38cm daubière, “Henry VI”



I had a really clever reason for naming this daubière after Henry VI, but really, when it comes down to it, they just look so much alike.

38cm daubière, “Henry VI”

  • Type: Tin-lined daubière in smooth finish with brass handles fastened with three copper rivets; cap-style lid with brass handle fastened with two copper rivets on each bracket
  • French description: Daubière étamée et martelée avec poignées en laiton muni de trois rivets en cuivre; couvercle emboîtant avec poignée en laiton avec deux rivets en cuivre
  • Dimensions: 38cm long by 21cm wide by 23cm high (15 inches by 9.2 inches by 8.7 inches) without lid
  • Thickness: 1.8mm at rim
  • Weight: 6434g (14.2 lbs) without lid, 8182g (18 lbs) with lid
  • Stampings: “38” on body and lid; “0” on body
  • Maker and age estimate: Unknown; 1880–1920
  • Source: Etsy (France)

At 38 centimeters in length, this daubière is halfway between the conventional French sizes of 36cm and 40cm, and so I named it for a man who was also halfway between two worlds: Henry VI of England, king of both France and England in fits and starts from 1422 to 1471. There are a few sizes of cookware that seem to have fallen out of common usage and a daubière of 38 centimeters is one of them. I suspect this makes it a rather old pan but there are no markings to help me date it.

It is a beautiful piece; I am certain that it started life with more pronounced hammering but restorations can soften exterior surfaces and it now has a placid finish. I find its smooth flanks lovely.

38cm daubière, “Henry VI”


Its brass handles have three copper rivets that are nicely rounded and low profile.

38cm daubière, “Henry VI”


The interior rivets are flush-finished, which is a nice touch.

38cm daubière, “Henry VI”


It has lovely dovetailed seams as well.

38cm daubière, “Henry VI”


In particular, note the symmetry of the spacing of the crenellations on the base. At first I thought this meant it had been machine cut (and therefore made towards the late 19th century or early 20th century), but I do see some irregularities in the shape of individual crenellations that would mean they were hand-cut. I still think that the irregular size makes this an early piece, and hand-cut dovetails would support that, but I’m still not certain.

There is one element of this pan that has sparked a bit of a mystery: the zero stamp. It is not a size stamp, as the pan is 38cm and already has a “38” stamped on it. As it happens, I have another daubière, “Henry VIII,” with a zero stamp in the very same location. (That one is 40cm, so the zero could be part of a sizing stamp.) Look at them side by side below, Henry VI on the left, Henry VIII on the right. Could my two Henrys have been marked for the same owner? I acquired them from different sources so it seems unlikely, but how else could two pieces like this have the same unusual number stamp?

I shall continue to investigate this!

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