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Dental Care Fit for French Royalty: Louis XVIII Among Others

On 03 December 2021, by Claire Papon

The more advanced a dentist’s instruments are, the better the care. Some of the oldest ones are collector’s items today.

Dental Care Fit for French Royalty: Louis XVIII Among Others

Pierre-François Grangeret (in collaboration with Biennais and Genu), Louis XVIII’s dental care kit called a "nécessaire à dents", mahogany inlaid with silver and trimmed with velvet, including cut crystal jars, polished steel instruments with mother-of-pearl handles, round case, penknife, gold toothbrush, bearing the arms of France, total weight 290.70 g/10.25 oz, Empire-Restoration period.
Estimate: €30,000/50,000

Collectors will have a choice between five dental care equipment kits from the collection of a practitioner near Paris, some of which were included in the exhibition "L'Art dentaire, croyances, soins, préventions" ("Dental Art, Beliefs, Care, Prevention", Rouen, 2006). The most precious is a mahogany case inlaid with Louis XVIII’s coat of arms in silver. It comes with the original sheathing and all its accessories, including tooth scrapers for plaque removal. It was made by silversmith and cutler Pierre-François Grangeret, who reached the height of fame when he became Napoleon I’s official cutler. Grangeret was so talented that, after the restoration, French Kings Louis XVIII and Charles X kept him on in their service. Our case of dental instruments is said to have been designed and commissioned by Jean-Joseph Dubois-Foucou (1747-1830), a dental surgeon to crowned heads from Louis XVI to Charles X.

A set of dental instruments from a "nécessaire de bouche" that belonged to Empress Marie-Louise is estimated €20,000/30,000. Another, shaped like a book with a Morocco leather binding bearing the mark of Doctor Oudet, Louis-Philippe’s dentist, is expected to fetch €6,000/8,000. It includes many polished steel instruments with ebony or ivory handles. Lastly, a set owned by Grangeret from about 1830-1840, complete with all its tools fitted into the case to the millimeter so that nothing could be lost while traveling, is estimated €8,000/12,000.

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