Jean-Valentin Morel

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Jean-Valentin Morel (1794 in Paris-1860) was a French gold and silversmith noted for the quality of his work.


Jean-Valentin Morel was born in Paris. He was the son of lapidary Valentin Morel, and his mother's family (the Mauzié) were silversmiths.

Morel had a son Prosper whose daughter married Joseph Chaumet, who inherited the family jewelry business in 1885. It now bears his name.


Early career[edit]

Jean-Valentin Morel learned the lapidary craft from his father and apprenticed with goldsmith Adrien Vachette who worked in the production of gold boxes to Napoleon. In 1818, he launched his own business, and registered his mark on 2 August 1827. Jean-Valentin Morel specialized in high-quality inlay and in the production of hard stone cups in a revival of 16th-century style.[1][2] At one time, Morel was forced to close his shop because of health problems and lost a year of work.

Between 1834 and 1840, he was chef d'atelier for Jean-Baptiste Fossin, where he worked in embossing on gold and hard stone.[1] In 1842 he signed a contract with silver and goldsmith Henri Duponchel, establishing a craft shop called Morel & Cie on rue Neuve Saint Augustin in Paris which was highly successful and quickly gained an international reputation. The business produced ornamental vases, jewelry sets, table silverware, a missal binding for Pope Gregory XVI, a table service for the King of Sardinia, works for the future William III of the Netherlands, the future Alexander II of Russia, a snuffbox for Henri, Count of Chambord in 1847...[3]. The shop employed 80 employees and won a gold medal at the French Industrial Exposition of 1844.[1]


The economic climate declined and the partnership was dissolved after disagreements. Duponchel filed a lawsuit in 1848 which prevented Morel from working in Paris, and Morel established a partnership with Jules Fossin and moved his business to London in 1850.[4][5]

In London, Morel was on 7 New Burlington Street - with financial backing from collector Edmond Joly de Bammeville - near the Piccadilly firms of Garrard and Storr & Mortimer, but he found it difficult to establish an English clientele. He gained the support of French exiles from the 1848 Revolution, and was granted a royal warrant by Queen Victoria.[1]

Sèvres, France[edit]

Despite this, he received only modest commissions and by the end of 1852, he was in difficult financial straits. He left London and opened a new workshop in Sèvres, France.[1]

In 1854-1855, he made a lapis lazuli cup for the French patron of the arts Duc de Luynes, an elaborate piece that won the grand medal at the Exposition Universelle (1855).[6].

In 1860, Jean-Valentin Morel died in financial difficulties, after which Duponchel took over exhibition of his work.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Tazza by Jean Valentin Morel (French, 1790-1860), circa 1852-60". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Jean-Valentin Morel and the revival of the Lapidary's art". Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  3. ^ Musée du Louvre. Département des objets d'art (1985). Nouvelles acquisitions du Département des objets d'art (in French). Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux. ISBN 9782711823659.
  4. ^ a b Portrait miniatures & objects of vertu. Sotheby's. 1984.
  5. ^ "PARIS - European Silver from the 17th, 18th AND 19th Centuries" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Commission accomplished". Indianapolis Monthly. May 2015. ISSN 0899-0328.


  • Lucas, Isabelle (January 2005). Jean-Valentin Morel and the revival of the lapidary's art.