The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House

Results:  1

Hamelin (active between: 1754-1760)
Works of Art

The enameller signing Hamelin has been identified as Nicolas Hamelin, a goldsmith registered in Paris from 12 May 1719 until 17 July 1752, at which date he was fifty-three years old. Clearly he was a man of some consequence since Gabriel-François Gersaint, the son of the famous “marchand-mercier”, was apprenticed to him in 1737. However, the earliest dated work signed Hamelin is 1757 and, while possible, it seems unlikely that the goldsmith and the enameller are on and the same. However, the enameller could easily have been the son, or a close-relative, of the goldsmith Nicolas Hamelin. Maze-Sencier quoted from a source said to be the “Encyclopédie” of Diderot and d’Alemert, “Nous avons vu, dit l’Encyclopédie, deux orfèvres-bijoutiers, les sieurs Hamelin et Maillé, en 1754, commencer a peindre en émail sur des bijoux d’or, et porter, depuis cet art à un point de perfection” [We have seen, says the Encyclopaedia, two goldsmith-jewellers, Messrs Hamelin and Maillé, in 1754, painting in enamel on gold jewels, and subsequently bringing this art to a point of perfection]. However, it has not hitherto been possible to locate the true source for this tantalizing reference. Boxes with enamels signed by Hamelin are exceedingly rare. A box by Jean Ducrollay, Paris, 1757-58, in the Taft Museum, Cincinnati, has enamels signed by Hamelin and dated 1758. The panels on a box in the Gilbert Collection share the same date. A third box, by Claude Perron, Paris, 1759-60, but with an enamel dated 1757, appeared on the market in 1987 and is now in a private collection. The fourth, no.25 in this catalogue, dates from the same year. The style of the enameller Hamelin is quite distinctive – rather loosely painted, ‘blousey’ flowers, fruit in bowls or baskets frequently supported on a stone ledge or tied with ribbons, depicted on a dark, greyish ground.