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date: 15 December 2019

Briot, Françoislocked

(b Damblain, Lorraine, c. 1550; d ?Montbéliard, c. 1612).
  • Timothy Schroder

Extract

(b Damblain, Lorraine, c. 1550; d ?Montbéliard, c. 1612).

French metalworker and medallist. He was born of Huguenot parents and moved in 1579 to Montbéliard (Mömpelgard), then in Germany, to escape religious persecution. In 1585 he was appointed Graveur de son Excellence to Duke Frederick I of Württemburg-Mömpelgard (d 1608) and specialized in cutting dies for coins and medals. It is also likely that he worked as a Bildschnitzer or Formschneider, making models for goldsmiths’ work, although there is no firm evidence for this. He is best known for his fine pewter vessels decorated in relief with densely packed Mannerist ornament (e.g. ewer, c. 1600; Paris, Louvre). Because of the softness of the metal these would not have been suitable for practical use and were intended as a cheap, decorative substitute for fine plate. The Temperantia dish (so-called from its ornament, c. 1585; Dresden, Mus. Ksthandwerk) and accompanying ewer are in the same style as goldsmiths’ work of the Fontainebleau school. It has been suggested that the sharply defined surface of Briot’s vessels indicates that the ornament may have been struck by steel dies, although whether the vessels were formed from assembled struck components or cast and then struck is not clear. His vessels were widely imitated, especially by the Nuremberg pewterer Caspar Enderlein and in ceramics by Bernard Palissy....

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