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Trade Card of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Inlay-Worker and Fan-maker, Au Singe Violet

Artist or maker:
Unknown
Date:
c 1788 {nd}
Biennais bought the tabletterie shop at no. 510, rue Saint-Honoré, in 1788. In 1790 the numbering system was changed and it became number 119, see Related documents.
Place of Production:
Paris, France
Medium:
etching and engraving on light blue paper
Type of Object:
etchings
trade cards
Accession number:
3686.1.70.133
One of a set, see others

Commentary

Brief Description

Trade card of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, merchant inlay-worker and fan-maker (marchand tabletier et evantailliste), At the Purple Monkey. Printed on light blue paper. The image is etched, and the text engraved; the capitals of Biennais' name are decorated with dots. The design consists of a plaque bearing the text, a representation of the shop sign, and a representation of goods as described in the text. The whole is surrounded by a double rule, trimmed at the lower edge.

The oblong plaque takes up the lower-half of the card. The outer edge is made of a torus moulding with a pattern of laurel leaves in the form of a bay leaf garland. Fleuron bosses appear at each corner inside the moulding, surrounded by a flat moulding decorated with parallel lines that is concave at each corner. The upper edge of a line of text is visible underneath the plaque at lower left.

On top of the plaque there is a roundel, with a thin rule border, bearing a depiction of the shop sign. A monkey sits on a cushion. It holds a dice cup in its hand. In front of it, there is a small gaming-table with two dice. A ribbon is tied in a bow to a knob at the top of the roundel. Festoons of flowers are draped round the upper part of the roundel. Various goods project from the festoon, including, on the left, a stick to push gaming counters and a cup on a stick - probably the rake and spoon for Biribi (game of chance).

Beneath the roundel is a plaque bearing the shop sign name. On top of the plaque are several small goods, including: a stick - possibly the baton for 'Exempt' cavalry officers; a game box with a sliding lid; dice; a polygonal game piece bearing a letter 'G'; two thimbles; a small draw-string purse for counters; marbles; and two bobbins.

Further goods appear along the top of the plaque. From left to right: a draughtboard; a game contraption; an open fan; a pot; a paddle with holes in it; a candle shade or the 'gardevue de spectacle' in the form of a circular fan on a candlestick base; two other such bases; a candlestick with a circular attachment for a shade; a game composed of little figures on a round base with a line as for fishing; a carved figure of a soldier; a carved crucifix with a figure of Christ; a glass bell jar with a figure inside; a closed fan; several round boxes; and a backgammon board.

Behind the two game boards, at left and right, are bundles of walking sticks tied with ribbons. Ribbons are suspended from the top of the roundel to each bundle of sticks. From these are suspended two trophies of goods. On the left, the trophy, supported on a ribbon, includes a pipe; a fork and spoon; a round box; possibly a ball-and-cup game; a pipette; and several hair combs. On the right, the trophy, supported on a clock pendulum, includes two basket-like objects on sticks, probably to wind wool; pins; a little toilette brush; and a fork.

Curatorial Commentary

This is an earlier example than the first known trade card of Biennais which dates from the years of the French Revolution, see Related documents for bibliography.

The mention of butter churns indicates that the fashion of the ornament farms, as at Petit Trianon, had infiltrated the trade of luxury goods. On ornament farms and agricultural production as an aristocratic leisure activity, see Related documents.

The colour of the paper indicates low quality rag 'blued' for aesthetic effect, see Related documents for bibliography on this process.

In his notes on the Waddesdon trade card volumes, Geoffrey de Bellaigue noted that this may be an invoice. The lack of inscriptions makes this unlikely, but Bellaigue may have been aware of another example used in such a manner.

See also 3686.3.49.120, 3686.3.72.162.

Depaulis notes that there is a trade card for Biennais with 'jeu de juif' mentioned, dating prior to 1802, which appears on a nécessaire à jouer at the Château of Malmaison. Depaulis also describes the rules of the 'loto-dauphin', a lottery game which appeared after the birth of the dauphin in 1785.

