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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Fine Silver Gilt (Vermeil) Bell-Shaped Beaker"
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Height 4” (10cm) Diameter 3” (8cm)
Strasbourg, France 1771/1772
Stock No. 1079
Vermeil was developed in mid 18th century France and was considered a luxury, attracting an international clientele of royalty and aristocracy. A coating of gold was adhered to sterling silvering mercury in the ‘fire-gilding’ process. Due to the dangers of this process that were discovered by scientists at the beginning of the 1800s, the practice was soon prohibited and subsequently very little was produced after this time. Jacques Henri Alberti, master goldsmiths was considered one of the foremost and talented goldsmiths in Strasbourg in his day and, according to the corporate system in place before the FrenchRevolution, set himself up alongside similar specialists in their own quarter in the town of Strasbourg - Le Carré d’Or, or the gold quarter. The home that he had built in 1785, no. 14 on the Rue des Orfèveres (Goldsmiths), came to be known as The Storks, identified by the extraordinary carving above the door, which displays two storks in a bed of reeds. Alberti was recognised in his time for his innovative naturalistic taste in decoration on his pieces and no doubt defined himself with this decorated entrance.