The third duke of Cadaval of Portugal ordered this nineteen-piece toilet service for the French princess Henriette of Lorraine on the occasion of their marriage in 1739. The only complete French toilet set to survive from the first half of the eighteenth century, it includes a mirror, ewer and basin, candlesticks, jewel boxes, clothes brush, and pin cushion, among other articles.
The royal silversmith Thomas Germain (1673–1748) may have designed this elegant toilet set, actually fabricated by four lesser-known Parisian silversmiths. Commissioned by one of the most important lords of Portugal, the set represents the quality and luxury of the toilet services made for the French court during the first half of the eighteenth century and later melted down or dispersed.
Maker Etienne Pollet, French, active 1715 - 1751
  • Large Jewelry Box
  • Toilet Service of the Duchesse de Cadaval
Date 1738 or 1739
Medium silver
Dimensions Overall: 4 1/2 × 10 3/4 × 8 5/8 inches, 7 pounds (11.4 × 27.3 × 21.9 cm, 3.2 kg)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection of Early French Silver Fund
Accession Number 53.177
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
Not On View
Marks Marked, maker's mark for Etienne Pollet, struck on underside of lid and inside box
Marked, warden's mark, on underside of box, twice inside box, and once on underside of lid: Y [for 1738/39]
Marked, charge mark, struck on underside of box, twice inside boxes and on underside of lid, for 1738-44: [crowned A]
Marked, discharge mark for 1733 (?)-75, struck on bottom edge of box front: [walking cow]
Inscriptions Inscribed, on lid of box, engraved: [The coats of arms of the Dukes of Cadaval and Lorraine]
ca. 1738, probably commissioned by Jaime de Mello, 3rd Duke of Cadaval, or by Louis of Lorraine, prince de Lambesc;
May 1739, Henriette-Julie-Gabrielle de Lorraine, Duchesse de Cadaval [1724-1761];
by descent to the family of the Dukes of Cadaval (Lisbon, Portugal);
1931, sold by 9th Duke of Cadaval;
1931, acquired by (Jacques Helft, Paris, France);
1952, Elizabeth and Harvey Firestone, Jr.;
1953-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Grigaut, P. "An Eighteenth-Century French Silver Toilet Set in Detroit," Bulletin of the DIA 33, no. 1 (1953-54): pp. 12-14.

Grigaut, P. "An Eighteenth-Century French Silver Toilet Set in Detroit," The Art Quarterly 16, no. 3 (Autumn 1953): pp. 239-247.

Comstock, H. "The Connoisseur in America," The Connoisseur 133, no. 538 (June 1954): p. 291.

"In the Museums," Antiques, vol. 67, no. 5 (May 1955): pp. 422, 428.

French, English and American Silver. Exh. cat., Minneapolis Institute of Arts. June 9-July 15, 1956, no. 37.

Helft, J. Treasure Hunt. Memoirs of an Antique Dealer. London, 1957, p. 40, (ill.) pl. 8.

Brault, Solange, and Yves Bottineau. Orfevrerie Francaise du XVIIIE Siecle. 1959, pl. VII.

Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1960, (ill.) p. 199.

Came, Richard. Silver. 1961, p. 107.

Grigaut, P. European Decorative Arts in the Eighteenth Century. Detroit Institute of Arts, 1961, pp. 8, 24 (ill.).

Fregnac, C., ed. Les Grands Orfevres de Louis XII a Charles X. Paris, 1965, pp. 136-137.

Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1966, p. 205 (ill.).

Davis, F. French Silver 1450-1825. New York & Washington, 1970, p. 28, (fig. 44).

Whitehead, J. The French Interior in the Eighteenth Century. New York, 1992, p. 226 (ill.).

A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 210.

Albainy, T. "Eighteenth-Century French Silver in the Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection," Bulletin of the DIA 73, no. 1/2 (1999): pp. 17-21; p. 18, (fig. 12) (ill.).

Carlier, Y. "Details of the Toilet Service of the Duchesse de Cadaval," Bulletin of the DIA 78, no. 1/2 (2004): pp. 4-17.

Chrisman-Campbell, K. "Dressing to Impress: The Morning Toilette and the Fabrication of Femininity," in C. Bremer-David, ed. Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century. Los Angeles, 2011, pp. 56-73; p. 57, (fig. 35) (ill.).