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Style Neo-Renaissance / Ref.15455

Enameled plate by Soyer "Hunter"

Width: 5'' ⅞  15cm
Height: 11'' ⅜  29cm

Signed et dated, on the right interior corner “T. Soyer. 1885”

Polychrome enamel painted with copper

In the sombre countryside, featuring a castle, perched on a rocky spur, a man practices falconry. His crossbow hangs off his left shoulder, he holds a falcon in his hand, protected by a leather glove. The falcon is styled with a chaperon, decorated with leather, that one usually puts on raptors before hunting in order to calm them down. The raptor's legs are tied to leather straps, to prevent him from flying away. This plaque appears to celebrate the rebirth of hunting, which took place during the middle of the 19th century. The man slightly leans towards the right. He is dressed according to the French fashion of the 16th century. His pourpoint features large lace slits called “crevées” across the chest. The lively colours, the red on his toque hat, the blue on his sleeves and the green on the bird's chaperon, considerably contrast with the sombre atmosphere of the composition, allowing for emphasis on several elements of his costume.
During the 19th century, the great interest in past eras, led to the rediscovery of the art of enamel. In 1840 we saw the reappearance of painted enamels, one of the most famous enamel painters being Paul Soyer . After the war of 1870, Soyer set up his own business, and five years later, it was cited as one of the best workshops. However, in his workshop, he did receive help from other artists in creating new compositions. This is why his son, Théopile, focused on the Beaux-Arts. Born in 1853, his son learnt his skills at the Yvon and Levasseur workshop and took part in the 1870 Salon Exhibition with an enamel reproduction of the painting by the elder Barbier: Apollon killing the Python snake. Adopting the “troubadour” style, he made items featuring falconry, halberdiers, or hunters: our plaque of the hunter seems to be a part of this series. The Municipal Museum of Limoges acquired a Halberdier very similar to the item that we are presenting here, in terms of composition, costume, colours and the kind of subject portrayed.