The Germain Service is an 18th-century tableware set comprising more than a thousand pieces in cast, raised, and chiselled silver, made in the workshop of French silversmith François-Thomas Germain for the Portuguese royal family. This service is now on permanent exhibition as part of the collection of the National Museum of Ancient Art, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Germain Service
The surtout de table of the Germain Service
Present locationNational Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon

The service was commissioned by Joseph I of Portugal in 1756, just after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, in an attempt to renew the splendor of the royal court (as the earthquake had, in the words of Royal Jewel Keeper António Pinto da Silva, "[reduced] to ashes all treasure and tapestries of the Royal Household, sparing nothing"); there were, however, troubles in the consignment of the service: in 1765, Germain declared bankruptcy and the order was left unfinished (which precipitated the Portuguese Crown to start a legal dispute to reclaim the loss of the goods, to no avail).[1] One of the most expressive elements of a great à la française service was missing: the fourth-course surtout. Still, the Germain Service was considered the First Service of the Crown, to which was added the service confiscated from the Duke of Aveiro in 1759 (the Second Service) — they both made up "all necessary tableware" for court feasts.[1]

The Germain Service was used publicly for the first time during the ceremonies of the Acclamation of Queen Maria I, the daughter of Joseph I, on 13 May 1777.[2]

In 2006, the Germain Service was made part of the Ministry of Culture's list of Portuguese National Treasures.[3]

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Jardim, Maria do Rosário (2012). A Baixela Germain ao serviço da Corte no Reinado de D. Maria I [The Germain Service in the service of the court during the reign of Maria I] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Palácio Nacional da Ajuda - Artigos em Linha (n.º 6).
  2. ^ Virgolino, António Pedro (1777). Auto do Levantamento e Juramento que os Grandes, Títulos Seculares, Ecclesiasticos, e mais Pessoas que se acharão prezentes fizerão à Muito Alta e Muito Poderoza Rainha Fidelíssima, A Senhora Dona Maria Primeira, Nossa Senhora na Coroa destes Reinos e Senhorios de Portugal; sendo exaltada e coroada sobre o Regio Throno juntamente com o Senhor Rey Dom Pedro Terceiro na tarde do dia treze de Mayo, Anno de 1777 [Act of the Accession and Oath that the Grandees, Secular Titled Nobility, Ecclesiastics, and more People in attendance swore to the Most High and Most Powerful, Most Faithful Queen Maria the First, Our Lady in the Crown of these Kingdoms and Dominions of Portugal; as she was exalted and crowned under the Royal Throne together with King Peter the Third, in the afternoon of the thirteenth of May, in the Year 1777] (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo - Códices e documentos de proveniência desconhecida, n.º 180.
  3. ^ "Decreto n.º 19/2006 de 18 de Julho". Decree No. 19/2006 of 18 July 2006 (in Portuguese).