An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)

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Lot 48
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra
circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)

£ 100,000 - 150,000
US$ 140,000 - 210,000
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra
circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)
Cupid and the nymph both seated on naturalistic rock-work bases, the elaborate acanthus and scrolling rosette candle arms with Egyptian head terminals below foliate and lotus tapering nozzles and flared palmette and leafy beaded swept collars, the arms issuing from central naturalistic acanthus wheatsheaf and flowering lily naturalistic finials, the bow-fronted plinths with applied frolicking putti friezes in the manner of Clodion and milled side panels above fruiting laurel garlanded pendant mounts, on acanthus and beaded bases,
92.3cm high, 41.2cm wide, 31cm deep approximiately (2)

Footnotes

  • Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812)

    The attribution of the current lot to the ciseleur-doreur (gilder-chaser) Francois Réymond can primarily be based on the distinctive spiral twist arms which are characteristic of the work of this master craftsman dating them to around 1785 and as identified by Christian Balulez and later Peter Hughes from comparable candelabra.

    However they differ from the majority of documented examples which usually lack swag mounts to the bases and more simplified arm terminals rather than the rare Egyptian mask head terminals of the current lot. In addition the majority of the documented examples also feature flambeau torch finials instead of the more idiosyncratic wheatsheaf and lily sprays finials which are another rare and unusual feature of the current lot.

    The production of decorative candelabra of this quality utilising figural models cast after the sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet, was most likely orchestrated via the marchands-merciers (dealers of fine quality decorative works of art and furnishings) who would have retailed the pieces but contracted out their production to numerous other highly skilled craftsmen.

    Of these marchands-merciers, Peter Hughes in his 1996 Catalogue of Furniture (Volume III) at the Wallace argues that Dominique Daguerre perhaps makes the most convincing possible source as a retailer. This is because he held the legal ownership rights to models made for him by Francois Réymond and a pair of near identical candelabra to the present lot by Daguerre is recorded as being sold at Christies on the 25th March 1795 as lot 53.

    Nevertheless it is unlikely that Réymond would have cast the figures of Cupid and its pendant and neither would these have come directly from Falconet as there are no records of the sculptor making the models in bronze either on a larger or more domestic scale in his time in France before he left for Russia in 1766.

    Certainly the issue of copyright regarding reproductions of Falconet's sculptural works became even more unclear in 1766 as although bronziers were obliged to register their own models or drawings, there was nothing to prevent marchand merciers acquiring original works which could then be altered and modified enabling them to be passed off as unique creations. As such the figures to the current lot undoubtedly would have been cast and supplied by another workshop, possibly via Daguerre, before being assembled by Réymond.

    Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)

    Spanning the Baroque, Rococo and Neo-classical periods, the sculptor and businessman Falconet is perhaps best-known for his 1782 equestrian statue of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, Russia and on a much more domestic scale for the small figures he produced in series for the Royal Sévres Porcelain Manufactory.

    Originally conceived by Falconet in plaster and exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1755, a marble copy of of Cupid was delivered to Madame de Pompadour two years later. However when Falconet became director of the Sèvres porcelain factory in 1757 he adapted the model for production in biscuit porcelain to great acclaim and success. The alternative title of the piece, 'L'Amour Menaçant' ('Love threatens') probably stems from a later date and most likely refers to the inscription by Voltaire on the pedestals of some Sèvres models of Cupid: 'Qui que tu sois, voicy ton Maitre - Il l'est, le fut, ou le doit être' ('Whoever you are, this is your master - He is, he was or he will be').

    Falconet subsequently conceived a pendant figure in the form of a young girl or nymph (also sometimes known as 'Innocence' or 'Psyche') whilst working at the factory to be produced in porcelain as a pair in 1761 and again this was presented in the Salon although it was never executed in marble. Enormously successful by modern standards and illustrated by the surviving manufactory records, the pair were purchased by many wealthy buyers including members of the French royal family and court.

    The continued popularity of Falconet's celebrated figures into and throughout the 19th century subsequently led them to them being produced in a wide variety of mediums.

    Comparable Candelabra

    A number of pairs of candelabra by or attributable to Réymond with some minor alterations but with their characteristic spiral twist arms and flambeau torch finials are recorded.

    However only one near comparable pair subsequent to the Daguerre example which appeared at auction at Christies in the late 18th century is recorded illustrating their great rarity. This further pair from the collection of the Earl of Essex, Cassionbury Park was sold as lot 283 by Frank, Knight and Rutley in London on the 12th June 1922 but varied slightly in that the bases have slightly different foliate swags and the arms terminate with female busts rather than Egyptian terms.

    Related Literature

    P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, vol. III, ps. 1264-1271.
    H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 282.
    M-N Villechenon, exhibition catalogue, Falconet à Sèvres ou l'art de plaire, Sèvres, Musée national de la Céramique, 2001, pg. 91 no. 4-5.
Contacts
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
An important pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural three light candelabra  circa 1785, the gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francois Réymond (French, c. 1745-1812), the figures of Cupid ('L'Amour Menacant') and a nymph ('La Nymphe') after the models by Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716-1791)  (2)
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