Maker: Edme-Pierre Balzac (1705–ca. 1786, master 1739, recorded 1781)
Culture: French, Paris
Dimensions: H. 10-1/4 in. (26.0 cm.); W. 9-1/8 in. (23.2 cm.); L. 15-3/8 in. (39.1 cm.)
Credit Line: Bequest of Catherine D. Wentworth, 1948
Accession Number: 48.187.418a–c
This tureen belongs to a large silver service that has a long and complicated history. The service appears to have been ordered initially in the late 1720s by an Englishman living in France. It was acquired eventually by the duc de Penthièvre; in 1821, it was inherited by his grandson Louis-Philippe, duc d'Orléans. Additional pieces were made for the service throughout the eighteenth century in a wide variety of styles, which makes the Penthièvre-Orléans service—as it became known—one of the most complex and least unified of all French silver services.
This tureen is one of a pair made for the service by Edme-Pierre Balzac, a leading silversmith in Paris who also contributed round tureens, wine coolers, and cruet stands to the Penthièvre-Orléans service during the years 1757 to 1761. Balzac's tureens are notable for their highly sculptural finials; in this case, a stag is being pulled down by three hounds—perhaps an allusion to the type of stew the tureen might contain.