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
Title
  • Powder Box
  • Toilet Service of the Duchesse de Cadaval (alternate title)
Date between 1738 and 1739
Medium silver
Dimensions Overall: 4 × 5 inches, 1 pounds 6 ounces (10.2 × 12.7 cm, 0.6 kg)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection of Early French Silver Fund
Accession Number 53.180
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View Fashionable Living: S330.4, Level 3 (see map)
Marks Marks: [coats of arms of the Dukes of Cadaval and Lorraine are engraved on the lid of the box]
Maker's mark, on underside of box: [illegible]
Warden's mark, on underside of lid and underside of box: Y [for 1738-39]
Charge mark, on underside of lid and on underside of box: [crowned A for 1738-44 struck];
Discharge mark, on applied molding on the lid and on the lid and on the box: [walking cow for 1733(?)-75]
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)