Obelisk Art History
François-Thomas Germain

Coffeepot

Coffeepot, François-Thomas Germain
Coffeepot, zoomed in
29.5 cmCoffeepot scale comparison30.5 cm
See Coffeepot in the Kaleidoscope

Coffeepot is a Rococo Wood and Silver artwork created by François-Thomas Germain in 1757. It lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Vessels and Decorative Artwork. SourceDownload

This coffeepot represents one of the most original and successful designs found in all of eighteenth-century French silver. The spiraling channels that form the body create a sense of dynamic movement, and the spout and handle base are formed of coffee leaves and berries that elegantly reflect the intended function of the pot.

It was long believed that this coffeepot was one of six made by François-Thomas Germain as part of a large silver dinner service for the Portuguese king, José I. However, the Museum’s coffeepot lacks the engraved royal Portuguese coat of arms found on the coffeepots now in Lisbon, and its lid has slightly different decoration. Therefore, it is likely that this coffeepot was the first one made of this design and served as the model for the six made for the Portuguese court.

Germain, son of the famous silversmith Thomas Germain, was one of the most fashionable silversmiths in Paris in the second half of the eighteenth century, and his large workshop supplied important services to the French and Russian courts, in addition to that of Portugal.

Reed Enger, "Coffeepot," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 06, 2015; last modified May 27, 2020, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/francois-thomas-germain/coffeepot/.

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