The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand


Thursday 24 March 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The Baccarat crystalware is the largest french crystal’s manufacture and the most famous in the world. The quality of its works whether in the furniture, the set and the tableware is one of the largest reference for crystal masterpieces.

Historic context

Under the reign of Louis the XVth, in 1764, the bishop of Metz Louis de Montmorency-Laval is allowed to open a glassware. This glassware was created in the village of Baccarat whether for its big forest and its quality of the soil. In 1816, the glassware’s future change suddenly with the arrival of the industrial man Aimé-Gabriel d’Artigues who is the glassware and crystalware’s owner of Vonêche in Belgium. He bought the glassware and transformed it in a crystalware. On the 7 January of 1822, the crystalware is bought by three partners like Pierre-Antoine Godart-Desmarest who created the glassware and crystalware’s company of Vonêche in Baccarat, named until 1842.

Its medals and its awards

In 1823, Baccarat receives its first golden medal in the National Exhibition products of the French Industry. It’s a meeting that gathered the most prestigious French traditional craftsmanship and stand in Cour Carrée of Louvre and substituted in 1849 by the Universal Exhibitions. In 1827, Baccarat is the first French crystalware which present such items as pendants in exhibitions. Previously, these items were systematically imported from England or Bohemia. Following this growing success, Baccarat supplies throughout the first half of 19th century bronze workers, who make the bronze structure chandeliers and decorate it with crystal elements. Later, Baccarat open his own workshop bronze. Throughout the history, Baccarat is rewarded many times for its creativity and its inventions. In 1855, Baccarat presents one candelabra more than five meters high with one hundred forty lights. Never this sort of crystal piece was created before in France that is why the manufacture won the only one big golden medal given by the metal Industry (receives by the emperor’s hand himself). This exhibition shows the beginning of the Baccarat supremacy in lighting fixtures.

The company also had a great success for its colors productions with the creation of the famous red to gold, created by the merging between crystal clear and the golden powder 24 carats, an absolute control is required for its skill. Baccarat is also known for its opaline’s production.

Its recognition and its development

Following the first exhibition in 1849 in Paris, the king Louis the XVIIIth, particulary impressed by the purity of the work of the crystalware, orders a drink service and its use became very famous. The company creates a complete service: pitcher, carafe, shot glass, burgundy glass, fruit bowl... From the Second Empire, we say that we pass to the "service à la russe" where glasses were on the table and each one had a specific function. This new trend increases the crystalware’s orders. The consecration of Baccarat allowed it to open their first store in 1832 in Paris. This store became in 1857 the headquarters. In 1886 the company opens up to the exportation. Several counters open across the world: in India, in Havana, in Argentina or in Mexico, in Uruguay and in Hanoi. The prestigious orders multiply: Maharajas, Tsar or great personalities from Japan or from America want their Baccarat pieces signed. Among the commands of the most prestigious one in the department, there are the service "Yacht" for the Prince of Wales, the service "Parison" for the Maharajas of Indore Rao Holkar or the service "François Villon" for the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt.

In 1896, Tsar Alexander III orders a fabulous candelabrum model measuring 3.85 meters high and carrying seventy-nine electrified candles. They were intended to decorate the Imperial Palace of Saint Petersburg and were named "Tsar candelabra ".

In 1909, Baccarat received a prestigious order from the Japanese imperial house. The manufacture created the "service Beauvais", a masterpiece of purity and simplicity. And in 1927 it was the turn of the great Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III to order a large table service engraved and frosted decor named "Chambord service".

With modernity, Baccarat is one of the first manufacture to electrify kind of chandeliers. In the twentieth century, Baccarat success continues and they created two subsidiaries: in 1948 in the United States under the name of Baccarat Inc and in 1984 in Japan titled Baccarat Pacific.

Its contemporary initiatives

Thanks to Baccarat success, well-known creators such as Georges Chevalier, Patrice Butler or André Putman, participate to the creation of lightning. They bring modernity to Baccarat style. In 1992, they opened a new production of jewelry and that is why they created a lot of partnerships with contemporary creators like Catherine Noll, Peggy Huynh King, Philippe Airaud, Stefano Poletti or Elie Top.

For the 250th anniversary of Baccarat the Petit Palais in Paris presents from October 15, 2014 to January 4, 2015, the most beautiful masterpieces of the crystalware in a journey of incredible richness that relays the history of the largest manufacturing French crystal.

This Regency chandelier, that we present, is a beautiful piece of the house baccarat that perfectly reflects the splendor and richness of this great French crystal factory.

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