The European Decorative Arts Company carries an outstanding collection of objects made in rock crystals and other hardstones and examples of important makers such as Hermann Ratzersdorfer, Hermann Bohm, Charles Duron, Jean Valentin Morel.
From the time of their inception, these objects were meant to be cherished for the materials that were employed in their production and for the skilled manner in which they were crafted. The fact that these items, as fragile and vulnerable as they are, have survived in their present condition with minimal damage, is testament to how greatly they were valued over the years by their temporary custodians.
In-person viewing of our extensive collection can be arranged at our by-appointment-only showrooms.
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Tazza by Jean Valentin Morel (French, 1790-1860), circa 1852-60
Jean Valentin Morel (1790-1860)
Bloodstone, Gold and enamel, pearls
h 8.375 " w 6.5 " d 3.125 "
SIGNED MOREL A SÈVRES FRENCH GOLD MARK HEIGHT 21.3 CM. WIDTH 16.5 CM. DEPTH 8 CM.
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Jean-Valentin Morel was a master goldsmith, silversmith, jeweler and lapidary craftsman, ranking among the best and most important of his kind in the mid-19th century. Born and trained in Paris, Morel was exposed early on to the decorative arts, as his father, Valentin, was a master jeweler and rock crystal carver, and his mother came from the Mauzié family of silversmiths. Morel apprenticed with Adrien Vachette, maker of gold boxes to Napoleon, and around 1818, while in his 20's, he went out on his own. He registered his mark on August 2, 1827 and he went to work for the Fossin brothers in 1834 (who took over the firm Chaumet) as the chef d'atelier), remaining there until 1840.
From 1842-48 Morel was in partnership with the French architect Henri Duponchel (1794-1868) establishing themselves as Morel et Cie on the rue Neuve Saint Augustin, where they became very well known for their renaissance revival objets d' art to the designs of Jules Peyre and Constant Sévin (who later would become the chief designer at the Barbedienne bronze foundry). Their clients included the Due de Luynes, William III of Holland, Pope Gregory XVI and the King of Sardinia. At one point they employed 80 workers and won a gold medal at the Exposition des Produits de l'industrie of 1844 in Paris. Their partnership was eventually dissolved and ended acrimoniously in a lawsuit that resulted in Morel being prohibited from working in Paris again.
The revolutions of 1848 had a devastating effect on the luxury trades and Morel fled to London with many of his craftsmen and set-up shop at 7 New Burlington Street with financial backing from collector Edmond Joly de Bammeville. There he continued to produce the highest quality jewelry and objects, catering to the Royal family and many members of the nobility, other European royals and even the exiled royal family of France. Morel s career reached a high point at the Great Exhibition of 1851 where "His stand showed his grasp of the eclectic spirit of Romanticism....The glory of the stand [being] the collection of renaissance-style lapis lazuli, agate and rock-crystal vessels mounted in enamelled gold, inspired by those in the Galerie d'Apollon in the Louvre. ' Morel was awarded a Council Medal for his exhibit there, the highest honour someone in his class could receive.
Morel eventually returned to France in 1852, setting up a studio at the Sevres on the outskirts of Paris. Morel continued to produced magnificent objects and exhibited at the Paris International Exhibition of 1855 where he was awarded the Grand Medaille for goldwork and jewelry. There he showed his famous bloodstone and enamel cup depicting Perseus and Andromeda, commissioned by Henry Thomas Hope (son of architect Thomas Hope) in 1854. Morel was made a Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur by Napoleon III in 1855 and received pension from the state in the last five years of his life.
Original drawings for the objects produced by Morel are very rare, but the stem of this tazza, comprised of a female satyr carrying a girl, is a design that can be found in an anonymous drawing located in the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid.
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Astor of Hever
Al-Tajir Collection, England.
The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from theAl-Tajir Collection, published by Christie's, 1989, cat. 221.
Madame Isabelle Lucas, Valentin Morel, in l'Estampille L Objet d Art magazine, September 2000, pp. 95-103.
Claude Blair, The History of Silver, 1987, pp. 168-169. The Second Empire, Art in France under Napoleon III, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1978, pp. 165-168.
'Diana Scarisbrick, Jean Valentin Morel, jeweller, Chaumefs fortunes in London, Apollo Magazine, January 1996, p. 29.
'Musée de la Vie Romantique, Trésors d'Argent, Les Froment-Meurice, exhibition catalogue, 2003, p. 85, cat. no. 147.