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Époques: Empire

  • Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze “Noble Savage” Clock

    The African Nursemaid

    APF_Pendule163_04

    Case Attributed to Croutelle the Elder

    Height38.5 cm Width23 cm Depth11 cm

    The round enamel dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals, by means of two Breguet-type hands in blued steel. It is housed in a finely chased case of gilt bronze that represents a bundle of sugar canes that is tied with a cord. It is supported on the head of a fine female figure with enamel eyes, who is wearing a loincloth and a feather headdress. Around her neck is slung a bark cradle that holds a newborn baby. The figure stands upon an oval terrace supported by a stepped base, which is adorned with an applied reed and shell motif. The base is raised upon four toupie feet.

    The black man as “noble savage” was not widely used as a decorative theme in French and European horology until the late 18th century. The first “au nègre “ or “au sauvage” clocks began to appear in the final décades of the 18th century and the early years of the 19th century. They reflect a philosophical movement that is expressed in such literary and historical works as Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (published in 1787, it spoke of innocence), Atala by Chateaubriand (based on the Christian ideal), and Daniel Defoe’s masterpiece Robinson Crusoe (published in 1719).

    The present clock, one of the most sought-after models, represents a young black nursemaid carrying a newborn baby. Its design was inspired by an 1807 drawing by the bronze caster Croutelle the elder, which is today in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, (see D. and C. Fléchon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, printemps 1992, n° 63, p. 32, fig. 4).

     

    Very few similar clocks are known today. Among them, one example, whose dial is signed “Herbin à Paris”, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 381, fig. 5.15.27 (see also Giacomo and Aurélie Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 314). A second example is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 345, fig. F.  A third clock, whose dial is signed “Cary à Lyon”, is in the Royal Spanish Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 119, catalogue n° 99). One further such clock is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 59).

    Galle
    Claude Galle (1759-1815)

    Important Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte Finishing and Green Marble

    Vase with Winged Naiads

    Vase_pendule_004-05_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Claude Galle

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1805

    Height60.5 cm Width34 cm

    The rotating dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral minutes. It is fitted in a finely chased, matte gilt case in the form of a vase. The clock is surmounted by an eagle holding a snake in its claws. The handles are formed by two superb winged female figures whose bodies terminate in scrolling leaves; they hold flaming urns that are adorned with gadrooning. The vase is adorned with vine leaves, swans facing each other and drinking from a bowl, medallions centered by groups of child musicians, one of whom is holding music, which are surmounted by a lion’s mask with snakes. The child musicians are surrounded by motifs of addorsed griffons, palmettes, and dancing putti holding a draperies that terminate in garlands of flowers and leaves on which a birds perch. The lower portion is adorned with a bouquet of large leaves and stylized palmettes. The tapering pedestal is decorated with a gadrooned knop and a torus of laurel leaves and seeds. The clock is raised on a quadrangular base with a cavetto frieze in green marble.

    The composition of this vase-form clock was inspired by neoclassical models of the second half of the 18th century. One of the most elaborate horological models of the Napoleonic period, during that time it was also produced as an ornamental vase. One such pair of vases may be seen in A. Kuchumov, Pavlovsk, Palace & Park, Leningrad, 1975, p. 52-53.

     

    Among the few similar examples known to exist, one clock whose dial is signed “Thonissen à Paris” is in the Württembergisches Landesmuseum in Stuttgart (illustrated in R. Mühe and H. Vogel, Horloges anciennes, Fribourg, 1978, p. 116, fig. 154). A second example, once part of the collection of Empress Eugenie, was formerly in the Perez de Olaguer-Feliu collection in Barcelona (see Luis Monreal y Tejada, Relojes antiguos (1500-1850), Coleccion F. Perez de Olaguer-Feliu, Barcelona, 1955, plate 71, catalogue n° 90). A third example is in the Royal Spanish Collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 207, n° 189). Two further similar clocks, one with a round dial and the other with a cadrans tournants dial, are in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 32-33).

    Claude Galle (1759 - 1815)

    One of the foremost bronziers and fondeur-ciseleurs of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods, Claude Galle was born at Villepreux near Versailles. He served his apprenticeship in Paris under the fondeur Pierre Foy, and in 1784 married Foy’s daughter. In 1786 he became a maitre-fondeur. After the death of  his father-in-law in 1788, Galle took over his workshop, soon turning it into one the finest, and employing approximately 400 craftsmen. Galle moved to Quai de la Monnaie (later Quai de l’Unité), and then in 1805 to 60 Rue Vivienne.

