Languedoc gold and silverware 18th century

Montpellier, which saw the appearance of the town's hallmark around 1220, occupies a unique place in the history of French gold. From the 13th century goldsmiths were united in a guild which organised the craft and controlled the production of objects in precious metal. The first date hallmark was created in Montpellier in 1427 and consisted of a letter of the alphabet which changed each year and attested to the good quality of the metal used. This control system became widely used throughout France in 1506. Dynasties of master goldsmiths developed in the administrative capital of Languedoc, which saw important economic growth during the 17th century. In the 18th century one of the most renowned families was the Bazille dynasty. Three generations are shown here with work by Mark Bazille, his son Paul David, and his grandson Marc David Pascal whose masterpiece rattle with ten bells is owned by the museum. This collection of civil gold demonstrates the level of refinement achieved by Languedoc goldsmith masters under the Ancient Regime.