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Époques: Louis XVI

  • Schmit  -  Coteau
    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (?-circa 1820)
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Bisque Porcelain and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    Pendule414-04_HD_WEB

    Dihl and Guérhard Manufactory, known as the Duke d’Angoulême’s Manufactory

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit

    The Dial by Joseph Coteau

    Paris, late Louis XVI period, circa 1785-1790

    Height55 Width58 Depth20

    Provenance:

    – Sold in Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Maître Rheims, June 8, 1955, lot 184

    – Sold in Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Maîtres Ader-Picard-Tajan, March 19, 1982, lot 31

     

    The round white enamel dial, which is signed “Schmit à Paris” and “Coteau” and bears the words “Manufre de Mgr le duc d’Angoulême”, indicates the Roman numeral hours, fifteen-minute Arabic numeral intervals and date, as well as the days of the week along with their corresponding astrological signs and the seconds, by means of five hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze. It is housed in a bisque porcelain case that imitates white Carrara marble and features decorative scenes in shades of gray on a pink ground. It is adorned with bronze mounts in the form of leaves that are finely chased and gilt with matte and burnished finishing, panels with stylized mermaids and friezes of alternating round and oval beads. The hour and half hour striking movement is housed in a case that depicts upon Eros, the god of Love, sitting among the clouds. In his right hand he is holding a stylus with which he has engraved a poem in a book that is held by a putto. The shaped quadrangular base with canted corners is adorned with reserves painted in shades of gray against a pink ground, which depict putti that are gardening and gathering flowers. The clock is raised upon four lion’s paw feet.

    This magnificent clock is an excellent illustration of the extraordinary creativity of the Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century. They created remarkably inventive pieces of unparalleled quality, juxtaposing the most luxurious and rare materials. It was made at the renowned Manufactory known as the Duke d’Angoulême’s Factory because as of 1781 it was headed by the Duke d’Angoulême, who later entrusted its direction to Christophe Erasimus Dihl and the Guérhards; under their guidance the factory became the principal rival of the Sèvres Manufactory during the final years of the 18th century and during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. After the fall of the monarchy, the manufactory created several new models, including unglazed groups and figures, which were particularly popular when they were mounted as “large clocks in fine bisque porcelain” (Dictionnaire universel de la géographie commerçante, Tome V, p. 325; cited in R. de Plinval de Guillebon, Les biscuits de porcelaine de Paris XVIIIe-XIXe siècles, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2012, p. 199). The clock’s remarkable and perfectly balanced composition was quite successful among important Parisian collectors of the time. Among the few identical models known, all seem to be signed by the clockmaker Schmit. Among them, one example with a base in shades of gray, which has an aperture with the indications of the age and phases of the moon, which was formerly in the collection of the Guinness family in Luttrelstown Castle near Dublin (sold Christie’s, September 26-28, 1983). A second clock was in the James de Rothschild collection in Waddesdon Manor near London.

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (? - circa 1820)

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and early 19th centuries. After becoming a master in August 1781, he opened a workshop in the rue Betizy and won immediate renown among connoisseurs. Dihl and Guérhard, the directors of the Duc d’Angoulême’s porcelain factory, were impressed by his movements and purchased the majority of their clock movements from him. Contemporary documents mention the clockmaker’s work as being in the collections of the greatest art enthusiasts of the period. Clocks by him are included in the probate inventory of Jean-Etienne-Marie de Portalis, made a conseiller d’état by Napoléon, and in that of the wife of Louis-Marie-Bretagne-Dominique de Rohan-Chabot, Duc de Rohan and cousin of King Louis XV.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

    The most renowned enameller of his time, he worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers. He was born in Geneva, where he was named master painter-enameler of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1766. Several years later he settled in Paris, and from 1772 to the end of his life, he was recorded in the rue Poupée. Coteau is known for a technique of relief enamel painting, which he perfected along with Parpette and which was used for certain Sèvres porcelain pieces, as well as for the dials of very fine clocks. Among the pieces that feature this distinctive décor are a covered bowl and tray in the Sèvres Musée national de la Céramique (Inv. SCC2011-4-2); a pair of “cannelés à guirlandes” vases in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Un défi au goût, 50 ans de création à la manufacture royale de Sèvres (1740-1793), Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1997, p. 108, catalogue n° 61); and a ewer and the “Comtesse du Nord” tray and bowl in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 207, fig. 250). A blue Sèvres porcelain lyre clock by Courieult, whose dial is signed “Coteau” and is dated “1785”, is in the Musée national du château in Versailles; it appears to be identical to the example mentioned in the 1787 inventory of Louis XVI’s apartments in Versailles (see Y. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules lyre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, autumn 1993, n° 68, p. 32C).



