SILVER PIQUE WORK – AN INTRODUCTION

Silver Pique Work

Silver pique work is a method of decorating tortoiseshell using gold or silver.

This technique is essentially a French one and its popularity was raised by Andre Charles Boulle.  It flourished in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  

It is made by pressing fine pieces of silver or gold into tortoishell which has been warmed to make it more maleable.

Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Huguenots looked to flee persecution.  A large number of them left France and migrated to England.  They put their high levels of skill to good use and it was not long until their influence or work can be found in English works of art.  Silver pique work is a good example of this skill.

Silver pique work style chronology

Louis XVI (1774-1792) – star motif popular

Louis XV (1715-1774) – allegorical, pastoral and genre scenes dominate, also c scrolls and lattice patterns

Louis XIV (1648-1715) – classical motifs, cornucopias, fleurs de lis, insects, sun king etc

Silver pique work glossary

Pique Pose – strips of metal applied into tortoiseshell

Pique Point – pin points of metal applied into the tortoiseshell

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silver pique
Tortoiseshell and piqué work by Wilhelm Krüger (German, 1680–1756)
Tortoiseshell, gold piqué, mother-of-pearl, Italian circa 1750
Tortoiseshell, gold piqué, mother-of-pearl, Italian circa 1750

Silver Pique Work

This technique is essentially a French one and its popularity was raised by Andre Charles Boulle.  It flourished in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  

It is made by pressing fine pieces of silver or gold into tortoishell which has been warmed to make it more maleable.

Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Huguenots looked to flee persecution.  A large number of them left France and migrated to England.  They put their high levels of skill to good use and it was not long until their influence or work can be found in English works of art.  Silver pique work is a good example of this skill.

Silver pique work style chronology

Louis XVI (1774-1792) – star motif popular

Louis XV (1715-1774) – allegorical, pastoral and genre scenes dominate, also c scrolls and lattice patterns

Louis XIV (1648-1715) – classical motifs, cornucopias, fleurs de lis, insects, sun king etc

Silver pique work glossary

Pique Pose – strips of metal applied into tortoiseshell

Pique Point – pin points of metal applied into the tortoiseshell

[Sassy_Social_Share] 

silver pique
Tortoiseshell and piqué work by Wilhelm Krüger (German, 1680–1756)
Tortoiseshell, gold piqué, mother-of-pearl, Italian circa 1750
Tortoiseshell, gold piqué, mother-of-pearl, Italian circa 1750

FREE SILVER PIQUE VALUATIONS

Silver Pique Valuations

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We can help you sell your silver pique work and get the best possible price for it.  We sell both through auction and private sales, using the route which will earn you the most money.

For more information please look at our Services page.

Why use Mark Littler

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  • We handle everything on your behalf from valuation to sale.
  • We’re independent, so offer unbiased and impartial advice.

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Are you looking for a valuation? If so then we can help.

Email details about your item to [email protected] or call us on 01477 410893

You can also click to send us a text

Alternatively, use the form to send us information about your item and we will reply with a valuation.

Online Valuation Form