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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, South Hall
These large tureens were designed to serve oille, a rich stew of meat such as rabbit, venison, or boar; vegetables; and a mixture of aromatic herbs. Here the boar's head and legs reflect the tureens' usual contents. Seventy years after they were made, these tureens were still listed in an inventory with their elaborate lids, now lost, which were ornamented with artichokes, cauliflowers, birds, shells, and shrimp.
A pen and ink drawing for silver pieces, attributed to Thomas Germain, shows a preliminary sketch for a similar, lidded tureen. Very similar tureens, without lids and filled with fruit, appear in a painting by Alexandre-François Desportes, dated 1733.
The 1700s brought important changes in the way in which people dined. Dinner changed from being a stiffly formal occasion into a convivial meeting where the art of conversation reigned supreme. Silver objects like tureens, oil and vinegar frames, sauceboats, and large matching services of plates and dishes appeared on the table, enabling diners to help themselves rather than be served individually by servants. The tureen first appeared at the end of the 1600s, but it was not until the 1720s that its use became more widespread.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 157.
Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence, Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008) p. 373 (app. no. 18).