    In the same category
    Schmit
    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (?-circa 1820)

    Rare Bisque Porcelain and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The Two Naiads”

    Pendule397-04_BD_MAIL

    “Schmit à Paris”

    The Manufactory of Dihl et Guérhard, known as the “Manufactory of the Duke of Angoulême”

    Paris, late Louis XVI period, circa 1790

    Height41 Width44 Depth11.5

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Schmit à Paris”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. It is fitted in an imitation marble bisque porcelain case (Wedgwood bisque), in shades of gray on a yellow ground. The case is adorned with finely chased matte and burnished gilt bronze mounts including waterleaf friezes and friezes of alternating round and oval beads. The portion of the case in which the hour and half-hour striking movement is housed features a plaque with a blue ground in which a child is lying on a dolphin. Two beautiful allegorical figures of naiads in classical draperies are leaning on the case. They hold urns from which water is pouring out, symbolizing the passing of Time. The shaped quadrangular base, with rounded corners, is decorated with reserves painted in shades of gray on a yellow background, with elegant scrolls and baskets containing fruits, grape vines, snakes and other figures. The front panel is centered by a cartouche bearing the words “Manufre de MM Guerhard et Dihl a Paris”. The clock is raised upon eight knurled feet.

    This magnificent clock is an excellent example of the inventiveness shown by certain Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century, who created works of great originality and outstanding quality using the most precious and costly materials. The present clock was made by a well-known Manufactory that was known as the “Manufacture du duc d’Angoulême” ; in 1781 its patron, the Duke of Angoulême, entrusted the factory to two groups of partners: Christophe Erasimus Dihl and the husband and wife team of the Guérhards. Under their direction the company became the main rival of the Sèvres Manufactory during the final years of the 18th century and the early years of the nineteenth century, during the reign of Napoleon. After the fall of the monarchy the manufactory created many new models, including unglazed groups and figures, which were especially popular when mounted as “large clocks in beautiful bisque” (Dictionnaire universel de la géographie commerçante, Tome V, p. 325; cited in R. de Plinval de Guillebon, Les biscuits de porcelaine de Paris XVIIIe-XIXe siècles, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2012, p. 199).

    The unusual and beautifully balanced composition of the present model made it a great success among influential Parisian connoisseurs of the time. Among the small number of similar clocks, which often present variations in the decoration of the base, all are signed by the clockmaker Schmit. One example was offered at Christie’s London on May 14, 1970, lot 40. A second clock is illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of Measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 59, fig. 94. One further such clock, today in a private collection, is illustrated in R. de Plinval de Guillebon, op.cit., Editions Faton, Dijon, 2012, p. 196.

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (? - circa 1820)

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and early 19th centuries. After becoming a master in August 1781, he opened a workshop in the rue Betizy and won immediate renown among connoisseurs. Dihl and Guérhard, the directors of the Duc d’Angoulême’s porcelain factory, were impressed by his movements and purchased the majority of their clock movements from him. Contemporary documents mention the clockmaker’s work as being in the collections of the greatest art enthusiasts of the period. Clocks by him are included in the probate inventory of Jean-Etienne-Marie de Portalis, made a conseiller d’état by Napoléon, and in that of the wife of Louis-Marie-Bretagne-Dominique de Rohan-Chabot, Duc de Rohan and cousin of King Louis XV.



