Descomps, Joe

Decorative Silver, Silver-gilt and Amethyst Goblet

A silver, silver-gilt and amethyst goblet by Descomps, 1904, the unusual decorative silver goblet with a Grecian design frieze featuring Dionysus with frolicking Maenads and Satyrs to a stem formed of four storks, their heads supporting the bowl, their wings and legs forming the stem which is embellished with pear-shaped amethysts and their feet the base, decorated with four naturalistic pictorial scenes, the underside of the cup and base embellished with round amethysts and pastes.

Further Details

OriginFrance, Paris
Gemstones and Other Materials56 circular-cut amethysts 16.80cts approx 4 cabochon amethysts 4.00cts approx 4 pear-shape amethysts 35.00cts approx
Condition Reportclear signature and date, Loss of gilding, minor scuffs to metalwork as commensurate with age, overall in good condition., residue from previous cleaning visible around some of the amethysts
SettingSilver signed Joe Descomps 1904 and with French assay mark and maker's mark for Descomps on the bowl and maker's mark for Jean-Baptiste François on the foot
Weight description738 grams
Dimensions17.40cm x 12.00cm 6.90" x 4.70"

Directors Notes

Emanuel Jules Joseph Descomps was a French sculptor and jeweller working in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He worked in various mediums creating objet d’art and jewels in the Art Nouveau style. Whilst little is known of his partnership with Jean-Baptiste François, there is a silver beaker in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that also bears both makers’ marks. This cup was exhibited at the Salon des Artists in 1904 and described in the Review L’Art Decoratif Revue Mensuelle, 1904 as follows:
“La superbe coupe en argent cerclée d’or, de M. Joe Descomps, comprend un fût éclairé d’amethysts sur lequel se dessinent trois cigognes aux ailes replies, dont les têtes renversées soutiennent la coupe, dont les pattes viennent s’agriffer sur le cercle de la base semé d’éclats d’améthystes. Au pourtour de la coupe se déroule une suite de scènes d’un paganisme folâtre, faunes et faunesses dansant, se poursuivant et s’enlaçant dans les jeux de l’amour, buvant, s’étreignant, se portant, ciselés finement dans l’argent pur.”
“The superb gold-rimmed silver cup by Joë Descomps includes an amethyst-lit barrel on which three storks with folded wings, whose heads support the cup, whose legs come to grip the ground, the circular base set with amethysts. At the edge of the cup is a series of scenes of a frenzied paganism, fauns and dancing faunesses, pursuing and embracing in the games of love, drinking, hugging, chiselled finely within the pure silver.”

Literature & Exhibitions

Alastair Duncan “The Paris Salons: Objets d’Arts & Metalware” Photographs assembled from the original salon’s cataloques – see page 221


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Descomps, Joe

Emanuel Jules Joseph Descomps was a French sculptor and jeweller working in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Known as Joë he is best remembered for his Art Nouveau figurines of women which were often modelled in bronze and ivory. 

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