An extremely fine pair of Empire gilt bronze five-light wall-lights attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, each with a circular lion mask backplate with a pierced acanthus and anthemion cresting and apron with five scrolled cornucopia-shaped candle branches with dished drip-pans and nozzles hung with pendant cut-glass drops issuing from a pierced circular ring cast with a foliate band interspersed by rosettes and hung with cut-glass pendant drops
Paris, date circa 1810-20
Height 57 cm, depth 41 cm, width 50 cm. each
Literature: Jean-Pierre Samoyault, “Pendules et Bronzes d’Ameublement Entrés Sous le Premier Empire”, 1989, p. 145, illustrating one of three wall-lights of similar form but with eagle heads, which were delivered by Thomire-Duterme et Cie in 1810 for the premier Salon du Petit Appartement de l’Emperor at Château de Fontainebleau; and p. 149 showing one of three pairs of similar wall-lights with anthemions and scrolled branches issuing from a circular ring but without the lion mask backplate and also signed Rabiat on the backplate, delivered by Thomire-Duterme et Cie 1810 for the third Salon de l’Appartement de Prince no I at Fontainebleau. Charles Plante at Shepherd & Derom Galleries, New York, “Designs for Gilt Bronze Objects from the French Restoration 1814-1830”, 2002, p. 61, no. 15, illustrating a design for a very similar gilt bronze five-light wall-light but without the pendant glass drops and with the candle branches terminating in swan’s heads mounted on the outside of the circular ring.
These fine and unusually large wall-lights or appliques combine elements from two sets delivered by Thomire-Duterme for the Emperor Napoleon’s Palace at Fontainebleau in 1810. Other lion-mask wall-lights lacking the anthemion cresting and apron were supplied by Claude Galle to the Grand-Trianon at Versailles in 1810, as documented in Denise Ledoux-Lebard “Le Grand Trianon: Meuble et Objets d’Art”, 1975, p. 61.
Patronised by Napoleon, his family as well as by foreign royal courts, the esteemed fondeur-ciseleur Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) needed to expand his business in order meet growing demand. Thus in 1804 he purchased from the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux his extensive business, thus allowing him to operate on a much larger scale. Renaming the company Thomire-Duterme et Cie, Thomire retained the showroom at rue Taitbout and from there retailed a large range of decorative objects. Many of the pieces made at his workshop at rue Boucherat were supplied to the Imperial household and other notable families. Thomire’s production included some of the finest gilt bronze objects of the period, from centrepieces and candelabra to clock cases and furniture. At the same time Thomire also supplied beautiful gilt bronze mounts to the leading ébénistes as well the porcelain manufacturers.