    Robin  -  Coteau  -  Thomire
    Robert Robin (1741-1799)
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)
    Dominique Daguerre

    Exceptional Desk Regulator with “remontoir d’égalité”

    “Royal Model”

    Régulateur022-05_BD_MAIL

    Case attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Probably made under the Supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1783

    Height38.2 Width21.7 Depth17.1

    This exceptional desk, or mantel regulator, is one of the most luxurious Parisian clocks of the latter part of the reign of Louis XVI. Its complex movement with complications has a Graham escapement and a constant force remontoir d’égalité, with a bimetallic gridiron pendulum and two weights, with instructions for winding indicated on the back of the front door: “Remonté à gauche” (Wind to the left). The magnificent neoclassical architectural case is made of finely chased gilt bronze with matte finishing. All four sides, as well as the top, are glazed so that the complex movement may be admired. The case, which is raised on four quadrangular feet, is elaborately adorned with molding on the chapter and the base, with a toothed frieze decorating the slightly protruding cornice, a bead frieze adorning the bezel, acanthus and laurel leaf spandrels, recessed molded matte frames, and a magnificent chased drapery with fringe and a leafy garland under the dial.

    The dial, signed “Robin Hger du Roi”, is a true masterpiece; it also bears the signature of the most renowned enameller of the day, Joseph Coteau (the counter-enamel bears the name “Coteau” and the date “1783”. It indicates the Roman numeral hours, the Arabic five-minute intervals, the seconds, the date, the months, and the equation of time, which shows the difference between true time and mean time. Along its outermost border it features the twelve polychrome signs of the zodiac within oval medallions surrounded by delicate interlacing foliage embellished with flowers and cabochons within arabesque frames. The indications are given by five hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze. Three others, including the equation of time hand, are made of blued steel.

    The present clock may be considered an example of the quintessence of Parisian luxury horology during the reign of Louis XVI. Such clocks were made for a handful of important connoisseurs, often people who were close to the royal family. Certain contemporary documents afford information about the collectors who owned such masterpieces. One such clock was mentioned in the probate inventory of Denis-Pierre-Jean Papillon de la Ferté, the director of the Menus Plaisirs du Roi; it was sold in February 1797: “305. A square clock, with glazed panels, a half-second movement, with equation, remontoire and striking, made by Robin”. A second clock was described several years previously, shortly before the Revolution, in the inventory of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s horological collection, which was maintained by Robin. In it one finds a model that appears to be nearly identical to the present clock: “28. A square clock with architectural case and glazed panels, in gilt and matte bronze, with a compensation pendulum, hours, minutes, seconds, striking, with date, day of the week, and the figures of the zodiac painted in miniature on the dial, with the name of Robin” (see P. Verlet, Les bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1999, p. 466).

    Only a few similar regulators are known to exist today; most bear the signatures of the clockmaker Robin and the enameller Coteau, who both collaborated on the clock, probably at the request of one of the great marchands-merciers of the time, such as Simon-Philippe Poirier and his associate Dominique Daguerre, the two most famous purveyors of Parisian luxury items. Among the rare models known today, one example now in a private collection is pictured in D. Roberts, Precision Pendulum Clocks, 2004, p. 32. Two regulators made by Robin, formerly in the Winthrop Kellogg Edey collection, are now in the Frick Collection in New York; their cases are attributed to the renowned bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (Inv. 1999.5.150 and 1999.5.151) (illustrated respectively in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie : Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, and in C. Vignon, The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook, New York, Scala, 2015).

    Robert Robin (1741 - 1799)

    Having become a master horologist in November 1767, he was one of the most important Parisian horologists of the last third of the 18th century. He received the honorary titles of Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire du Roi et de la Reine in 1783 and 1786. He enjoyed an extraordinary career, distinguishing himself by his exceptional contribution toward the improvement of time measuring instruments.

    In 1778, the Academy of Sciences approved two of his inventions, one of which led to the construction of an astronomic clock with a meridian traced on a pyramid, which was acquired by the Menus Plaisirs for Louis XVI that same year; Robin published a very detailed historical and mechanical description of that clock. He also made mantel regulators with astronomic indications and compensation balance, of which the Marquis de Courtanvaux, a man of science and a great connoisseur of precision horology, was one of the earliest acquirers. During the Revolution he made decimal watches and clocks. He worked in the Grande rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (1772), the rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois (1775), the rue Saint-Honoré in the l’Hôtel d’Aligre (1778) and the Galeries du Louvre in 1786.

