Rare Pair of Gilt and Patinated Bronze Ewers with Matte and Burnished Finishing
Attributed to François Rémond
Paris, Directoire period, circa 1795
The neoclassical ewers, made of finely chased patinated and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, have truncated oval bellies. Their upper portions are decorated with a stylized waterleaf frieze; they have wide, spreading necks. Their slightly curved spouts are adorned with acanthus leaves and ribbon-tied oak leaf garlands that frame river-themed male masks. The handles are in the form of magnificent, lightly draped putti who stand on a double curved acanthus leaf. The lower portion, adorned with a bouquet of finely detailed water leaves, rests on a finely gadrooned ring and a plain pedestal that is decorated with a band of cabochon-centered latticework and a torus of slanting cords alternating with beadwork friezes. The quadrangular molded base is adorned with a leaf and seed frieze.
The rare and unusual design of the present pair of ewers, and the quality of its chasing and gilding, allow it to be attributed to François Rémond, one of the most important Parisian artisans of the final decades of the 18th century. The ewers’ design, as well as their handles in the form of nude standing figures, is reminiscent of a pair of chased gilt bronze and Sèvres porcelain ewers that are part of the Wallace Collection in London (see H. Jacobsen, Gilded Interiors, Parisian Luxury & the Antique, published contemporaneously with the exhibition “Gilded Interiors: French Masterpieces of Gilt Bronze”, The Wallace Collection, London, 2017, p. 64-67). A second pair of ewers, whose handles are in the form of satyrs and mermaids, bearing the signature of Pierre Gouthière and the date 1767, are in the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh (illustrated in C. Vignon and C. Baulez, Pierre Gouthière ciseleur-doreur du roi, The Frick Collection, New York, 2017, p. 164-165, catalogue n° 4). Today only a few identical pairs of ewers are known. Among them, one pair was offered at auction in Paris in the early 1970s (sold Palais Galliera, Couturier-Nicolay, June 10, 1971, lot 145). A second pair, acquired in March 1934, and bearing the inventory marking “B 248” with a Phrygian cap, is part of the Mobilier national in Paris (Inventaire GML-4510-001/002).
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.