Fauré Le Page

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Fauré Le Page (French pronunciation: ​[fɔ.ʁe lə‿paʒ]) is a French firearms manufacturer (arquebusier and fourbisseur) established in Paris in 1717. This renowned house, founded by Louis Pigny remained in the same family until 1913. Throughout its history, the manufacturer was successively called Pigny, Le Page, Le Page Moutier and finally Fauré Le Page in 1865. The brand's unique and luxurious craftsmanship quickly gathered a royal and imperial clientele. The manufacturer’s commitment to the French Revolution together with a wild recognition from famous authors have also enhanced the prestige of the brand. The company which had long made holsters and gun bags now also makes organizers and handbags.

A unique dynasty of "arquebusier" and "fourbisseur"[edit]

Louis Pigny (…. –1749)[edit]

A firearms manufacturer in Paris (1717–43). Opens shop rue Baillif (today rue des Bons-Enfants) in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. He receives two royal warrants from King Louis XV on October 23, 1735 and again in 1756. He passes on his business to Pierre Le Page (or Lepage) who married his niece.[1]

Pierre Le Page (1709–83)[edit]

Supplier of firearms in Paris (1743–79)[2] to the House of Orléans. Born in Normandy, he arrives in Paris in 1723 and starts his training, the following year, at the master gunsmith Mazillier. The same year he starts working for Louis Pigny.

In 1743, Pierre Le Page master of firearms artillery and explosives manufacturer in Paris takes the succession of Louis Pigny whose niece he marries. The firearms manufacturer Pigny becomes Le Page (or Lepage) and moves in 1759 to number 13, rue de Richelieu.

He acquires an excellent reputation with his aristocratic clientele and becomes the first firearms supplier of the Maréchal Maurice de Saxe and then to the House of Orléans. In 1767, Pierre Le Page delivers a gun to King Louis XV. As he is without a successor, he leaves the company to his nephew Jean Le Page.

Jean Le Page (1746–1834)[edit]

Arquebusier et fourbisseur in Paris (1779–1822)[2] of the House of Orleans, of King Louis XVI, of the First Consul Bonaparte and then of Emperor Napoleon I and of King Louis XVIII. Born in Normandy, he arrives in Paris in 1743. Initially destined to become a chemist, he ends up starting his training at Pierre Le Page in 1764. His training lasts four years. In 1779, he succeeds his uncle who gives him his letter of mastery in 1780.

Jean Le Page pursues the family business and enhances the prestige of the brand. The factory, famous for its pistols, its guns, its luxury white arms and its page swords during the First French Empire is in acute competition with the goods of Nicolas-Noël Boutet in Versailles[3] The brand makes many technical innovations which the many warrants bear testimony to: a warrant for a mise à feu platinum using overoxygenated powder in 1810, a warrant of invention for a water-resistant gun in 1817, a warrant for a silex platinum "pouvant être mise à feu à volonté à poudre fulminante" in 1821. These advances are clearly of substance because in 1809, Le Page introduces "une platine à percussion to society in order to encourage the National Industry in front of which he gave a highly successful demonstration by shooting three hundred times without missing once".[4]

As purveyor of arms to kings he brings in an extremely prestigious clientele, Armand Augustin Louis de Caulaincourt, Duke of Vincence, baron Gaspard Gourgaud, the marshall Emmanuel de Grouchy, General Charles de Flahaut, the marchioness Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon, the marshall André Masséna, Duke of Rivoli, baron Daru, General Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, the parfumeur Jean-François Houbigant.