    For his desk regulators, Robin chose very sober architectural cases, which look extraordinarily modern to contemporary viewers. He always worked with the finest artisans of the day, including the bronziers and chasers Robert and Jean Baptiste Osmond, Pierre Philippe Thomire, François Rémond and Claude Galle, the cabinetmakers Jean-Henri Riesener, Ferdinand Schwerdfeger and Adam Weisweiler, the enamellers Barbezat, Dubuisson, Merlet and Coteau for the dials, and Richard and Montginot for the springs.

    Robert Robin’s two sons, Nicolas Robert (1775-1812) and Jean-Joseph (1781-1856), were also fine clockmakers and ably continued to run their father’s workshop.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

    The most renowned enameller of his time, he worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers. He was born in Geneva, where he was named master painter-enameler of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1766. Several years later he settled in Paris, and from 1772 to the end of his life, he was recorded in the rue Poupée. Coteau is known for a technique of relief enamel painting, which he perfected along with Parpette and which was used for certain Sèvres porcelain pieces, as well as for the dials of very fine clocks. Among the pieces that feature this distinctive décor are a covered bowl and tray in the Sèvres Musée national de la Céramique (Inv. SCC2011-4-2); a pair of “cannelés à guirlandes” vases in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Un défi au goût, 50 ans de création à la manufacture royale de Sèvres (1740-1793), Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1997, p. 108, catalogue n° 61); and a ewer and the “Comtesse du Nord” tray and bowl in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 207, fig. 250). A blue Sèvres porcelain lyre clock by Courieult, whose dial is signed “Coteau” and is dated “1785”, is in the Musée national du château in Versailles; it appears to be identical to the example mentioned in the 1787 inventory of Louis XVI’s apartments in Versailles (see Y. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules lyre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, autumn 1993, n° 68, p. 32C).



    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.



    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.



    In the same category
    Rémond
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)

    Important Set of Four Three-Branch Wall Lights made of Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Appliques017-03_HD_WEB

    Attributed to François Rémond

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height52 Width34

    The wall lights are made of finely chased gilt bronze, with matte and burnished finishing. Each wall light features a central tapering stem in the form of a quiver, which is decorated with spiral motifs and features a band that is adorned with motifs and acanthus leaves, and which issues the three fluted, curving branches. They in turn support the nozzles and drip pans, which are adorned with waterleaf motifs, gadrooning, beadwork, fluting, and foliage. Each wall light is surmounted by an urn that is embellished by ribbon-tied laurel garlands and which that terminates in a flame. The lower portion is made up of oak leaf swags that are adorned with acorns, which emerge from two acanthus leaves.

    By the mid-18th century, the ornamental vocabulary that had prevailed in the French decorative arts for several decades had begun to be challenged, as a new artistic movement was led by scholars, artists, and collectors. It was inspired by the extraordinary archaeological discoveries that had been made in Pompeii and Herculaneum, near Naples. Inspired by these discoveries, a handful of collectors, artists and artisans, including the Duke de Caylus and Lalive de Jully, gradually imposed a new style that was directly inspired by classical antiquity. This “Return to antiquity”, was equally inspired by the neoclassical style that prevailed during the reign of Louis XIV, in the late 17th century. In the field of lighting and particularly that of wall lights, at the time known in French as “bras de lumière”, the early models were extremely – and sometimes exaggeratedly – architectural in style. As of the early 1780s, the designs became more elegant and luxurious, as is the present rare set of four wall lights. Few identical examples of this model are known today. Among the small number of wall lights of the same model, one pair with three branches was sold by Sotheby’s New York on October 14, 1988. A second pair, with two branches, appeared in 1976 on the art market in Cannes, during the sale of the collections of the Villa Les Anthemis.

    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.



    In the same category
    Rémond
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)

    Important Pair of Three-Light Candelabra in Matte, Patinated, and Gilt Bronze

    Candelabres035-07_HD_WEB

    Attributed to François Rémond

    Paris, late Louis XVI period, circa 1790

    Height90 Width38.5

    Provenance:

    – Probably formerly in the collection of Emily Ridgway, Marquise de Ganay (1838-1921).

    – Sold: Paris, Me Lair-Dubreuil, Galerie Georges Petit, May 8-10, 1922, lot 237 (not illustrated): “A pair of three-light candelabra in patinated and gilt bronze, each one comprising the statuette of a nude, standing child that is raising one arm, while in the other he holds an iron lance to which are attached three light branches in the form of hunting horns. At the child’s feet lies the head of an animal. Cylindrical red griotte marble bases. Louis XVI period. Height 90 cm”.