    The Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, under the direction of sculptor Jean Hauré from 1786-88, entrusted him with many commissions. Galle collaborated with many excellent artisans, including Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and furnished the majority of the furnishing bronzes for the Château de Fontainebleau during the Empire. He received many other Imperial commissions, among them light fittings, figural clock cases, and vases for the palaces of Saint-Cloud, the Trianons, the Tuileries, Compiègne, and Rambouillet. He supplied several Italian palaces, such as Monte Cavallo, Rome and Stupinigi near Turin.

    In spite of his success, and due in part to his generous and lavish lifestyle, as well as to the failure of certain of his clients (such as the Prince Joseph Bonaparte) to pay what they owed, Galle often found himself in financial difficulty. Galle’s business was continued by his son after his death by his son, Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846). Today his work may be found in the world’s most important museums and collections, those mentioned above, as well as the Musée National du Château de Malmaison, the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the Museo de Reloges at Jerez de la Frontera, the Residenz in Munich, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.



    Denière
    Jean-François Denière (1774-1866)

    A Rare Cartel in the Form of a Picture in Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing, Molded, Sculpted, and Gilt Wood or Stucco and Green Marble

    Pendule450-03_BD_MAIL

    Dial signed by the bronze-caster Denière

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Height43.2 cm Width55.3 cm Depth14 cm

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Denière Fabt de Bronzes à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the outermost minutes. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a picture-form case; it is made entirely of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing on a green marble panel. The dial is framed by a frieze of ivy leaves and is flanked by two terms on tapering pedestals that are surmounted by male busts inspired by classical theatre masks, whose faces are adorned with thyrsi embellished with eagles with outstretched wings, around which are entwined leafy garlands. The two terms are linked by a flower garland that is decorated with zigzag bracelets. In the lower portion, they rest on an entablature decorated with five applied stars surmounted by an allegorical figure representing the seated figure of History or Fame, who is dressed in classical robes and is writing on tablet with a stylus. The whole is set on a rectangular green marble panel that is surrounded by a quadrangular wood or stucco frame that is molded, sculpted, and gilt, with a frieze of alternating palmettes and flowers, with concave molding highlighted by a waterleaf frieze.

    Wall cartels were particularly appreciated throughout the 18th century. They became relatively rare during the Empire period, since clocks featuring subjects inspired by classical Roman mythology were popular due to the policies of Emperor Napoleon, who wanted to recreate the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Thus, during the first two decades of the 19th century, while all cartels were not made on commission, most models were produced in small numbers or were one-of-a kind pieces, as is certainly the case for the present rare cartel. Today, among the comparable models from the same period, one gilt bronze example whose lyre-form design surmounted by a bust of Apollo is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 379. Lepaute delivered a second example in the form of a shield in 1810 to the Topographic Cabinet of the Grand Trianon (see D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le Grand Trianon, Meubles et objets d’art, Editions de Nobele, Paris, 1975, p. 137). One further oval-shaped cartel with a decoration of elaborate bronze motifs against a mahogany ground is illustrated in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 370.

    Jean-François Denière (1774 - 1866)

    The signatures “Denière” or “Denière Fabt de Bronzes à Paris” are that of Jean-François Denière (1774-1866), one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century. In just a few years he became one of the most important suppliers of bronze furnishings, working for the imperial Garde-Meuble; in addition, he developed a wealthy private clientele. Until 1820 he was in partnership with François-Thomas Matelin, which led him to take part in the decoration of most of the imperial palaces and châteaux, delivering bronze furnishings and clocks, through the intermediary of several of their fellow bronze casters.



    In the same category
    Galle
    Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846)

    Important Pair of Six-Light Candelabra in Portor Marble and Patinated and Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Mars and Minerva” or “An Allegory of War”

    Candelabres038-03_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle

    Paris, Empire/Restauration period, circa 1815

    Height90 cm Width15 cm Depth15 cm

    Made entirely of finely chased, patinated and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing and portor marble, the candelabra feature stems in the form of a lictor’s fasces flanked by axes that terminate in a tied ribbon that holds two crossed flags and a conical element forming the socket. Two wreaths adorned with flowers decorate the five light branches in the form of hunting horns that are adorned with oak leaves and knops; they terminate in binets that are adorned with leaf friezes that support the sockets. The lictor’s fasces are set on quadrangular terraces on which stand two warrior figures that are facing each other. One represents a helmeted Minerva who is holding a lance and a laurel branch; the other depicts Mars, the god of war, who is holding his shield and sword. The façades of the bases are decorated with applied motifs depicting trophies of weapons including shields, swords, axes and lances. On the sides, there are ribbon-tied laurel wreaths that are centered by Imperial eagles with outstretched wings that are perched on stylized thunderbolts. Square plinths adorned with heart leaf friezes support the composition.

