French, 1850 - 1924
Caviar server, 1905
H. 13 1/2 x Dia. 5 1/4 in.
At the turn of the century many French silver manufacturers opted for orthodoxy, the known over the unknown, even in an industry overhauled by modern technological advances.
The work of Jules Habert-Dys serves as a distinct exception. One of several notable designers at the Salons between 1900 and 1910, he took organic decoration to heart, investing his eccentric forms with life-like qualities. Insects often served as inspiration for Habert-Dys and, on first glance, this caviar server-creature seems to be inching its way forward. The refinements of 18th century French furniture grandeur are likewise echoed in this opulent presentation designed expressly for a luxury food. Its body recalls the exotic egg forms of Faberge, updated and transformed into a utterly organic form. The enamel decoration (champlevé) at the top is hinged so the cap may be removed. Inside, a metal tube for the caviar sits atop a pin allowing space for crushed ice along the sides. This is the only example of its kind known to exist.