Many pieces bear testimony to this sumptuous period, Jean Le Page "is without doubt the imperial gunsmith most quoted both in literary texts and in arms notices exhibited in museums". A shooting gun for Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (future Philippe Égalité) is presented to the Museum of the Porte de Hal in Brussels. First Consul Bonaparte's sword is exhibited at the Château de Malmaison. The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris also has several beautiful Le Page pieces including: two of Emperor Napoleon I's shooting guns belonging to a series made in 1775 for King Louis XVI and modified around 1806 ; a silex gun that had belonged to King Louis XVIII[5] and a nécessaire box containing a pair of silex guns for children, a gift from King Charles X to the Duke of Bordeaux, future Count of Chambord.[6]

Le Page’s store was at number 13, rue de Richelieu (which became number 950 rue de la Loi during the period of the Revolution), near the Palais Royal which strategically placed it in the midst of the action in 1789 and in 1830. It appears that the family played an active role in preparing for the Take of the Bastille and in the Trois Glorieuses by distributing firearms to the people.

Four out of his six children pursued a career in armoury. The eldest daughter Justine married Louis Perrin,[7] arquebusier in Poitiers from 1813 to 1830 then in Paris, with bronze medals at the Paris Expos in 1834, 1839 and 1844. He used Perrin Le Page as his signature.

André Jean Thomas, the second child, becomes arquebusier and settles down elsewhere at number 24 rue de la Monnaie around 1823. He uses Le Page Fils as his signature.

Jean André Prosper Henri Le Page, the fourth child succeeds his father in 1822. Eléonore Méliade marries the officer Louis Didier Fauré.

Jean André Prosper Henri Le Page (1792 – Vichy 1854)[edit]

Hilt of the épée of the Comte of Paris, produced by Le Page, presented 2 May 1841.

Arquebusier and fourbisseur in Paris (1822–42)[2] of King Louis XVIII, King Charles X et de King Louis Philippe and of the House of Orleans.

He succeeds his father in 1822 and in 1835 is nominated Arquebusier Ordinaire of the King, of the Duke of Orleans and of the Duke of Nemours. He owns a gunnery on the Champs-Élysées, rue des Gourdes which became rue Marbeuf.

While his is director, the international reputation of Le Page expands. He participates in the Paris Exhibitions of 1823, 1827, 1834 and receives a Silver Medal at the 1839 Exhibition. The shop remains at number 13 rue de Richelieu.

The majority of the wares consists of guns and revolvers, often luxuriously crafted, but there was also the percussion gun with a snap clasp whose barrel would swivel to the side when one loaded its breechblock. When this gun was introduced in 1838 to a French military commission, they had six hundred of them manufactured in the royal factory of Saint-Étienne to be used by the Lancers Regiment.

Jean Le Page's participation as an official expert in the trial of Giuseppe Fieschi and in the trial of the landing of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte in Boulogne testifies to Le Page’s hard-earned reputation.

In 1842, he relinquishes the direction of his company to his son-in-law.

He is the author of a text that establishes the genealogy of the Le Page family which is kept in the National Archives of the French National Library in the Fonds Bro de Comères[8]

Gilles, Michel, Louis Le Page – Moutier (Bayeux 1810 – Montfermeil 1887)[edit]

Arquebusier et fourbisseur in Paris (1842–1865).[9]

Louis Moutier marries Louis Didier Fauré's daughter He takes Henri Le Page’s succession in 1842 and signs Le Page-Moutier.

Silver medal at the Paris Expos of 1844 and 1849 and 1st Class medal at the 1855 Expo. He takes part in the London Expos in 1851 –where he receives another medal– and in 1862. In1865, he joins business with his nephew Emile Henry Le Page.

Emile Henry Fauré Le Page (Paris 1840 – Paris 1929)[edit]

Arquebusier et fourbisseur in Paris (1865–1913),[10] Warranted supplier to the Russian Imperial Court.

The old Fauré Le Page store is located at 8, rue de Richelieu in Paris
View of the Royal Palace Hôtel -inaugurated in 1909 -from the place du Théâtre Français

Henri Le Page's nephew, and Louis Didier Fauré and d’Eléonore Méliade’s son. He becomes partner with Louis Michel Moutier in Henri Le Page’s nephew, and Louis Didier Fauré and d’Eléonore Méliade’s son Le Page. He becomes partner with Louis Michel Moutier in 1865 and becomes sole owner in 1868.

