This tureen belongs to a celebrated silver service that has a long and complex history. Its many components were produced over several decades, and despite the very high quality of all the silver in the service there are no stylistic features that tie the assemblage together. The early history of the service remains obscure; however, it has been suggested recently that a portion may have been purchased by the Saxon court minister Count Heinrich von Brühl (1700–1763), well known for commissioning the so-called Swan porcelain service from the Meissen factory. As the present service was eventually acquired by Louis-Jean-Marie de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre, and inherited by his grandson Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orléans (1773–1850), who was king of the French from 1830 to 1848, it has become known as the Penthièvre-Orléans service and is regarded as the only French royal silver service that survives.
This tureen and its mate (now in the Musée du Louvre) were made by Edme-Pierre Balzac, one of the preeminent silversmiths in Paris, who also contributed round tureens, wine coolers, and cruet stands to the service in the years 1757–61. Balzac’s tureens are notable for their highly sculptural finials, and it is possible that the stag attacked by hounds atop this one alludes to the type of stew the tureen might contain. The tureen was originally accompanied by a large oval stand.
[Jeffrey H. Munger, 2010]
Inscription: Engraved inside cover: I.
Stamped on insetting rim of cover: LHF [for Léon Helft Fils]
Marking:  Crowned fleur-de-lis, 2 grains de remède, E P B, device a cinquefoil (maker's mark)  Crowned A (Paris charge mark for large silver, 1756-62)  Crowned R (Paris warden's mark, 1757-58)  Crowned S (Paris warden's mark, 1758-59)  Woman's head (Paris discharge mark for large silver, 1756-62)  Shell (Paris discharge mark for gold and small silver, 1756-62)  Boar's head (Paris restricted warranty mark for silver, 1838-79)  ODIOT/A PARIS (maker's mark)  O above a lighted roman lamp, in lozenge (maker's mark of Charles-Nicolas Odiot, registered 1826)  Old man's head, numeral 1, in vertical octagon (Paris mark for first standard silver, 1819-38)  Head of Ceres, in a circle (Paris large excise mark for silver, 1819-38)
Location of marks:  inside on bottom of tureen, on insetting rim of cover, on bottom of liner  inside on bottom of tureen, inside cover, on bottom of liner  inside cover  on bottom of liner  on bottom of tureen and on bottom of liner  on insetting rim of cover and on leaf of finial  ? - on circular attachment bolted to inside bottom of tureen
There are three parallel lines scratched on the underside of one leaf.
A circular piece with shallow certical walls has been made to bolt on bottom of tureen underneath the liner. It is stamped ODIOT / A PARIS and bears the following marks; Charles Nicolas Odiot, 1 rue l'Evêque, Paris, in use since 1826; Paris mark for 1st standard silver, 1819–1838; Paris large excise mark for silver, 1819–38
[ Jacques Helft , until February 10, 1941; sold to Wentworth ] ; Catherine D. Wentworth (1941–48; bequeathed to MMA)