A sculptor, goldsmith, jeweller and pewterer, Jules Brateau won a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1889, where this ewer and its tray made of cast and chased pewter was regarded as one of the best pieces in the exhibition. The overall harmony, the tasteful ornamentation, and the well-balanced reliefs were praised. Inspired by the French Renaissance, the model had been created in 1887-1889. On the body of the ewer, Pallas Athena is surrounded by Poetry and Science; below the spout, Inspiration is holding an urn from which the eternal spring of beauty gushes forth; the figure on the handle represents Truth. In the centre of the tray, Glory is holding a palm branch and a trumpet and four female figures symbolise the main arts: painting, sculpture, architecture and music. Great names in the humanities and the arts are inscribed on banners held by cupids.
Made a knight of the Legion of Honour in 1894, and a member of the jury at the Universal Exhibition of 1900, Jules Brateau was acclaimed by his contemporaries as the master who had given new impetus to the art of pewter in France.