Now we are forced to go back down the gallery to the door by which we entered, in order to take the French products together. The visitor has already noticed the large and beautiful mirror in front of the entrance, which is made and displayed by the Montluçon manufactures.
As you walk up the large north gallery, you will see the fabrics of the French manufacturers. The aisles along the wall contain the famous silks and shawls of Paris, Lyon and Saint-Etienne. In the middle are the gold, silver and silk embroideries of Paris. To the left and closest to the balustrade are the windows of trimmings and confections from Paris, fabrics from Valenciennes, Cambrai, Amiens, Saint-Quentin, Sainte-Marie, Nîmes, Mulhouse and Rouen, embroideries from Paris, Nancy and Tarare, artificial fabrics and feathers from Paris, tapestries and the magnificent collection of lace. At the end of these aisles are the grey dyed silks, as well as the silkworms. In the middle of the main gallery is the entrance to the grand staircase. To the right of the entrance is a lodge containing the Aubusson carpets and tapestries. The pavilion on the staircase is decorated with tapestries and magnificent carpets from the factories of Messrs Réquillart, Laroque and Jacquemont, from M. Braquéné, and from M. Sallandrouze of Marseille. Among the latter, a carpet depicting the port of Marseilles stands out. A splendid Baccarat crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling of the hallway. The large middle crossing is decorated with a stained glass window representing the City of Paris distributing laurel wreaths.
The staircase is flanked, on the right and left, by two corridors; the one on the right leads to the offices of the Imperial commission; in the one on the left, leading to the Emperor's waiting room, one sees an enormous tinned glass of Saint-Gobin, 5 metres high and 3 m. 15 c. wide, and in the other, a glass of the same size. 15 c. wide, and in a magnificent gilded wooden frame.
As you enter the gallery, you will see on the left, near the door, the Empress's salon and boudoir.
The first salon, as well as the furniture which decorates it, is decorated with very elegant tapestries embroidered by the demoiselles de Saint-Cyr under the direction of Mme de Maintenon.
Mme de Maintenon; these tapestries were sold during the first revolution, and bought back in 1866 by Messrs Mégard and Duval, upholsterers to H.M. the Emperor. On the table, on the left hand side, one will notice a paperweight made of Russian malachite, which was used by Napoleon I on St Helena.
Near the door is a very elegant little carriage, decorated with paintings, which was given to Her Majesty the Empress on her visit to London by Prince Albert, and which is used by Her Majesty to visit the Exhibition. The ceiling of the salon is painted on canvas. The small boudoir at the back is upholstered in pink and chocolate silk; the beautiful mirror which adorns the fireplace is an old Venetian mirror; in front of it, one will notice a small masterpiece in sculpted wood, made by a young artist, M. Boriot. The two small pieces of furniture, whose desk is decorated with lapis, are from the time of the Empire; the small Andalusian smuggler on the jardinière, a souvenir of His Majesty's native country. The beautiful mirror and the two solid silver candelabras are from Hunt and Roskell of London.
On leaving these rooms, we will advance to the balustrade of the gallery, to examine the French jewellery.
The first showcases are devoted to fake jewellery, and to that made of bronze and steel. First of all, we notice the showcase of M. Dufour, containing jewellery for mourning, in jet, among other things a whole fireplace set. Another showcase, that of Mr. Henry, contains, along with polished steel objects, a magnificent steel-handled sword with the imperial cipher; it was ordered by the French Emperor. Then come candy boxes of all kinds, followed by the jewellery of M. Masson, among which a ruby glass and gilt bronze cup, with the portraits of the Emperor and Empress, attracts your attention.
your attention. The following showcases contain mother-of-pearl objects and flasks: those of Mr. Quétard and Mr. Cornillon are particularly noteworthy. Mr. Thirion and Mr. Guidon exhibit very beautiful objects with fine mosaics, cameos and paintings. In Mr. Marguerie's showcase, one will notice, among other things, a gilded bronze chest, pierced with a pink silk lining and decorated with paintings representing various monuments of Paris, among others the Palais de l'Industrie. Here is Mr. Dotin's display case, with a large number of cups, bowls, vases and flasks, with enamelled paintings on gold, silver, platinum and copper: we can see a magnificent service with eighteen cups (1,800 fr.), a bowl enamelled on silver (800 fr.). The following display cabinets are filled with jasper and lapis enamelled objects. Then there is M. Pligne with an enormous silver bouquet, M. Greliche's displaying ivory flowers with gilded and enamelled copper leaves and stems, M. Faasse with his gilded and matte jewellery; finally, a whole series of showcases filled with imitation pearls, among which those of M. Constant-Valès are particularly noteworthy, with an enormous bouquet of pearls of all colours.
Now comes the real jewellery and goldsmiths' shops. The first showcase belongs to M. Jarry aîné: we notice a beautiful table in lapis mosaic, mounted on solid silver and gilded silver (35,000 fr.); a silver and gold plated sword, with lapis handle (1,800 fr.); a solid silver and gold plated cigar holder, surmounted by a group of Chimeras (6,000 fr. ); a small silver and chased chest, surmounted by the figure of Tasso, and adorned with high reliefs representing scenes from the Delivered Jerusalem (1,200 fr); a paperweight representing a lion struggling with a snake: the lion is silver, the snake silver and enamelled in green, while the tree trunk around which it is wound, is composed of a single piece of coral, one of the largest seen so far; the price of this jewel is 2,000 fr.
