Important Pair of Gilt and Patinated Bronze and Blue Turquin Marble Five-Light Candelabra, Louis XVI period
Call +33 1 45 61 44 55
Attributed to François Rémond
Made under the supervision of Dominique Daguerre
The groups after Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791)
An Important Pair of Gilt and Patinated Bronze and Blue Turquin Marble Five-Light Candelabra
Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785
Height 99 cm; width 43 cm; depth 29.5 cm
- Collection of Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon (1816-1883) in the Grand Salon of his Parisian mansion in Avenue Montaigne: “Two candelabra with bronzed figures, model known as ‘Garde-à-vous’, on blue turquin marble bases, with five light branches, in gilt bronze, 18,000 francs”.
- By descent, collection of the Princes de Beauvau-Craon in the Château d’Haroué.
Made entirely of finely chased matte and burnished gilt and patinated bronze, each candelabrum is adorned with an allegorical group depicting a young girl sitting on a mound and holding a bow on her right side. She is an allegory of Innocence. The other figure is a winged putto who is also seated and holds his right index finger to his lips; he is an allegory of menacing Love. Behind each figure the light bouquet emerges from leaves that issue from a torch stem with straight and spiral fluting. The stem, to which are attached the five curved light branches in two staggered rows, terminates in a flame motif. The light branches, which are decorated with fluting and spirals, feature molded rings and are adorned with scrolls centered by rosettes. They bear the gadrooned nozzles and drip pans adorned with bead friezes. The candelabra rest on tall quadrangular blue turquin marble bases with rounded fronts that are embellished with fluting and leaves, and feature high reliefs scenes in the manner of the Parisian sculptor Clodion, which depict winged children playing among the clouds.
Peter Hugues and Christian Baulez have confidently attributed the unusual design of this important pair of candelabra to the chaser-gilder François Rémond, based on the design of the light branches, which is characteristic of Remond’s work. Dated 1785 by Hugues and Baulez, specialists of 18th century French decorative arts, they are reminiscent of patinated bronze groups directly inspired by two works by the sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet. A marble group with a winged putto was ordered in 1755, and exhibited at the Salon two years later: “130 A marble figure that depicts a Cupid. It belongs to Madame the Marquise of Pompadour”; the plaster model of Innocence, never executed in marble, was exhibited at the 1761 Salon. These two groups became an immense success among influential Parisian art lovers, and were widely disseminated in bisque porcelain by the Sèvres and Wedgwood porcelain factories.
Today only a small number of similar pairs of candelabra are known. Among them, one pair was sold at the Daguerre sale at Christie’s, London, on March 25, 1791. Two pairs were no doubt delivered by Daguerre when he was in England: one was delivered to the 1st Count of Harewood or to Viscount Lascelles for Harewood House, Yorkshire, the other to Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Count of Bradford for Weston Park, Shropshire. A fourth, formerly in the collection of the Count of Essex in Cassiobury Park, was sold at Christie’s, London, on June 12, 1922, lot 283. A fifth pair, probably purchased in Paris around 1785 by Count Alexander Stroganoff, was offered at auction when the collections of the Stroganoff counts were sold after the Russian Revolution (sold Galerie Lepke, Berlin, May 12-13, 1931, lots 156-157), then at the sale of the Riahi collection in 2000. One further such pair, formerly in the collection of William Beckford, is now on display in the Wallace Collection in London (illustrated in P. Hugues, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, Volume III, n° 251, F140-141).
Was the most important marchand-mercier, that is, merchant of luxury objects, of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career, and it appears that his activity began around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), another well-known marchand-mercier and maker of furniture adorned with porcelain plaques from the Royal Sèvres Manufactory. When Poirier retired, around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the store in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, retaining the business name “La Couronne d’Or”. Retaining his predecessor’s clientele, he considerably developed the business within just a few years and played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts at the time, while employing the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin, and Claude-Charles Saunier, who worked for the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronze casters and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. Having helped bring French luxury goods to their highest point of development, Daguerre, a visionary businessman, settled in England in the early 1780s, going into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who continued to run the Paris store. In London, where he was sponsored by the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, Daguerre played an active role in the furnishing and decoration Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion, calling upon his network of Paris artisans and importing from Paris most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings and art objects, and selling, for just the year 1787, over 14500£ of furnishings. Several English aristocrats, impressed by the marchand-mercier’s talent, also called on him, including Count Spencer for Althorp, where Daguerre worked with architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris he continued, through the intermediary of his associate Lignereux, to work for important collectors, delivering magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne; for example, pieces destined for the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. No doubt much affected by the Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients, he retired in 1793.
François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)
Along with Pierre Gouthière, he was one of the most important Parisian chaser-gilders of the last third of the 18th century. He began his apprenticeship in 1763 and became a master chaser-gilder in 1774. His great talent quickly won him a wealthy clientele, including certain members of the Court. Through the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, François Rémond was involved in furnishing the homes of most of the important collectors of the late 18th century, supplying them with exceptional clock cases, firedogs, and candelabra. These elegant and innovative pieces greatly contributed to his fame.
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