"IGR&C" (Jean George Rémond & Compagnie à Genève) / attributed to Jean-Abraham Lissignol, 94 x 65 x 17 mm, 151 g, circa 1810
An exquisite gold enamel snuff box "Hercules leading Alcestis from the underworld back to her husband Admetus"
Case: 18K gold, maker's punch mark "IGR&C" (Jean George Rémond & Compagnie à Genève).
Rectangular case with canted corners, lid with polychrome enamel miniature in a gold Sablé frame decorated with foliage scrolls and two allegorical figures holding cornucopiae, one on each side. The painting shows Heracles rescuing Alcestis from Hades and bringing her back to her husband Admetos. Sides and base are decorated with enamel panels in white frames, with honeycomb pattern and translucent cobalt blue enamel and black borders on translucent, Moiré pattern dove grey ground. Black, white and blue Champlevé enamel embellish the canted corners.
The motif of the painting is based on a tragedy by Euripides dating from 438 BC: Admetos, husband of Alcestis, had insulted the goddess Artemis and was sentenced to death. Apollo convinced the Fates to allow someone else to die for Admetos and Alcestis stepped forward to give her life for that of her husband. Heracles, however, rescued Alcestis from Hades and in appreciation of their love for each other, the couple was allowed to live.
Jean George Rémond was a goldsmith in Geneva and is recorded to have worked from 1783 until 1815 or 1820. He first used his masters mark in 1783, when he became a master on December 22. He presumably formed the company Georges Rémond & Cie. seven years later; around 1800 the company was renamed Rémond, Mercier, Lamy & Cie. During the French occupation of Switzerland by Napoleon Rémond used his initials within a lozenge as his mark, which was in accordance with the stipulations of the newly formed Département du Léman. A similar design without the lozenge was used by the company Lamy, Rémond, Mercier, Daniel Berton from 1815 to 1829. In 1820 a new company Mercier, Blondel and Berton was established, so it is assumed that Rémond retired or died around that time. The new company only lasted for another seven years though and ceased to operate on April 14, 1827.
Even though the enamel painting is not signed, it is fairly obviously Lissignol’s work. The extremely fine strokes of the brush - made by a single hair - in combination with the pointillistic technique are typical for his work.
Jean-Abraham Lissignol was born in Geneva in 1749. He was the pupil and partner of Jean-Marc Roux and later was apprenticed in Paris. He was one of the most important enamel miniature painters and was specialised on snuffboxes and watch cases. He worked for Jaquet-Droz, Leschot, Rochat, John Rich and Jean-Georges Rémond & Company He died in Plainpalais in 1819.
Case: very good