The next showcase belongs to Messrs. Robert and Barri: it contains a large number of magnificent cameos, shells, fine stones, coral, malachite, lava, mosaics from Rome and Florence. Among the following showcases are those of M. Roucou with jewellery and damascene weapons, M. Ray and M. Gentilhomme with gold chains and bracelets, M. Payen with gold filigree jewellery, M. d'Afrique with ornaments and gold jewellery with fine stones, including a superb headdress called Berthe, in silver filigree; M. Halley with his collection of decorations. In Mr. Bégard's showcase, we notice a silver statuette weighing 800 grams and representing Gaston de Foix, commander of the Italian army in 1512. Mr. Bruneau exhibits a fine collection of silver and vermeil cups, travel kits, snuffboxes and flasks.
Mr. Mellerio's showcase offers many remarkable things: we can see, among others, a diamond set filled with brioleltes that tremble and shake at the slightest movement, a set of black pearls and diamonds of a very high price, a very elegant gold and diamond watch, a rosette, a large diamond brooch, but above all two pieces, a small brooch representing a Madonna and a bouquet of field flowers in fine stones of the most varied colours. After him comes Mr. Lecointre with a host of magnificent objects; above all, one must see a splendid headdress and bodice plate; the headdress is made of lilac leaves, the bodice is composed of water leaves and pearls. We also notice a small silver cup and a silver box, sacred vases of very good shape; two mass books, one in gold, the other in silver; a pair of niello scissors and several pretty brooches.
Mr. Petiteau exhibits mainly coral and garnet jewellery mounted with silver. In the showcase of Mr. Marrel and Mr. Jarry, one will notice, among others, a set of diamonds on a light blue background, another with turquoise and diamonds, opals, pearls, a bracelet with an opal of enormous value, a set of rubies and diamonds, a very rich flask, etc. In the next showcase, belonging to Mr. Lemoine, one can admire a sapphire brooch with diamonds, a corsage set made entirely of diamonds of a new shape: a shower of white sparks escapes from the bosom of the glittering and flirtatious mobile flowers; the setting disappears under the brilliant facets; next to this set, one can see another made of (luxia) and yet another made of emeralds and diamonds; finally, there are two bracelets made of very precious stones.
The showcase of Messrs. Marret and Beaugrand is one of those which deserve our attention the most. It is worth noting a garland of cornflowers, in which there is not a single very large stone and which nevertheless cost 35,000 fr.; a necklace of pearls and diamonds, another of rubies and pearls, and yet another of Scottish pearls, all the same and white; a rosary of pearls, finished with an enamelled Byzantine cross; two hand mirrors in silver and ivory; a cigar case supported by four negroes (6,000 fr. ); a superb bracelet of pearls of all colours; and a mass book made of a single piece of jasper into which a garnet cross has been inlaid.
Here is now the showcase of Mr. Rouvenat. One notices a sword inlaid with lapis, emeralds, garnets and diamonds: all these stones run on enamelled backgrounds. Then there is an enormous and magnificent diamond ornament; the middle of the flowers that make it up is mounted in gold, the corollas are in silver, the stamens in ruby. We must also mention a very rich sword in silver and gold, with a brilliant figure on a smalt-coloured enamel background; a bracelet with a lizard; a pretty diamond brooch where an eagle, with sparkling wings, escapes from a nest of pink pearls; finally, a monstrance, inlaid with rubies, emeralds and diamonds: on it we see the four Evangelists, the spotless Lamb and Faith.
After this showcase, it is that of Mr. Morel in Sèvres. He exhibits the facsimile of a cup commissioned by the Duke of Luynes. It represents Perseus killing the monster to deliver Andromeda. The cup and the rock of the original, which can be seen in the nave, are made of a block of oriental jasper weighing 80 pounds; the figures and the ornaments of the mounting are of gold, 22 carats, repoussé and enamelled; nothing is made by casting. The price of this masterpiece is 70,000 fr. In the same showcase is a magnificent chatelaine inlaid with fine stones (6,000 fr.) - Mr. Thénard's showcase, one of the last of the real jewellery, contains beautiful gold, silver and bronze seals.
The following showcases are mostly filled with fake stone jewellery. One can distinguish especially those of Messrs Savary and Mosbach, of Messrs Bouillette and Hyvelin, of M. Masson; then comes that of M. Garandy of Marseilles with raw and worked corals, that of M. Gourdin, in Paris, with coral jewels; in this last one, one can see, underneath, a coral rock fished in the mouths of Bonifacio, at the place where the Semillante perished. We then arrive at the showcases of the lapidaries. Then comes the showcase of Messrs Chiquet and Taverni, where we notice, among various gold and silver objects, a crystal box inlaid with silver arabesques. Messrs Robineau and Sorin frères exhibit medals of sanctity, crosses, gold, silver and copper reliquaries. The aisle is completed by display cases containing objects of doubled gold and polished steel.
©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855