The decoration for this palatial surtout- de-table, and its companion components in the preceding lot, is derived from a design by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) of circa 1820 with similar feasting figures celebrating the glory of Bacchus, an appropriate subject for such a sumptuous dining room centerpiece (illustrated H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, 1986, vol. I, p. 388, no. 5.16.15). Another related surtout also by Thomire made for Napoleon's brother Prince Lucien is at the Musée Marmottan, Paris (illustrated in M. Deschamps, Empire, 1994, p. 169). Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the most celebrated bronzier-ciseleur of the Empire period, was born into a family of ciseleurs. He worked initially for the renowned bronziers Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) and Jean-Louis Prieur (d. circa 1785), ciseleur-doreur du roi, and quickly established a reputation for finely chased gilt-bronzes.