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Work Chest for Louis XIV’s gems

Department of Decorative Arts: 17th century

Chest for Louis XIV’s gems

© Musée du Louvre / Objets d'Art

Decorative Arts
17th century

Michèle Bimbenet-Privat et Emmanuel Plé

Until recently thought to have belonged to Anne of Austria, queen, then regent of France (1601–1666), this gold chest has long been regarded as one of the masterpieces of the Department of Decorative Arts. It is also one of the key pieces from the former royal collections still in existence. It is mentioned in royal inventories from 1718, then at the Tuileries Palace until 1833. It later entered the Musée des Souverains, where it was listed as the “jewelry casket of Queen Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII.” This hypothesis as to its provenance has never been proven, and the openwork gold decoration suggests a significantly later dating. Recently discovered archive material has now established that the chest was delivered to Louis XIV in spring 1676 “to lock up all the finery,” (the gems with which the king’s court costumes were studded). Ordered from the great jeweler Jean Pittan, the chest was made by his colleague Jacob Blanck, a little-known Protestant goldsmith. Following this discovery, the technical and scientific study of the chest carried out by the Center for the Research and Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF) in spring 2013 confirmed this historical data, considerably enhancing our knowledge of the virtuosity of the Parisian gold- and silversmiths of this time.


- Bimbenet-Privat, Michèle, and Emmanuel Plé,  “Le coffre des pierreries de Louis XIV (1675)”, La Revue des musées de France, Revue du Louvre, 2014-3, p. 63-72.

- Bimbenet-Privat, Michèle. Les Orfèvres et l'orfèvrerie de Paris au XVIIe siècle. Volume 2. Les Œuvres, Paris-Musées, Paris, 2002, p. 70-73.

- Un temps d'exubérance: les arts décoratifs sous Louis XIII et Anne d'Autriche, catalogue d'exposition, Editions de la Réunion des Musées nationaux, Paris, 2002, p. 267-269.


Technical description

  • Paris (mid-17th century)

    Chest for Louis XIV’s gems

  • Gold, wood frame covered with blue silk

    H. 25.20 cm; W. 47.50 cm; D. 36.20 cm

  • MS 159

  • Decorative Arts

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