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    Sale 7569

    19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics

    19 March 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 165

    A PAIR OF RUSSIAN ORMOLU ELEVEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA VASES

    AFTER THE MODEL BY CLODION, CAST BY CHOPIN, ST. PETERSBURG, LATE 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF RUSSIAN ORMOLU ELEVEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA VASES
    AFTER THE MODEL BY CLODION, CAST BY CHOPIN, ST. PETERSBURG, LATE 19TH CENTURY
    Each vase of tapering form applied with two grotesque masks hung with laurel garlands above a frieze cast in relief with depictions of putti pulling the drunken infant Silenus, supported by a circular stepped socle atop a square base bearing a JA or BA monogram and Cyrillic Chopin foundry mark, surmounted by a waisted neck with central square candelabrum issuing ten acanthus scrolled branches, each terminating in fluted nozzle with gadrooned drip-pan
    38½ in. (98 cm.) high (2)


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    Félix Chopin was the son of the Parisian fondeur Julien Chopin. After beginning his career in Paris he moved to St. Petersburg in 1838 and around 1841 acquired the workshop of Alexander Guérin which was on the verge of bankruptcy. A keen entrepreneur, Chopin soon revitalized the business by moving to new premises and employing new craftsman, however the real secret to his success was his keen eye that responded quickly to the slightest change in fashion. Chopin was for over forty years the principal supplier to the Russian Imperial Court and, despite his prodigious output, was so in demand that he risked currying disfavour by declining prestigious orders. Notable commissions included chandeliers and sconces for the Kremlin Palace in Moscow (1845-1849), chandeliers, clocks and candelabra for the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg (1849), the Tsarevich's personal palace in Peterhof (1850) and the palace of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (1855-1886). At the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878 he presented a Louis XVI style bronze and malachite console table and various ormolu objets d'art.

    The ovoid vase bodies of these candelabra are after a model by the celebrated sculptor Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738-1814), made during his time at the French Academy in Rome from 1762 to 1771. One noted terracotta example, formerly in the collection of the princely Russian Dolgoroukov family, is now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. With characteristic flare Chopin combines the vases with a Régence style of tiered close-branch candelabra thus creating a stylistic mélange of baroque, rococo and neo-classicism. The base edge of each is inscribed with a JA or BA monogram. Although it is not known to whom this relates, the inscription appears to be contemporary, and given that Chopin was the choice bronzier of the Imperial Court, it is likely to represent a suitably noble patron.

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