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
  • Powder Box
  • Toilet Service of the Duchesse de Cadaval
Date 1738/1739
Medium silver
Dimensions Overall: 4 × 5 inches (10.2 × 12.7 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection of Early French Silver Fund
Accession Number 53.179
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
Not On View
Marks Maker's mark (not legible) struck on the underside of the box;
Warden's mark "Y" for 1738-39 struck on underside of the lid and on underside of box;
Charge mark (crowned A) for 1738-44 struck on underside of lid and on underside of box;
Discharge mark (walking cow) for 1733(?)-75 struck on applied molding on the lid and on the box
Inscriptions The coats of arms of the Dukes of Cadaval and Lorraine are engraved on the lid of the box.
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)
See 53.177 for a listing of references.