1884 Morel Laveuil Shakespeare Elkington Silver Plaque

This delightful chased silver on copper base relief plaque by the important French sculptor and metalsmith, Leonard Morel Laveuil (1820-1888), for Elkington & Co. of Birmingham, depicts a scene from William Shakespeare's play, Much Ado About Nothing. On the front it is signed Morel Laveuil and dated 1884, and on the side edges it carries the stamped mark of Elkington with the number 1311, and the appropriate silver marks. At the corners are chased masks representing Comedy and Drama, and a central medallion depicts a portrait of Shakespeare. The plaque is mounted on a mahogany frame measuring 21" by 27" by 0.7". The plaque alone measures 18" tall and 23" wide. According to Christie's, Ladeuil was one of the foremost metalwork artists of the nineteenth century, and this and other plaques from the series represent some of his finest works. Morel-Ladeuil studied chasing and damascening from the master chaser, Antoine Vechte, and learned sculptural techniques from J. Feucheres. He moved to England in 1859 where he worked for Elkington & Co. for almost thiry years. He is known for his figural repoussé work, and his commissions for international exhibitions not only enhanced his reputation, but the profile of Elkington & Co. He was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1878. Toward the end of his career, he created a number of plaques based on Shakespeare's plays. The first, entitled The Merry Wives of Windsor, was commissioned around 1880 by Sir Albert Sassoon as a wedding present for the Duke of Albany, a pun on the marriage of the Queen's son who was living at Windsor at the time. These plaques were likely inspired by the Shakespearean productions starring Henry Irving and Miss Ellen Terry. These plaques were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1885, and at the 1889 retrospective of Morel-Ladeuil's work held at Union des Arts Décoratifs. We know of only the plaques based on Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Merchant of Venice, but it is possible Laveuil created more plaques inspired by Shakespeare. The only major auction of a plaque from this series that we are aware of since 2000 occurred on October 26, 2006, when Christie's in New York sold a Laveuil plaque depicting the Merchant of Venice was sold for $14,400 in lot 65. This item resides with our client on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York and may be seen by appointment. Additional images forwarded upon request. ( hantiques )

Item Details

Reference #:
Antiques (approx100yrs)
(Width x Height X Depth)
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Very Good