    The present important pair of candelabra, which is attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle, is a perfect illustration of Napoleon’s desire to make the Parisian decorative arts a continuation of ancient Roman art, with its war-centered themes. Among the small number of comparable candelabra adorned with warrior figures that are today known to exist, one should mention an example that is illustrated in G. and R. Wannenes, Les bronzes ornementaux et les objets montes de Louis XIV à Napoléon III, Edition Vausor, Milan, 2004, p. 386. A second example is now in the Paris Musée des Arts décoratifs (see illustration in L’aigle et le papillon, Symboles des pouvoirs sous Napoléon, under the direction of Odile Nouvel-Kammerer, Les Arts Décoratifs, American Federation of arts, Paris, 2007, p. 177). A third example is in the Pavlovsk Palace Museum (see Pavlovsk Palace, Complete catalogue of the collections, Volume X, Metal, Bronze, Edition 2, Candelabra, girandoles, miracles, chandeliers, second half of the 18th late 19th century, Saint Petersburg, GMZ “Pavlovsk”, 2016, p. 121-122).

     

    One further pair of identical candelabra, attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle, but which are set on bronze bases, are on display in the Royal Palace of Stockholm (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 396, fig. 5.18.8.)

    Gérard-Jean Galle (1788 - 1846)

    Gérard-Jean Galle was the son of Claude Galle (1759-1815), one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of the late 18th century and the Empire period. After having led a brilliant military career in Napoleon’s army, Gérard-Jean took over his father’s workshop in 1815. He made exceptional bronze pieces, often basing them on original sketches done by his father. In 1819, during the Exhibition of the Products of Industry held at the Louvre Museum, he was awarded a silver medal for his bronze clocks and lighting instruments. He subsequently became the supplier to the crown and the aristocracy, including the Duke de Richelieu, the Marquis de Martel and the Viscount de la Rochefoucauld. However, the July Revolution of 1830, and the accession of the Orléans family to the throne, led his business to go into decline. He went bankrupt and died in 1846. Today, some of Galle’s pieces are in important private and public collections, among them those of the Château de la Malmaison, (the former residence of Napoleon’s wife Josephine de Beauharnais), and the Musée Marmottan in Paris.



    In the same category
    Thomire
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Important Pair of Matte Gilt and Patinated Bronze and Black Paragon Marble Nine-Light Candelabra

    “The Egyptian Priestesses”

    Candelabres021-02_HD_PRESSE

    Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    The Figures after a Drawing by Architects Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853)

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810

    Height130 cm Width27 cm Depth21 cm

    Made of finely chased, patinated and matte-gilt bronze, this magnificent pair of candelabra feature beautiful and solemn standing female figures that represent Egyptian priestesses.  Clad in loincloths in the form of long bands that are attached under the breasts and are engraved with pseudo-hieroglyphs, they wear necklaces of entwining beads, rosettes and C-scrolls. Their hair is braided and held in place by neret crowns featuring vultures with raised heads, whose wings surround the tops of the women’s heads. The priestesses hold palm branches in their hands – symbols of eternity and rebirth – and support on their heads a bouquet of nine light branches that emerge from wreaths of leaves and flowers, made up of six curved arms that are linked by wide palms and are centered by a stylized lotus that terminates in a spiral-decorated apple that issues three additional reed-form light branches. The figures stand on rectangular bases that are adorned with applied motifs of lidded canopic jars whose lids are decorated with Egyptian busts flanked by facing ravens. The bases stand on molded quadrangular plinths.

    In 1798 and 1801 France led expeditions to Egypt, in order to gain control of the country and dominate the region politically and economically, which would thwart British ambitions in the Orient. Led initially by General Bonaparte, and then by his successors, this military operation, generally known as the Campaign in Egypt, also included a research mission that was carried out by eminent scientists and historians, and first-rate artists. After its return to France, the repercussions of this mission were enormous, particularly in the field of the decorative arts. In 1802, Baron Vivant-Denon published his Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte, which became an immense success. Subsequently, architects, painters and artisans hastened to lend their own personal interpretation to Egyptian motifs, varying them and incorporating them into their own creations. In the field of lighting instruments, many candelabra featured solemn female figures that were inspired by the monumental sculptures of ancient Egypt.

