Saturday, April 16, 2016
Collection SS2016: Cuivreries
Françoise de la Perrière created this carré in the early 1960s. Arranged in a starry, circular composition, a group of ornamental horse brasses (the "cuivreries" of the French title) are affixed to "martingales" – leather harness straps, one end of which is designed to pass under the horse’s belly.
The finely-worked designs feature abstract or figurative motifs – windroses, mermaids, a fleur de lys, a heart, a horse, a ferocious dog, scrolling fronds or stylized, geometric leaves and flowers. Worn as amulets, the brasses are thought to date back to the Middle Ages and perhaps even Antiquity. In Britain, they are worn by working or dray horses. Each horse wears a number of brasses: one on the forelock, one behind each ear, three at the shoulders and between six and ten on the martingale. The brasses total up to six or seven pounds in weight. Much prized by collectors, they were sure to catch the expert eye of Émile Hermès, a connoisseur noted for his love of the equestrian world and its curiosities.