Phillippa Plock, 2008

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
200 x 224
Physical Details:
single sheet, image size: 194 x 220 (sheet trimmed within image at lower edge and to or within plate mark at upper and side edges)
Transcription:
AU SINGE VIOLET / Rue St. Honoré entre la Rue de l'Echelle et les Ecuries du Roi. No. 509. / BIENNAIS, Md. Tabletier et Evantailliste. / Tient de jolie ouvrages de fantaisie des plus à la mode, fabrique de Tabatieres et Bonbonnieres d'ecailles blonde et noire, / gorge d'Or et galonnée d'or, en Ivoire et Carton, Etuis d'Ecaille garnie en Or, d'Ivoire, ovale et rond, Porte Crayons/ le tout garnie d'or, Trictracs en tables ployante, d'Ebene et d'Ivoire, Damiers, Boîtes pour jouer au Quinze, Boîtes / à Reversis et à Quadrille, Fiches et Jettons de Nacre et d'Ivoire, Loto Dauphin et à Livret, Cornet de Trictracs en Cuire / vernis et sans être vernis, Cornets de Crespes en cuire Anglais et en bois, vrai Dez de Crespes Anglais, Dez Anglais / de toutes grosseur pour le Trictrac, Jeux Doye, Jeux de Juifs, de Renard, Jeux Dechets, Echiquets d'ivoire et d'Ebene / et en Maroquin, Jeux de Dames, d'ivoire, Rateaux et Cuillere pour le Biribi, Jeux de Honchet, Bille de Billiard, Jeux de / Domino, Navette en Ecaille, Posée en or et d'ivoire, Equille à tricoté en ivoire et en ebene, Devidoirs et métier de toute façons, et géné- / ralement (généralement) tout ce qui concerne l'amusement des dames, Evantails de Nacre de perle et vrais lacs de la Chine et en ivoire, en bois des / plus nouveaux; Peignes à chignons, d'écaille et à baguette; Peignes de corne et d'ivoire, Toque de toute façon, Cannes de jet et Bam- / boux (bamboux) à dez d'or et à pomme d'or, d'acier et d'ivoire, Moulins à beure, Jouets d'enfants, Dez à coudre garnie d'or, Boite à rouge / à charniere d'or, Pipes de toutes façons en ecume de mer et Ecritoires garnie en or, Pied de Roi en ivoire garnie d'or et / d'argent, Plaque d'ivoire pour mignature, portraits de fantaisie, Gardevue de spectacle et pour les bougies, Vergettes de / Toilettes, Brosses à barbes, Demie aulnes en ivoire et Toise, souflets à poudre, Cannes d'Exempt, Christ d'ivoire et / debene, poids diris pour les cotères et Boîtes de racine, presse citron, Cuilleres à punch, Bourses à jetons enjolivée / d'or, Souvenirs en écaille et en ivoire garnie d'or, et flacons de même. Fait tout les raccomodages, à juste prix. A PARIS.
Translation:
At the Purple Monkey, rue Saint-Honoré between the rue de l'Echelle and the Ecuries du Roi, number 509. Biennais, inlay-worker and fan-maker. Has beautiful and most fashionable fancy and novelty goods, makes snuff-boxes and sweet boxes in light and black tortoiseshell, filled and decorated with gold, in ivory, and in cardboard; cases for personal objects in tortoiseshell decorated with gold, ivory, oval and round; pencil holders totally decorated with gold; backgammon boards in folding tables in ebony and ivory; draughtboards; gaming sets for quinze; gaming sets for reversis and for quadrille; counters and tokens in mother of pearl and ivory; 'Dauphin' lottery and lottery booklets; backgammon dice cups in leather varnished and unvarnished; craps dice cups in English leather and wood; real dice for English craps; English dice in all sizes for backgammon; snakes and ladders; Jewish games; games of fox and geese; chess; chess boards in ivory ebony and leather; draughts in ivory; rakes and spoons for Biribi (games of chance); game of pick up sticks; marbles for billiards; dominoes; shuttles in tortoiseshell, inlaid with gold and ivory; knitting needles in ivory and ebony; spools and textile-work boxes of all types; and in general everything relating to the recreation of ladies; fans in mother of pearl, real Chinese lake, ivory, and in the newest woods; combs for chignons, in tortoiseshell and with pins; combs in horn and ivory; caps in all styles; canes in jet and bamboo, with golden tips and pommels in gold, steel and ivory; butter churns; children's toys; sewing thimbles embellished with gold; boxes for rouge with golden hinges; pipes in all styles in meerschaum (hydrated magnesium silicate); and writing boxes decorated with gold; folding rulers in ivory embellished with gold and silver; ivory sheets for miniatures; fantasy portraits; shades for eyes, and for candles; little toilet brushes; brushes for beards; half ell and toise measurers in ivory; powder bellows; walking sticks in 'Exempt' cavalry officer style, Christ in ivory and ebony; rock crystal weights (for marking places); boxes in root wood; lemon squeezers; punch ladles; purses for tokens embellished with gold; diaries in tortoiseshell and ivory embellished with gold and flasks in the same. Undertakes all repairs, at fair prices. In Paris.
Language:
French