    This is the specific context within which the present candelabra were produced. Various figures that served as supports for various items were inspired by a preparatory drawing made around 1800 by Emperor Napoléon’s renowned architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 336, fig. 5.3.4). This watercolor sketch, now in the Louvre Museum in Paris, served as inspiration for a small number of contemporary Parisian creations. Among the pieces that feature the same Egyptian figures, a console table, which in 1807 stood in the Gold Salon of the Parisian mansion of Arch-Treasurer Lebrun, is now in the Grand Trianon in the gardens of the Château de Versailles (see reproduction in P. Arizzoli-Clémentel and J-P. Samoyault, Le mobilier de Versailles, Chefs-d’œuvre du XIXe siècle, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2009, p. 95-97).

    As concerns the present candelabra model, it may be confidently attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, who produced several variations of it in the early years of the 19th century. A small number of similar candelabra featuring the same Egyptian female figures are known today – and all of them have been attributed to Thomire. One pair, which counts among the masterpieces in the Pavlovsk Palace, today stands in the New Study on the museum’s ground floor. These candelabra were probably furnished to Tsar Paul I for Saint-Petersburg’s Michaelovsky Castle by marchand-mercier Jérome Culot, who is known to have ordered many bronze pieces from Pierre-Philippe Thomire (illustrated in Le Palais de Pavlovsk, Catalogue complet des collections, Volume X, Métal-Bronze, Édition 2, Candélabres, girandoles, miracles, chandeliers, seconde moitié du XVIIIe – fin du XIXe siècle, Saint Petersburg, GMZ “Pavlovsk”, 2016, p. 96-99, catalogue 82-83). A second pair, which Thomire delivered to the Mobilier Impérial, and was later transferred to the Saint-Cloud Palace, is today in the collection of the Grande Chancellerie of the Légion d’Honneur, in the Hôtel de Salm, Paris (J. M. Humbert, et al., Egyptomanie, 1994, p. 286, n° 167). One further pair, formerly in the collection of Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy, was sold in Monaco in 1993.

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.



    Moinet  -  Thomire
    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768-1853)
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Exceptional Patinated and Gilt Bronze and Black Marble Mantel Garniture with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Vase_pendule001-03_HD_WEB

    The movement signed “Moinet l’aîné”

    The bronzes Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Clock :
    Height71 cm Width29 cm DiamètreBase 25.3 x 25.3 cm
    Vases :
    Height54 cm Width23.5 cm DiamètreBase 18 x 18 cm

    Provenance:

    Sold Paris, Palais Galliera, Maîtres Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud, June 21, 1974, lot 59.

     

    Made entirely of finely chased patinated and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing and black marble, this garniture comprises a central vase housing the clock and two lateral oval-shaped vases. The clock has an aperture within a medallion framed by a flower wreath, which indicates the Roman numeral hours and Arabic five-minute intervals on two silvered metal cadrans tournants; the movement is signed “Moinet l’aîné”. The lip is adorned with a frieze of veined leaves; the neck is decorated with applied motifs of flowers and scrolling foliage, framed by birds that peck at seeds. The belly, with plain and reeded motifs, is further embellished with medallions framing rosettes that are flanked by flowers and scrolls and a magnificent classical-style frieze depicting dancing bacchantes. The lower portion is adorned with wide leaves alternating with stems of flowers; the spreading pedestal is decorated with a row of stylized water leaves. The applied handles, with reserves containing flower and leaf garlands, are attached to the belly by female masks emerging from palmettes and to the neck by medallions centered by neoclassical profiles. The quadrangular base features thyrsi motifs with intertwining vine branches and snakes on either side of wicker baskets filled with fruits. The spreading pedestal is adorned with water leaves. The clock stands on a square base. The two similarly decorated lateral vases are elaborately embellished with applied palmette, C-scroll, and flower motifs and arabesque style torches flanked by kneeling female figures that are tying ribbons. The applied slightly curved handles are adorned with foliage against matted reserves, and are attached to the necks by medallions centered by female masks inside of wreaths. The vases stand on pedestals decorated with wide ribbed water leaves, which themselves are set on square black marble bases with quadrangular plinths decorated with molding featuring friezes of alternating leaves and stems.

