Silver sugar caster from Saint Omer c.1760 that fetched €25,000 (£21,185) at Ader.

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Some 70 pieces were included in the January 29 sale and contributed a premium-inclusive €365,536 to the overall total of around €1m chalked up by the 241 lots.

Silver from the pre-revolutionary period is a relatively rare survival in France and the Biron collection featured pieces that were acquired back in the 1970s from notable sources such as the David Weil collection.

Provincial origin

It was also noteworthy for including a number of desirable pieces made in provincial France.

Two baluster-shaped sugar casters were cases in point. One, weighing 516gms and measuring 9in (22.5cm), was made in Morlaix in Brittany in 1704-06 by the master goldsmith François de Saint Aubin.

It fetched €40,000 (£33,900) hammer – four times the estimate.

Another, later in date and more elaborately pierced and decorated, was made in Saint Omer in the north of France c.1760. This fetched €25,000 (£21,185).


One of a set of four square-shaped dishes made in Trevoux c.1759-71 that sold for €21,000 (£17,795) at Ader.

A set of four 10in (25cm) square-shaped dishes engraved with a central armorial, weighing 3061gms in total, were made in Trevoux near Lyon by the master goldsmith Dominique Chantel c.1759-71. They more than doubled the €8000-10,000 estimate to take €21,000 (£17,795).

Others included a silver mustard pot with glass liner made in Toulouse in 1777 by master goldsmith Louis II Dulaurier which realised €1200 (£1015).

A 582gms ecuelle from Perpignan measuring 10½in (27cm) across dated to 1771-2 and attributed to Jacques Charpentier realised €2100 (£1780).

Houdon portrait


Jean-Bernard Restout’s portrait of Jean Antoine Houdon which led the sale of the Biron Collection at Ader on January 29 at €160,000 (£135,595).

The top lot of the sale, at a multi-estimate €160,000 (£135,595), was a portrait by the Parisian artist Jean-Bernard Restout (1732-97) of the sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon on the original oval canvas measuring 22 x 17in (56 x 43cm). It shows the subject staring out at the viewer with his hands resting on a sculpted head.

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