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date: 20 October 2019


  • Bet McLeod


Parisian guild of merchants selling luxury goods. The name has no direct translation, as it derives from the incorporation of the mercers (textile merchants) and jewel merchants. It was the third of the six guilds of merchants in Paris, and was subdivided into twenty classes by the types of goods available for sale. The 13th class was allowed to sell a wide variety of works of art, which included not only paintings and prints but also all manner of items including furniture, light fittings, bronzes, marble and clocks. Although the merchants were, in theory, regulated by the guild system as to the types of goods they were permitted to sell, in practice several classes frequently overlapped. A large number of marchands-merciers were established in the Rue Saint-Honoré, and advertisements in the form of trade cards or shop signs—for example, L’Enseigne de Gersaint by Antoine Watteau (1721; Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg)—often listed or illustrated the marvellous array of goods available....

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