Nicolas Besnier

Dates1714 - 1754

A renowned silversmith during the early 1700s, Nicolas Besnier was given the title of orfèvre du roi (Goldsmith to the King) in 1715 and produced a table service in silver and silver-gilt for Louis XV. Besnier also distinguished himself as the co-director of the Beauvais Manufactory from 1734 to 1753.

When the painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry was named director of Beauvais in 1734, he selected his great friend Besnier to join him. Not only an accomplished artist but also an astute businessman, Besnier looked after the commercial side of the factory while Oudry concentrated on artistic matters. Before the Besnier-Oudry partnership, Beauvais had continually lost money and frequently had difficulty paying its workers, buying wool and silk, and commissioning new cartoons. The two friends realized that they had to increase sales by providing new designs to reflect changing tastes. Their ideas were immediately successful, and they were soon able to hire new weavers to complete numerous orders from as far away as Denmark and Sweden.

After about twenty years as the director of Beauvais, Besnier finally retired in December 1753 and died six months later.