Outstanding 48 piece antique early Napoleon III era French sterling silver gilt vermeil flatware set. Circa 1850s. An exceptional solid sterling silver service for 12, comprising of luncheon or dessert size spoons, forks and knives and tea or coffee spoons. All housed in a rosewood and brass inlaid chest. Decorated in rich Empire styling. These pieces boast violin shaped handles adorned in elaborate scrolling motifs, acanthus and palmette accents. Finished with oval medallion 2-tone cartouches en verso, monogrammed with finely engraved initials OG on a silver ground. Housed protectively in a period green velvet lined fitted box. The heavy and sturdy rosewood box with brass inlay, stringing and corner mounts. The lid inlaid with an oval form cartouche with flush handle, monogrammed CB. The front with lock and inlaid brass escutcheon lock plate. Please see pictures for measurements. Total silver weight is 2241.8 grams.
The set is hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which guaranteed the finest quality French sterling silver of .950/1000 purity in use from 1838 (95% pure silver and a higher grade than the standard .925 for sterling). Bearing maker's marks for Guillaume DENINGER, Maison DENIÈRE, active as a silversmith from 1850-1855, who operated from 9 rue d'Orleans in Paris. The matching knives are tipped with .800 silver blades with gold plate/vermeil finish. The filled handles are .950 silver, hallmarked with the Minerve 1st standard mark. These are Louis Philippe era, bearing maker's marks for Parisian cutler Eugene-Theodore Gillot, who commenced trade at 18 rue du Faubourg-Montmartre from 1835 till 1845.
A superb set, in overall very good condition, appears to have hardly been used. The presentation box is in good order, some wear to the finish on the lid and surface marks, a few short vertical bits of brass stringing missing as shown. Lacking a key.
Maison Denière were prominent award winning bronzers in Paris during the 19th century. Guillaume Deninger, dit Denière, (Paris, 1815-1903) was active as a silversmith for only a short while and is primarily renown for his bronze clocks, furniture and sculptures. Established by Jean-François Denière in 1804, by the time his son Guillaume took over in 1844, Denière & fils were producing a variety of high quality decorative bronzes from workshops at 9, rue d'Orléans au Marais and had a magasin de bronze et dorures at 15 rue Vivienne, Paris. The firm was prosperous, with four hundred workers satisfying numerous orders, and were awarded fournisseurs de Roi, supplying various objets d'art to Napoleon III, king Louis Philippe and wealthy private clients.
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