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Claude-Isaac Bourgoin (active 1779-1806)

Games counter container 1780

Silver gilt and bone | 4.0 x 3.3 x 3.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 53249

Duchess of Kent's Drawing Room, Frogmore House

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  • A silver gilt cylindrical container with 22 gaming counters in green, yellow, red and white. The lid is struck with the Paris date letter 1780, the charge mark for 1781-9 and a maker's mark of fleur de lis above the letters C/BJ.  The lid is also engraved FORTITUDINE / VINCIT, and the case stamped with a sword between 2 small c's.

    The counters in four colours are associated with the game of Quadrille – a complicated card game for four hands which was all the rage in France in the eighteenth century, particularly among the ladies of the court. By the 1750s a slightly refined version of the game, known as Mediateur, had been developed. As one commentary noted: 'C'est au bon goût de la nation française, et principalement du beau sexe, qu'il faut rapporter la vogue générale où est ce jeu, ainsi que la prédilection qu'il a sur tous les autres' (Les Règles du Médiateur (Paris, 1752)). The game was equally popular in Britain although its complexity meant that it was eventually transformed into a more straightforward game of whist. The counters were used to make bids during the game; their colours relating to the four suits of the cards – green for diamonds, yellow for spades, red for clubs and white for hearts. The counters show small motifs such as birds, hearts and ships, each with a different motto.

    Lid struck with Paris date letter for 1780, charge mark, and maker's mark of Claude-Isaac Bourgoin; lid engraved with crest and motto, FORTITUDE VINCIT.

    The crest and motto on the case relate to the Doyle family, possibly Sir Everard Hastings, Bart, or Doyle Bart.

  • Medium and techniques

    Silver gilt and bone


    4.0 x 3.3 x 3.3 cm (whole object)

  • Place of Production

    Paris [France]