Commissioned by the Duke of Aveiro from the most famous silversmith of his time, Thomas Germain.
Designed by Thomas Germain, the most famous silversmith of his time, and probably subsequently modified by his son François-Thomas, this table centrepiece belonged to the 8th Duke of Aveiro, Dom José de Mascarenhas e Lencastre, whose property was confiscated after he was accused of involvement in the conspiracy against the king Dom José I, in 1758.
The need to make pieces of this type, which are very rare today, is explained within the context of the ritual of service à la française, instituted by Louis XIV in Versailles, in the late 17th century, according to which the food was placed on the table in successive servings, known as couverts or services, and whose number varied in accordance with the ostentatiousness of the banquet.
This work is paradigmatic of its time, undoubtedly confirming the talent and the status of the Germains as sculptors. Through the perfection of its chiselling, and the fantasy and originality of its composition, it represents one of the high points of 18th-century Parisian production.