History

Provenance:
Acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898) before 1897; inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Part of:
Recueil d'adresses: A collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century French, German, Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, Italian and Spanish trade cards, labels, wrappers, advertisements and related commercial ephemera bound in four volumes. 3686.1-4
Collection:
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Related literature

Anne Dion-Tenenbaum; L'orfèvre de Napoleon: Martin-Guillaume Biennais; Paris; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux; 2003. pp. 11-17, details of Biennais at this address, and illustrates a later version of this trade card, see fig. 2, when Biennais was at number 119, rue Saint-Honoré
Jill H Casid, Queer(y)ing Georgic: Utility, Pleasure, and Marie-Antoinette's Ornamented Farm, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 30, 1997, 304-318. On ornament farms
Thierry Depaulis, Jeux de hasard sur papier, Le Vieux Papier, 1987, 1-22. p. 4, on Biennais trade card at Malmaison; pp. 18-19, on loto-daupin

http://aic.stanford.edu/sg/bpg/annual/v12/bp12-02.html On the use of light blue paper in the eighteenth century. [accessed 05 Nov 2008]

Indexed terms

People as Subject:
Biennais, Martin-Guillaume (b.1764, d.1843)
Provenance Person:
Rothschild, James de (b.1878, d.1957)
Rothschild, Baron Ferdinand de (b.1839, d.1898)
Rothschild, Alice de (b.1847, d.1922)
Research Keywords:
Men as Proprietors/Consumption
Luxury/Consumption
Variety of Products/Consumption
Women as Consumers/Consumption
Jewish Culture
Childhood
Fashion
Decorative Arts
Revolutions & Social Conflict
Imitation
Asian Imagery
Trade (Import)/Trade Routes
European Trade/Trade Routes
Invention & Novelty
Men as Consumers/Consumption
Value of Products/Consumption
Intercontinental Trade/Trade Routes
Christian Culture
Exoticism
History of the Service of Drink
Ephemera
Subjects:
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Flower Motifs
Work & Occupations/Industrial & Crafts/Goldsmith
Work & Occupations/Social Rank/Nobility
Nature, Landscape & The Elements/Flowers
Architecture/Monuments
Religion/Biblical Figures & Saints/Christ
Objects/Shop Goods
Animals/Mammals/Monkey
Religion/Christian Iconography/Crucifixion
Work & Occupations/Maritime & Military/Soldier
Objects/Clothing & Personal Effects/Fan
Objects/Clothing & Personal Effects/Walking Stick
Everyday Life/Gaming & Sport/Dice & Board Games
Everyday Life/Entertainment/Performing Animals
Objects/Sports & Games Equipment/Dice or Board Game
Objects/Furnishings/Candlestick
Objects/Cooking & Eating/Cutlery
Objects/Visual Arts/Textile Tools
Objects/Religious & Ceremonial/Crucifix
Objects/Furnishings/Gaming Table
Objects/Clothing & Personal Effects/Snuffbox
Objects/Food & Drink/Sweets
Objects/Vessels & Containers/Box
Objects/Sports & Games Equipment/Playing Cards
Animals/Mammals/Fox
Objects/Sports & Games Equipment/Billiards
Objects/Grooming & Hygiene/Comb
Objects/Clothing & Personal Effects/Jewellery
Objects/Toys & Models
Objects/Clothing & Personal Effects/Smoking Pipe
Objects/Visual Arts/Artists' Tools
Portraits
Objects/Furnishings/Screen
Everyday Life/Toilette
Objects/Food & Drink/Fruit
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Leaf Motifs
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Draperies & Ribbons
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Flower Motifs/Festoons
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Panels, Plaques, Medallions
Place as Subject:
Paris, France
England, United Kingdom
China
Genres:
Still Life
Animal Subjects

