An important pair of patinated and gilt bronze fugural thirteen light candelabra (on associated stands), stamped
Lot 1352W
A very fine pair of Empire patinated and gilt bronze figural thirteen light candelabra
Pierre-Philippe Thomire (French, 1751-1843)
first quarter 19th century
Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
Property of Anne-Merete Robbs, Phoenix, Arizona
A very fine pair of Empire patinated and gilt bronze figural thirteen light candelabra
Pierre-Philippe Thomire (French, 1751-1843)
first quarter 19th century
Each figure of a young woman dressed in a chiton holding aloft a flower filled cornucopia issuing thirteen trumpet form candlearms and standing contraposto on a plinth with applied gilt bronze masks of classical women, each stamped at the rear of the base THOMIRE A PARIS, together with an associated ebonized and parcel gilt base, later fitted with electricity.
height 45 3/4in (116cm); width across candlearms 18in (45.5cm); total height with base 67in (170cm)


  • Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843)

    Thomire's talents as a sculptor were recognized early on as a student under celebrated sculptors Auguste Pajou and Jean-Antoine Houdon. Due to financial constraints, he followed in his father's footsteps as a bronze ciseleur (chaser) and caster. After several years in the workshops of Pierre Gouthière and a brief collaboration with Louis Prieur, Thomire opened his own bronze foundry in 1776.

    Thomire quickly became the most sought after ciseleur during the reign of Louis XVI. He received commissions from Marie-Antoinette and the city of Paris, often in collaboration with Guillaume Benneman, the official ébéniste of the royal court. Thomire also replaced Duplessis as the official supplier of bronze mounts for the royal Sevres porcelain manufactory.

    Thomire weathered the revolutionary period and in the early years of the 19th century, as the fortunes of the new middle class rose along with those of Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomire demonstrated flexibility in adapting to the new Empire style promulgated by Percier and Fontaine.

    Employing only the finest sculptors, Thomire entered into his finest and most celebrated period. He became the official ciseleur to the Emperor, working with Jacob-Desmalter, Odiot and others on special creations such as the cradle for Napoleon's son, the King of Rome, and a dressing room set for Empress Marie-Louise. At the height of their production, his workshops employed between 700 and 800 workers.

    Thomire was awarded three gold medals by the Exposition de l'Industrie, and his fame was not limited to France. After the 1812 fire in Moscow, commissions poured into Thomire's factory, prompting one contemporary to note: "There isn't a salon that is without a bronze signed Thomire a Paris, and the young dandies of the Empire send works by Thomire to their sweethearts for New Year's Day...". The restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 did little to alter the success of Thomire and he continued to be involved with the business. The firm continued its operations until at least 1852.

    The candelabra offered here are of an unusual design for Thomire, this and their large size would tend to indicate a special commission. A drawing for a pair with a related design is in the Royal Collection, Stockholm (inventory number 85/1874); a pair of these candelabra are today in the Château de Compiègne, France.

    Juliette Niclauss, Thomire, fondeur-ciseleur, Paris, Libraire Gründ, 1947
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