He develops his international clientele and becomes warranted supplier to the Russian Imperial Court. Taking part in each of the Universal Expos he accumulates honours in Paris in 1865 (First Class Medal), in 1867 (Silver Medal), in 1878 (Gold Medal), in 1889 (Grand Prix), in Vienna in 1873 (Medal of Progress[10])

He is ordained Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1878 and then Officer of the Légion d’Honneur in 1894.

The store opens at number 8, rue de Richelieu (at the corner with the rue de Montpensier which gives onto the Place du Théâtre Français), at the foot of the Royal Palace Hotel which opens its doors in 1909.

In 1913, the amourer Dumond takes the succession of Fauré Le Page but the brand keeps its name and becomes a company in 1925.[11]

Emile Henry Fauré Le Page dies in 1929 and is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

A revolutionary commitment[edit]

Le Page's staying power is undoubtedly surprising but it is the company's capacity to become the official supplier of each new government which is particularly impressive. The store's location, near the Palais-Royal puts the arquebusier at the heart of the political events during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One imagines how strategically important warehouses full of firearms were during popular uprisings. It appears though that the Le Page family accompanied the revolutionary movement and from the beginning placed itself on the side of the protesters in 1789 and in 1830.

Many texts bear testimony to their patriotic commitment:

"L'Arquebusier Le Page refusing to give arms which he later distributes himself" lithography by Coeuré, 1830

“-M. Lepage, arquebusier, on Tuesday 27th July, deemed it his duty to oppose himself to the pillaging of the antique and precious firearms in his shops; he wanted to undertake himself, along with his employees, a regular distribution of anything of use for the personal defence of his compatriots. During these three days Mr. Lepage incessantly distributed firearms and munitions to everybody; on the morning of the 27th he provided a hundred and twenty pounds of gunpowder. Since Tuesday, there has a continuous flow of people in his shop; firearms were distributed at all hours, his eight-five year old father helped him throughout. Patriotism is clearly hereditary in the Lepage family. During the first revolution, Mr. Lepage, arquebusier, gave up his stores three times to the defenders of freedom; today Mr. Lepage his son, has kept only his national gun and at the moment, along with all his triumphant fellow-citizens, he is under arms in his municipality.”[12]

“-While the Swiss Guard lying in ambush in the houses of rue Saint-Honoré where organizing the rue de Richelieu, one could see the ladies from Lepage go out into the street to distribute lead and other metals to the brave citizens who were fighting uncovered amidst the bullets.”[13]

“There are however two facts one must take note of, because they are clues about popular sentiment. We know that on the 27th and 28th, all the signs of the patented arms dealers were either vandalized or broken. The gunsmith Le Page’s sign, rue de Richelieu, read: Arquebusier of His Royal Highness Monseigneur the Duke of Orleans. The people had crossed out in black His Royal Higness and had neatly respected the name of the Duke of Orleans”.[14]

A brand highly valued by great writers[edit]

Many writers refer to the arquebusier in their work, this confirms the amazing prestige of the brand. Amongst the most famous quotes are:

Before I left Cairo, I made Abdallah a present of double-barrelled gun, of Le Page's manufacture, which he promised to make use of on the first opportunity[15]

François-René de ChateaubriandItineraire de Paris à Jérusalem (Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt and Barbary during the years 1806 and 1807), 1811

I took my bachelor's degree on Le Page's shooting ground in Paris[16]

Honoré de BalzacLa Peau de chagrin (The Magic Skin or The Wild Ass's Skin), 1831

One day George was at Le Page with one of his friends...

The pistols which had wrought this miracle of accuracy had been given by my mother, and came from the workshops of Le Page. They acquired further renown in the Italian campaign...[17]

Alexandre DumasMes Mémoires (My Memoirs) volume 1, 1852

He opened, on the desk in his bedroom, an ebony case containing a very beautiful pair of pistols from Le Page.