    The present garniture is comparable to certain pieces by the Parisian bronzier Claude Galle, including a  vase-form clock that Galle made circa 1810, an example of which is in the Grand Trianon (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I; Munich, 1986, p. 365, fig. 5.12.12). A second is on display in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (illustrated in A. Gonzales-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principi, Arte di corte del XVIIe e del XVIIIe secolo, Milan, 1993, p. 74, fig. 127). It may be attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the most talented Parisian bronze caster of the final years of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century.

    The unusual design of the clock may be seen on an “aux commères” vase-form clock, which is identical except for a variation in the treatment of the handles. The “aux commères” clock was created by Thomire circa 1805-1810. A few rare examples of it are known to exist, among them one example made entirely of gilt bronze that is in the Royal Spanish Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987,  p. 164, catalogue 142). A second example, in patinated and gilt bronze, signed “Louis Moinet”, is on display in the David Roche Foundation in Melbourne; it was commissioned circa 1810 by Ernst-August, Prince of Hanover (illustrated in J. Russel and R. Cohn, French Empire Mantel Clock, Editions Bookvika, 2012, p. 8).

    One further example of a vase identical to those flanking the present clock, which nevertheless features slight variations in the base, is illustrated in a catalogue devoted to the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomire that is now in Russia (see A.N. Voronikhina, Dekorativnaia bronza Pera-Filippa Tomira (1751-1843), Leningrad, Hermitage Museum, 1984).

    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768 - 1853)

    Was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the early decades of the 19th century. Born in Bourges, Moinet drew notice at a young age due to his passion for clockmaking, winning numerous first prizes and competitions. Also an enthusiastic painter and draughtsman, he stayed in Italy for several years, studying classical antiquity. When he returned to France, he settled in Paris and became a professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the Louvre. A member of several artistic and scholarly societies, he became friendly, and collaborated with, many of the finest artists, artisans, and scientists of the time. His passion for clockmaking soon took precedence over painting and Moinet concentrated exclusively on the practical and theoretical aspects of clockmaking. He invented the first chronograph in 1816; ten years earlier he had designed an automaton clock for the Emperor, in which Napoleon and Josephine were crowned when the music box was activated. He also made pieces for Prince Murat and Marshall Ney. His fame spread beyond the borders of France, and Moinet designed clocks for American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as for George IV, King of England. Today the clocks made in his workshop are all thought to have been made in collaboration with Pierre-Philippe Thomire, with whom the clockmaker must have had a close commercial and personal relationship.



    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.



    Chaumont
    Gilbert-Honoré Chaumont (1790-1868)

    Monumental Gilt Bronze and Montcenis Crystal 36-Light Chandelier

    APF_Lustre001_01

    Attributed to Gilbert-Honoré Chaumont

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1820

    Height195 cm Diamètre120 cm

    The corbeille-form chandelier’s thirty-six lights are arranged in two tiers. Twenty-four candle arms are modelled as cornucopiae that terminate in rosette scrolls fixed directly to the outside of the finely chased and gilt bronze lower ring, the other twelve arms are placed on the upperportion of the ring. Alternating palmette and leaf motifs punctuate the composition. An intermediate ring is adorned with stylised friezes and motifs; the third and uppermost ring is surmounted by stylised palmettes. The central finely chased gilt bronze baluster stem has a pinecone finial; it is strung with elements of faceted Montcenis crystal.

    In the mid 1830’s Gilbert-Honoré Chaumont delivered a group of twelve similar sixteen-light chandeliers to the royal Garde-Meuble; they are today in the collection of the Mobilier national in Paris (see M-F. Dupuy-Baylet, L’Heure, Le Feu, La Lumière, Les bronzes du Mobilier national 1800-1870, Dijon, 2010, p. 277, catalogue n° 151).

    Gilbert-Honoré Chaumont (1790 - 1868)

    The son of chandelier maker Jean-François Chaumont, who himself was the son of a Parisian bronze caster, Gilbert-Honoré Chaumont probably took over the family workshop around 1820. He maintained close commercial ties with the Royal Furniture Depository, which allowed him to receive important commissions for royal palaces and castles. In 1838, he went into partnership with Louis-Auguste Marquis, continuing to supply bronze furnishings, mostly ceremonial lighting instruments, during the July Monarchy (see M-F. Dupuy-Baylet, L’Heure, Le Feu, La Lumière, Les bronzes du Mobilier national, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2010, p. 254 and 277). Chaumont was the creator of a type of firedog that featured winged putti riding dolphins, a pair of which may be seen in the Henri II Gallery in Fontainebleau Palace. He also created a second pair of firedogs that depict children fighting with chimeras, one example of which is in the Grand Trianon in the gardens of the Château of Versailles. In partnership with Louis-Auguste Marquis, he delivered a spectacular gilt bronze and enamel chandelier to the Garde-Meuble, which is today on display in the Reception Room of the Musée National in Pau Palace.



