"Particularly famous in making fine ornamental Plate, and has been very instrumental in bringing that Branch of Trade to the perfection it is now.” –London Evening Post upon his death in 1751.
Paul de Lamerie is considered one of the most revered silversmiths in history. As the above quote shows, he was a key factor in ‘perfecting’ the trade. He is most renowned for his exceptional quality of artistry and his mastery of the complex and elaborate Rococo style.
At AC Silver we are delighted to be able to offer our customers a collection of Paul de Lamerie silver for sale. Each item has been personally chosen by Andrew Campbell himself. They are all assured to be the finest quality of their type and are in presentation condition.
The son of a French Huguenot, Paul Souchay de Lamerie Paul de Lamerie was born in The Netherlands in 1688. The family then fled as religious refugees to London in 1691. In London, the family lived off the Royal Bounty which was a fund provided £6 per year for people in their desperate position.
His father decided that Paul would train to become a goldsmith and silversmith. He was apprenticed to the famous Huguenot Silversmith Pierre Platel in 1703. This was to be the beginning of his illustrious career.
Paul de Lamerie became a freeman of the Goldsmith's Company and registered his hallmarks in 1712. His first hallmark was ‘LA’- the first two letters of his surname, between a crown and a fleur-de-lis. Originally he worked in Britannia standard silver as this was obligatory at the time. He remained loyal to this fine standard even after the Wrought Plate act of 1719 (which restored the ordinary standard as an option). In 1732 he finally made the decision to start using the old standard. Because of this he had to register a new hallmark with the Goldsmiths Company. The reason for this decision may have been to do with stylistic changes; the rococo style was gaining popularity at the time. With its elaborate details, this style would have been easier to execute in the old standard which was more manageable to work.
The beginning of his significant commissions for aristocracy was in 1719, when he produced a cistern for the 1st Duke of Sutherland. Shortly afterward De Lamerie met William Hogarth, who is considered to be the best engraver of his time. Hogarth’s engraving added a further dimension of exceptional craftsmanship to Paul de Lamerie’s silverware.
Paul de Lamerie quickly became famous in his age. He was soon the preferred silversmith of many members of British, European and Russian aristocracy and nobility. Unofficially, he was known as ‘The King’s Silversmith’.
De Lamerie became a governing member of the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths guild in 1731. He quickly moved up the ranks of the organisation, in spite of formerly having a cavalier attitude to hallmarking laws. His work and involvement in law making and governmental affairs continued until his ill health prevented it. After a long illness, de Lamerie died on August 1, 1751.
Despite having a family- he married Louisa Julliott in 1717 and had 6 children- he had no surviving son to carry on his business once he died. It was stated in his will that unfinished pieces were to be completed by one of his workmen.
Today, Paul de Lamerie silver is some of the most expensive silver available to buy through auction or private sellers. This is largely due to the quality of his items and also because of his fame and reputation as a master of his craft.