Charles HugoLa Bohême Doré, 1859

...I judged that it was not for such miserable souls that Berthold Schwartz had invented gunpowder and Le Page had made pistols

Alexandre DumasPrincess Flora, 1863

Le Page's reputation even makes it to Russia:

Arrived apace, he gives the word

to bring across Lepage's mortal
barrels, and then to drive aside

by two small oaktrees in a ride[18]

More recently:

Le Page is not a gunsmith, he always says he is an "arquebusier

Adrien GoetzLe coiffeur de Chateaubriand (Chateaubriand’s Hairdresser), 2010

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quoted by Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 322.
  2. ^ a b c Quoted by Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 255.
  3. ^ Cadiou p. 59.
  4. ^ Cité par Merill Lindsay, Op. cit., p. 46.
  5. ^ La Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot, N°44, 12 décembre 2003
  6. ^ Le Figaro Magazine, "Biennales Internationale des Antiquaires au Carrousel du Louvre: Des siècles de splendeur et de Faste", p89, 12 septembre 1998
  7. ^ Cité par Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 315.
  8. ^ Jean Le Page's daughter, Claire Le Page married General Louis Bro's son, Olivier Bro de Comères.
  9. ^ Quoted by Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 256.
  10. ^ a b Quoted by Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 167.
  11. ^ Cité par Jean-Jacques Buigné, Op. cit., p. 156.
  12. ^ Cité par Casimir Delavigne, “Op. cit., p. 122 & 123.
  13. ^ Cité dans “Relation historique des journées mémorables des 27,28, 29 Juillet 1830 en l'honneur des Parisiens, p. 104.
  14. ^ Cité par Victor de Nouvion, “Op. cit., p. 224
  15. ^ Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem. English translation by Frederic Shoberl, 1814. [1] Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and Barbary, during the years 1806 and 1807, p. 412
  16. ^ La Peau de chagrin. The wild Ass’ skin and other stories. English translation by Ellen Marriage with a preface by George Saintsbury, Philadelphia 1897, [2], p259
  17. ^ My Memoirs, Alexandre Dumas, vol 1, 1802 to 1831, translated by E. M. Waller with an introduction by Andrew Lang, New York, The Macmillan Company,1907 [3], p71
  18. ^ Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin,Eugene Onegin at lib.ru Charles Johnston's complete translation, Chapter 6, paragraph XXV

Bibliography[edit]

  • Le "Qui est qui" de l'arme en France de 1350 à 1970 tome 1 de Jean-Jacques Buigné - Éditions du Portail. 2001. ISBN 2-86551-044-1.
  • Grands noms de l'armurerie de Yves Louis Cadiou - Éditions du Portail - Le Hussard. 1999. ISBN 2-86551-043-3.
  • L'arme de chasse » de Olivier Achard & Christian Tavard - Editions Proxima. 2000 ISBN 2-84550-009-2.
  • Histoire des Armes à feu du XV au XX siècle » de Merrill Lyndsay - Walker & Co. NY. 1972.
  • Le Cabinet de Diane au Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature de Claude d'Anthenaise - Citadelles & Mazenod. 2007. ISBN 978-2-85088-253-1.
  • Evénemens de Paris des 26,27,28 et 29 juillet 1830 et jours suivans par plusieurs témoins occulaires Casimir Delavigne - Chez J.P. Voglet Imprimeur-Libraire à Bruxelles. 1830.
  • Relation historique des journées mémorables des 27,28, 29 juillet 1830 en l'honneur des Parisiens - H. Langlois Fils Éditeur- Paris. 1830.
  • Histoire du règne de Louis-Philippe Ier. Tome 1 Victor de Nouvion - ChezDidier & Cie-Libraires Éditeurs à Paris. 1858.