Tripodal coffee pot

The Dinant coffee pot acquired by the Pierre François Tilmon Fund is special because it comes from the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Leffe and is the only known work to bear the Abbey’s coat of arms. This is an even more remarkable aspect, given that there are relatively few pieces of Dinant silver, which bear witness to the unique Belgian craftsmanship of the 18th century.

The coat of arms on the coffee pot, executed in repoussé, shows that the work was executed especially for the Abbey of Notre-Dame. The Abbey de Leffe owned other pieces of silver for daily use, but they were either destroyed or dispersed during the French Revolution.

Abbott Norbert Boulvin (1763-1780) probably commissioned this coffee pot in 1774 from the Dinant silversmith, Pierre-Jean-Joseph Adam (1710-1778), whose hallmark is composed of his initials - PI/A – with a point in the middle. The presence of this hallmark is not surprising: Dinant did not have a sufficiently large number of silversmiths to form their own guild with independent quality control . Hallmarking works of silver was therefore limited to giving a work just the silversmith’s own mark.

The coffee pot is on three legs, each of which ends in a deer’s hoof, attached to the pyriform body of the pot by a swirl of silver and a small Rococo cartouche. The curved lines around the pot introduce a slight movement that develops into winding decoration and cartouches, one of which serves as the base of the spout. This movement continues in the bell-shaped lid, which ends in a fretel of seeds that emerge from a cone of leaves.

Stylistically speaking, the work bears some resemblance to the coffee pots made by workshops in the Southern Netherlands during the 1770s. The body of the pot, its spout and lid, decorated with cartouches and rocaille, convey a certain dynamic that contributes to the overall harmony of the work.

The Pierre François Tilmon Fund, which works to preserve and promote the heritage of Namur, is especially proud of this acquisition. The general public can see this exceptional coffee pot and other works at the Hôtel de Groesbeeck-de Croix - Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Namur, once the renovation of the museum is completed.

Material / technique: 
Silver and wood
H: 32,5 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired by the Pierre François Tilmon Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Hôtel de Groesbeeck-de Croix – Museum for Decorative Arts, Namur