Other details

Location of Premises:
rue Saint-Honoré, Paris
Shop Sign:
Singe Violet, Au
Trades (Original Language):
marchand tabletier/Luxury goods trade activities
éventailliste/Luxury goods trade activities
tabletier/Luxury goods trade activities
Services:
raccommode tabletterie/Luxury goods trade activities
Products:
DE
FANTAISIE
OUVRAGES
D
ECAILLE
TABATIERES
TABATIÈRES
ÉCAILLE
D
OR
TABATIERES
TABATIÈRES
CARTON
DE
TABATIERES
TABATIÈRES
D
IVOIRE
TABATIERES
TABATIÈRES
BONBONNIERES
BONBONNIÈRES
D
ETUIS
OR
ÉTUIS
CRAYONS
PORTE
EN
PLIANTES
TABLES
TRICTRACS
BOIS
D
DAMIERS
DE
ET
IVOIRE
AUX
BOITES
BOÎTES
JOUER
POUR
QUINZE
A
BOITES
BOÎTES
REVERSIS
À
A
BOITES
BOÎTES
QUADRILLE
À
FICHES
A
BOURSES
JETONS
À
DAUPHIN
LOTO
A
LIVRET
LOTO
À
CORNETS
DE
TRICTRACS
CORNETS
CRESPES
DE
ANGLAIS
CRESPES
DE
DES
DÉS
ANGLAIS
DES
DÉS
LE
POUR
TRICTRAC
D
JEUX
OIE
DE
JEUX
JUIFS
DE
JEUX
RENARD
D
ECHECS
JEUX
ÉCHECS
D
EBENE
ECHIQUIERS
ET
IVOIRE
ÉBÈNE
ÉCHIQUIERS
DAMES
DE
JEUX
BIRIBI
CUILLERE
CUILLÈRE
ET
LE
POUR
RATEAUX
DE
JEUX
JONCHET
BILLES
BILLIARD
DE
DE
DOMINO
JEUX
ECAILLE
EN
NAVETTES
ÉCAILLE
A
AIGUILLES
TRICOTER
À
DEVIDOIRES
DÉVIDOIRES
EVENTAILS
ÉVENTAILS
A
CHIGNONS
PEIGNES
À
D
ECAILLE
PEIGNES
ÉCAILLE
TOQUES
BAMBOU
CANNES
DE
A
BEURRE
MOULINS
À
D
ENFANTS
JOUETS
A
COUDRE
DES
DÉS
À
A
BOITES
BOÎTES
ROUGE
À
PIPES
D
ECRITOIRES
GARNIES
OR
ÉCRITOIRES
EN
IVOIRE
MINIATURE
PLAQUES
POUR
DE
FANTAISIE
PORTRAITS
DE
GARDEVUES
SPECTACLE
DE
TOILETTE
VERGETTES
A
BARBES
BROSSES
À
AULNES
DEMIES
EN
IVOIRE
A
POUDRE
SOUFFLETS
À
CANNES
D
EXEMPT
CHRIST
D
EBENE
ET
IVOIRE
ÉBENE
D
IRIS
POIDS
BOITES
BOÎTES
DE
RACINE
CITRON
PRESSE
A
CUILLERES
CUILLÈRES
PUNCH
À
A
BOURSES
JETONS
À
ECAILLE
EN
SOUVENIRS
ÉCAILLE
FLACONS
FLAÇONS
D
IVOIRE
JETONS
JETONS
METIERS
MÉTIERS
CORNE
D
DE
ET
IVOIRE
PEIGNES
CANNES
DE
JAIS
ECHIQUIERS
EN
MAROQUIN
ÉCHIQUIERS
D
ECAILLE
ETUIS
ÉCAILLE
ÉTUIS
D
ETUIS
IVOIRE
ÉTUIS
BOUGIES
GARDEVUES
LES
POUR
ARGENT
DE
EN
ET
IVOIRE
OR
PIEDS
ROI
EN
IVOIRE
SOUVENIRS
EN
IVOIRE
TOISE