An Exquisite Pour le Mérite c.1770-90; Official Issue Cross
An Exquisite Pour le Mérite c.1770-90; Official Issue Cross - in Gold and enamels, without loop and ribbon. Small chips on the enamel on both sides, crowned code “F” and the writing is almost undamaged, in very fine condition. This type of Pour le Mérite can be assigned to the workshop of court jeweller Daniel Baudesson (1716-1785); (see Dr. Peter Sauerwald, insignia jewellers from Berlin and manufacturers of Pour le Mérite until the year 1818, Abb. 2. In: BDOS (Hersg.), Medals and badges of honour, Nr. 1, Juni 1999, S. 2 ff). Daniel Baudesson (1716-1785) learned his trade from the French goldsmith Samuel Colliveaux (1708-1790) who was at the time a manufacturer of royal insignia; later Daniel Baudesson moved to Paris to finish his training. By 1741, Baudesson had moved back to Berlin, and after the skill of his craft attracted the attention of King Frederick II of Prussia he was appointed the crown jeweller to the Prussian Royal house on March 14th, 1766. The Baudesson-workshop was active up until the end of 18th century and clearly at that time one of the main suppliers of high ranking insignia for the Prussian Royal House. Daniel Baudesson, and later his sons and his followers produced much of the Royal Prussian insignia from the mid-18th century until the the mid-19th century. The goldsmith's technical construction of this cross matches the criteria of the late 18th century manufacturing process of Pour le Mérite. The gold frame of the cross was poured out with light base enamel and then a 1.5mm layer of opaque, mid-blue enamel was applied. The enamel of the cross arms on this particular model is curved/ rounded. The lettering on the cross was later burned in form of gold foil into the cross (not painted). The letters and the crown are laid down in shading, just like in the most cases from the time when Friedrich the Great and his follower Friedrich Wilhelm the Second ruled. Also typical for the Baudesson-pieces from this time are the relatively small, stylish eagles in the corners of the cross arms. Similar pieces in the above literature are described and drawn (Friedhelm Heyde, the old Preussen Medals, Osnabrueck 1979). This particular cross is very similar to one sold by A. Thies (Auction June, 2011), and is one of the few well preserved pieces from that period. Very rare.