John Derussat (I:1700-1758, II:1725-1776, III:1728-1807)
John (I) Derussat (1700?-1758?)
No record of John (I) Derussat or his family has been uncovered before he married Mary Ann, sister of Ayme Vedeau, at Spring Gardens Huguenot church in 1730. In his marriage licence application he declared that he was of the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields and aged above twenty eight, he must therefore have been born around 1700.
He does not appere in the rate books of St Giles until 1744, when he was a householder in St Andrew Street south, where he remained until 1758.
He was a witness to Ayme Vendeau's marriage in 1733 and took his nephew John (III) Andrew Derussat apprentice in 1742, being 'of St Giles, snuff box maker', for a premium of GBP20.
In 1747 his son John (II) Ayme Derussat was apprenticed to his godfather Ayme Vedeau, when John I was again described as a snuff box maker.
His mark, which may never have been entered at the Hall, is most probably the JD in script with device (a thistle?) above, noted by Grimwade (3632), on a box with pull-off cover, circa 1735. The photo of his mark is taken from a cast teaspoon which will be discussed later in relation to John III's mark.
He presumably died or retired in 1758, when he disappers from the rate books, although no will or administration have been found.
from Brian Beet, "Foreign snuffbox makers in eighteenth century London", The Silver Society Journal, 14, 2002.
John (II) Ayme Derussat (1725?-1776?)
In 1747 John (I)'s son John (II) Ayme Derussat was apprenticed to his godfather Ayme Vedeau.
John (II) Derussat never took up the freedomm of the Goldsmith's Company to which his apprenticeship, if completed, would have entitled him nor is he listed in the 1773 Parliamentary Report as having entered a mark. He was still active at that date, so it might seem that all his work was unmarked.
He appeares in the rate books in St Anne's Soho between 1764 and 1769 and had several children baptised there during that period.
He was still alive in 1776 when he was mentioned in the will his cousin wrote that year, possibly living in St Marylebone, but there seems to be no evidence he ever worked as a silversmith or boxmaker.
John (III) Andrew Derussat (1728-1807)
Born circa 1728, probably in Dublin, the son of Andre Derussat, John III was apprenticed in 1742 to his uncle John (I) Derussat in London and presumably continued working for him until the latter's death or departure in 1758.
From 1759 to 1778 the rate books show him in [Little] Earl Street, the former premises of Francis Harrache. He is not listed in the 1773 Parliamentary report as having a mark entered at the Hall although he was still active at that date, so it might seem that all his work was unmarked.
However, the incuse J.D mark is being attributed to him on three counts.
It is found on cast teaspoons similar to those of his predecessor Francis Harrache, his master's mark is also found on cast spoons and he himself is recorded as supplying cast salt spoons to Parker & Wakelin.
This latter firm spent up to GBP200 a year with John III between 1766 and 1772 (earlier workmen's ledgers have not survived) mostly for gold work, the most expensive item being an oval gold snuffbox at GBP23-1-7d. Other gold work included chains, cane heads, toothpick cases, a sponge box and double spectacles as well as 'plated gold buckles'. Among the few items of silver are asparagus tongs and 'a reading point' at 3s.
An insurance policy dated 19 November 1766 for a total of GBP200, described him as 'smallworker in gold at Blackmoors Head in Little Earl Street in 7 Dials, Jo Frame (gent) a tenant in the house'.
He is only recorded as taking one apprentice, William Herbert, in 1768 at a premium of GBP10. These last two details do not suggest that he had made a great financial success of the business.
His will was written on 30 September 1776 anticipating his departure to Liverpool, where he spent the remaining thirty years of his life as Overseer of His Majesty's Works and Barrackmaster of the Port of Liverpool.
It reveals that he had had to borrow GBP250 from his friend and executor Paul Barbot. Despite the fact that John III enjoyed the income from two houses in Dublin (which he inherited from his father) and the income from half his father-in-law's estate, it is clear from later codicils to his will (which was proved on 16 May 1807) that his debt to Paul Barbot would have consumed the bulk of his estate. It was almost certainly Paul Barbot, therefore, who gave an unmarked silver-gilt double snuffbox to the Goldsmiths' Company in his memory. This is engraved on the lid with 'the Good Samaritan' and inscribed 'Jhon Derussat fecit 1756 and bequeathed it to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths 1807'.
In 1758 John III had married Susanna Goulet, daughter of Peter Goulet the jeweller. She, 'wife of John Derussat of St Giles, goldsmith' took Jane Saunderson apprentice in 1759 for a premium of GBP10. Susanna therefore had a craft of her own.
Judging by the importance her husband placed on his collection of beadwork flowers when writing his will, it must have been in making objects such as 'lemon orange woodbine and myrtle trees' in pots with glass covers some standing on blackets, which were obviously quite sophisticated products.
Her father Peter Goulet is also more than passing interest. A member of a family of 'maitres orfevres' from St Maxient in Poitou, he settled first in Bath where he became a freeman in 1730. He moved to London in 1744 and died there in 1765, but while in Bath he took as apprentice one William Rogers, who was later master to both Philip Rundell and John Bridge.
Brian Beet, "Foreign snuffbox makers in eighteenth century London", The Silver Society Journal, 14, 2002.