hardy started his apprenticeship in his father’s workshop.
Théodore-Joseph, was received as Maitre Orfèvre on December 17th 1767.
He had a small Mark with just the T and H with a dot in between under a three pointed crown and his bigger Mark with his three initials under a 3 pointed crown.
We have both Marks on this piece.
Several of his pieces are today in Museums including a Cabaret, in the Musée de Saint Omer.
His different works are detailed in Les Orfèvres de Lille Book 1 and 2.
He passed away on July 26th 1806.