    In the same category
    Galle  -  Thomas
    Claude Galle (1759-1815)
    Thomas

    Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Gilt and Burnished Finishing

    “The Winged Cupids”

    Pendule428-04_HD_WEB

    Paris, early Empire period, circa 1805

    Height58 cm Width39.2 cm Depth15.5 cm

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Galle Rue Vivienne à Paris” and “Thomas Hr”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the outermost minutes graduations by means of two blued steel Breguet hands. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a finely chased gilt bronze case with matte and burnished finishing. The bezel is adorned with engine-turning and motifs of vine leaves, wheat sheaves and beads. The drum case is surmounted by an urn containing fruits and flowers and issuing grape vines. It is supported on the backs of two winged Cupids wearing loincloths. The shaped quadrangular base has a central reserve on its façade that is decorated with applied motifs of crossed quivers and torches and a low relief scene depicting Venus and Adonis reclining on a naturalistic terrain. The clock stands upon the backs of four swans with curving necks. A rectangular plinth, set on four flattened ball feet decorated with cord friezes, supports the clock.

    The particularly elegant composition of the present rare mantel clock, as well as the exceptional quality of its chasing and gilding, are indicative of the talent and skill of Claude Galle, the bronze caster who made the case during the early years of the 19th century. Galle, one of the finest Parisian artisans of his time, was a colleague and rival of Pierre-Philippe Thomire.

    The design was inspired by a model that is slightly older, since it features the Revolutionary calendar. That clock was bequeathed in late 1969 to the Lyon Musée des Arts décoratifs by Henri Baboin-Jaubert-Ecully. Its dial is by Manière, and it features two patinated bronze cupids that support the case housing the movement, which is surmounted by a cupid riding a lion (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Ô Temps ! Suspends ton vol, Catalogue des pendules et horloges du Musée des Arts décoratifs de Lyon, Lyon, 2008, p. 85, catalogue n° 36).

    Claude Galle (1759 - 1815)

    One of the foremost bronziers and fondeur-ciseleurs of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods, Claude Galle was born at Villepreux near Versailles. He served his apprenticeship in Paris under the fondeur Pierre Foy, and in 1784 married Foy’s daughter. In 1786 he became a maitre-fondeur. After the death of  his father-in-law in 1788, Galle took over his workshop, soon turning it into one the finest, and employing approximately 400 craftsmen. Galle moved to Quai de la Monnaie (later Quai de l’Unité), and then in 1805 to 60 Rue Vivienne.

    The Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, under the direction of sculptor Jean Hauré from 1786-88, entrusted him with many commissions. Galle collaborated with many excellent artisans, including Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and furnished the majority of the furnishing bronzes for the Château de Fontainebleau during the Empire. He received many other Imperial commissions, among them light fittings, figural clock cases, and vases for the palaces of Saint-Cloud, the Trianons, the Tuileries, Compiègne, and Rambouillet. He supplied several Italian palaces, such as Monte Cavallo, Rome and Stupinigi near Turin.

    In spite of his success, and due in part to his generous and lavish lifestyle, as well as to the failure of certain of his clients (such as the Prince Joseph Bonaparte) to pay what they owed, Galle often found himself in financial difficulty. Galle’s business was continued by his son after his death by his son, Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846). Today his work may be found in the world’s most important museums and collections, those mentioned above, as well as the Musée National du Château de Malmaison, the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the Museo de Reloges at Jerez de la Frontera, the Residenz in Munich, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.



    Thomas

    This clockmaker, who signed “Thomas à Paris”, often worked with the bronze caster Claude Galle. This Parisian clockmaker was active during the latter part of the 18th century and the early years of the following century. Through Galle, Thomas became known to Parisian connoisseurs of fine and luxury horology. Some of his pieces were mentioned during the early decades of the 19th century as being in the homes of important collectors, including two Napoleonic Marshals, Michel Ney, Prince of the Moskva and Duke of Elchingen, and Louis-Alexandre Berthier, prince of Wagram. Others were cited in the posthumous inventory of the wife of Louis-Amable-Auguste-Ursule-Achille de Sparre.



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