532

Details & Cataloguing

A Venetian Legacy – An Italian Private Collection

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London

A gold openwork box formed from a watchcase, signed probably by David Dupont, London, circa 1740
circular, the lid chased in high relief with Brennus the Gaul casting his sword into the scales, signed: Dupont f., the associated inserted cylindrical base engraved with fantastical masks, hounds and architectural caprices within further openwork scrolls, apparently unmarked


5 cm., 2 in. diameter, 3.5 cm., 1 ½ in. high
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Catalogue Note

According to Richard Edgcumbe, there were two Duponts working as gold chasers in the 1740s: Jean-Maximilien du Pont, an Amsterdam chaser, born in 1721, and David Dupont, chaser of St Lawrence Jewry, London, active at least between 1736 and 1746. See The Art of the Gold Chaser, Oxford, 2000, pp. 42-44, for descriptions of four watchcases signed: Dupont.

Brennus was leader of the Gauls whose forces attacked Rome in 390 BC, besieging the Capitol. The Romans agreed to pay a ransom in gold to pay off the Gauls but complained during the negotiations that the Gauls were using loaded weights. The furious Brennus threw his heavy sword onto the scales, thus increasing the ransom, crying out ‘Vae victis’ (literally ‘woe to the defeated’ or as we would probably say today ‘bad luck’ or ‘take that’) Luckily for the Romans, Camillus arrived with supporting forces to rout the Gauls before the ransom was finally paid.

A Venetian Legacy – An Italian Private Collection

|
London