     

    Each candelabrum is made of finely chased, patinated and matte gilt bronze. Each features a blued steel lance stem to which are attached three light arms in the form of hunting horns that are tied together by a ribbon. The lower portion of the lances feature a molded band adorned by a frieze of stylized toruses framing a band of spiral fluting. They rest on naturalistic terraces with a wild boar’s head. Two finely modeled standing putti, lightly draped, complete the composition. The cylindrical red griotte marble bases, which rest on quadrangular plinths, are adorned with mille-raie toruses.

    The first mention of a pair of candelabra of this type appeared in November 1809 when the collection of the well-known connoisseur Pierre-Nicolas baron Van Hoorn Van Vlooswyck was sold; they were particularly elaborate: “90. Two girandoles featuring various hunting attributes and bronze figures, each one bearing a blued steel lance adorned with gilt garlands from which are suspended hunting horns that compose the nozzles, the whole adorned with matte gilding and standing on a pedestal of Italian griotte marble adorned with toruses, and gilt bronze bases. Total height 34 inches”. Except for the gilded garlands, the “Van Hoorn » candelabra might be the present pair. However, they should be directly compared to the description of the pair described in 1922 furing the posthumous sale of the collection of the Marquise de Ganay. One pair, nearly identical but with several variations, was formerly in the collection of the decorator Georges Geoffroy (see P. Arizzoli-Clémentel, Georges Geoffroy 1905-1971, Une légende du grand décor français, Editions Gourcuff-Gradenigo, Paris, 2016, p. 188).

    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.



    Dester
    Godefroy Dester (?-1805)

    Important Mahogany, Flame Mahogany Veneer, Gilt Bronze and White Marble Commode

    Commode002-02_BD_MAIL

    Stamp: G. DESTER

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height97 Width146 Depth61

    Provenance:

    – Collection of S.A.S. Catherine de Croÿ (1929-1992), Princesse de Croÿ et de Solre, in the Château d’Azy in Saint-Benin d’Azy.

     

    The present commode, made of magnificent flame-mahogany veneered mahogany, with a three-part façade and projecting central panel, displays exceptionally clean lines and an architectural design. Rectangular in shape, it has two door leaves, one of which is hinged and double, and opens to reveal three wide drawers with crossbars fitted with rings. It also features three frieze drawers, the central one closing by means of a clover lock. The side drawers are fitted with mascarons and rings; the lateral fluted columns are inlaid with brass. The commode is adorned with chased gilt brass mounts, including plain gilt bronze bands decorated with beading, molding and a mille-raie frieze. It stands on four tapering, rounded feet with molded capitals and bases, and has a gray-veined white marble top.

    This type of mahogany commode with a three-part façade was immensely successful among important Parisian connoisseurs of the latter part of the 18th century. Godefroy Dester made several similar examples, no doubt at the request of renowned marchand-merciers such as Dominique Daguerre, all of which display perfectly balanced proportions, an exacting choice of mahogany veneering that was carefully selected by the cabinetmaker, and the clean, pure lines that characterize the finest pieces of furniture from the mid-1780s.

    Today only a few comparable commodes by Dester are known. Among them, one example is pictured in A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, The Art of the Ebenistes from Louis XIV to the Revolution, 1989. A second example is illustrated in J. Nicolay, L’art et la manière des maîtres ébénistes français au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1982. A pair of similar commodes by Dester formerly belonged to Lord Redesdale (sold Christie’s, Monaco, June 20, 1992, lot 67).

    Godefroy Dester (? - 1805)

    Godefroy Dester (d. December 24, 1805) was one of the most important Parisian cabinetmakers of the last quarter of the 18th century. After becoming a maître in July 1774, he opened a workshop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine and soon gained fame and renown. He mostly produced pieces of furniture decorated with marquetry or with high-quality mahogany veneer. However, he is also known to have supplied, through the intermediary of the mirror merchant Delaroue, a magnificent pair of commodes decorated with Paris porcelain plaques that were intended for the bedchamber of the Count d’Artois – the brother of Louis XVI – in the Palais du Temple (see P. Kjellberg, Le mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle, Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers, Paris, 2002, p. 297).



    In the same category
    Weisweiler  -  Lignereux
    Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820)
    Martin-Éloi Lignereux (1751-1809)

    Important Pair of Yew-Veeered and Gilt Bronze “à brisure” Commodes

    Capture d’écran 2015-10-10 à 15.56.31

    Made under the Supervision of Daguerre & Lignereux

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785-1790

    Stamp: A. WEISWEILER

    Height95 Width133.5 Depth58.5

    Provenance:

    -Acquired in Paris in 1803 by Thomas Bruce, 7th Count of Elgin and 11th Count of Kincardine (1766-1841), from the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux.

    -Thence by descent, kept in Broomhall House in Fife, Scotland.

    -Collection of Lord Bruce, sold Christie’s, London, May 31, 1962, lot 83.

     

    The three-part façade of each commode features a slightly protruding central panel. The rectangular commodes have two doors, one of them “à brisure”, and an upper row of three drawers. The façade and the sides are veneered in yew wood, with molded gilt bronze mounts that are adorned with bead friezes. In the front the side columns are rounded, in the back they are in the form of pilasters; they are decorated with brass-inlaid fluting and feature panels that are chased with bands of alternating stylized motifs. The lower apron is adorned with stylized friezes and plain copper or brass panels. The commodes rest upon four toupie feet with knurled chapters and molded bases; their tops are of gray-veined white marble.

    These two neoclassical commodes, which are characteristic of the finest Parisian cabinetmaking of the final decades of the 18th century, are a perfect illustration of the collaboration between Adam Weisweiler and the firm Daguerre & Lignereux. Commodes of this type are mentioned in contemporary documents, such as the probate inventory of the Prince or Princess of Salm, drawn up in August 1795, in which a bedroom is stated to have contained: “A commode in bird’s eye mahogany, with three doors adorned with ormolu gilt copper mounts, with a white marble tabletop, 3000 livres”. The present commodes also possess a prestigious and uninterrupted provenance – the descendants of the Count of Elgin still possess the invoices concerning the pieces their ancestor acquired from Parisian marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux, the former associate and Parisian representative of Dominique Daguerre: on Prairial 15 in the year XI (4 June 1803), Lignereux sold to the Count of Elgin, for the sum of 2100 francs: “Two commodes in selected  bird’s eye wood, opening on the front by means of three doors adorned with gilt bronze mounts, with inner drawers set on cleats, said commodes without marble top”. They were later mentioned in the inventory of the “Principal Drawing Room” of Broomhall House in Fife, Scotland.

    Today, only a few similar Weisweiler commodes are known to exist. Among them, one piece with three drawers is on display in the Musée national du Château de Versailles (see P. Lemonnier, Weisweiler, Editions Monelle Hayot, Paris, 1983, p. 57). A second commode is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Inv. 25.161/Fletcher Fund 1925). A third, formerly in the Palace of Fontainebleau, is today in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (illustrated in J-P. Samoyault, Fontainebleau, Musée national du château, Catalogue des collections de mobilier 3, Meubles entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 2004, p. 370, catalogue n° 305). One further commode of this type is in the Royal British Collections in Buckingham Palace (see H. Roberts, For the King’s Pleasure, The Furnishing and Decoration of George IV’s apartments at Windsor Castle, 2001, p. 333, fig. 416).

    Adam Weisweiler (1744 - 1820)

    Adam Weisweiler is a cabinetmaker who became a master in Paris on March 26, 1778. Having settled in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine quarter, he quickly gained renown, becoming one of the most important cabinetmakers of the final years of the reign of Louis XVI. He worked for the most important collectors of the time through the intermediary of marchand-merciers Dominique Daguerre and Martin-Eloi Lignereux. The Revolution does not seem to have greatly affected him; at this time he purchased several buildings. He continued to be active during the Empire period, working for the Queen Hortense, among others.



    Martin-Éloi Lignereux (1751 - 1809)

    Martin-Eloi Lignereux was one of the most important marchand-merciers (merchants of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century and the early years of the following century. On April 1, 1787, he went into partnership with Dominique Daguerre, thus becoming the Parisian representative of the Daguerre & Lignereux firm, which was established at 85, rue Saint-Honoré. After Daguerre’s retirement in 1793, he continued to run the firm with great success, while conserving his predecessor’s clientele and playing an important role in the renewal of contemporary Parisian decorative art. In 1801, he was awarded a gold medal at the Exhibition of the Products of Industry, where it was noted that “in the opinion of all observers, the furniture made by Citizen Lignereux is remarkable for its elegance and lavish embellishments, for the choice of the appropriate form for each piece, and finally, for the exactness and high-quality finishing of both the interiors and the exteriors”. Several years previously, his daughter Adélaïde-Anne had married the renowned Parisian cabinetmaker François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, known as Jacob-Desmalter. In 1804 Lignereux retired, selling his business to the bronze caster Pierre-Philippe Thomire. During his active years, Lignereux worked for the most influential collectors of the day, including the Duke d’Aumont-Valentinois, Queen Marie-Antoinette, the Count d’Artois (brother of King Louis XVI), the Baron de Breteuil, the Prince of Wales (future King George IV of England), Czar Paul I of Russia, and Napoleon Bonaparte.



    In the same category
    Le Riche  -  Sèvres
    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741-circa 1812)
    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Exceptional Sèvres Bisque Porcelain Group

    “The Judgment of Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria”

    APF_BISCUIT01_07

    After a Model by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche

    Paris, second third of the 18th century, circa 1770-1780

    Height35.5 Width24.8 Depth21.5

    Bisque porcelain figures from the Sèvres Manufacture Royale are among the pieces most sought-after by collectors of antique porcelain and of art objects in general. By 1756 the factory had begun to produce unglazed porcelain pieces that were given just one firing. This new type of “bisque porcelain” became an immediate success with collectors of the period. Encouraged by this response, the Manufacture called on the best artists of the time to create new and novel pieces. Among them were the famous sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Louis-Simon Boizot and Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, who supervised the workshops where the pieces were created and developed; all were of unusual and interesting design, and extremely well finished. The Sèvres factory hoped in this manner to set themselves apart from their main rival, the Meissen factory in Saxony, which produced polychrome pieces. Within just a few years Sèvres had surpassed Meissen in many areas, due in large part to these pristine white bisque statuettes and groups, whose satiny surfaces, reminiscent of statuary marble, perfectly rendered the delicate detailing of the sculpted models.

    The present group depicts a square terrace with simulated cobblestones, featuring an animated scene with several figures, both male and female. They have come to ask Sancho Panza, who is seated on a curule seat and is wearing a plumed hat, to render a judgment on their imaginary problems.

    Drawn from the satirical novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes (1547-1616), this spectacular group is one of the Royal Manufactory’s most ambitious creations. It is inspired by a design by painter Charles-Antoine Coypel that was intended for a tapestry. In 1771 Le Riche adapted it for the Sèvres Manufactory, for use in a porcelain surtout de table. Comprised of three groups, it was called “A Spanish Surtout relating the Story of Don Quixote”. The present group was one of the side pieces; the two other groups represented  “Don Quixote Fighting the Puppets” and “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head”.

    Very few examples of this ensemble have survived to the present day; one bisque group representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” is preserved in the Sèvres Musée national de Céramique (Inv. MNC20546); a bisque porcelain group and the original terra cotta model of the present subject are also in the collection of the Sèvres Museum; these pieces are illustrated respectively in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres des origines à nos jours, 1978, p. 230, fig. 316 and E. Bourgeois, Le biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, Tome II, plate 37.

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741 - circa 1812)

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche is a French sculptor of the 18th and early 19th centuries, he was the director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory from 1780 to 1801.



    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    The Vincennes porcelain factory was created in 1740 under the patronage of Louis XV and the Marquise of Pompadour. It was created to rival with the Meissen porcelain factory, and became its principal European rival. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, becoming the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory. Still active today, during the course of its existence it has had several periods of extraordinary creativity and has called on the finest French and European artisans. Kings and emperors considered it an exemplary showcase for French know-how. Most of the pieces created in the manufactory workshops were intended to be given as diplomatic gifts or to decorate the castles and royal palaces of the 18th and 19th centuries.