• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7816

    Le Grand Goût - A Private European Collection

    17 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 15

    AN EMPIRE ORMOLU FIVE SECTION SURTOUT-DE-TABLE

    BY PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, PARIS, CIRCA 1810-20

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN EMPIRE ORMOLU FIVE SECTION SURTOUT-DE-TABLE
    BY PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, PARIS, CIRCA 1810-20
    Of rectangular form with rounded ends, glazed plates and pierced sides depicting seated draped Bacchic figures holding vine garlands, divided by trophy-mounted pilasters surmounted by oval foliate tazze, signed 'THOMIRE A PARIS'
    127 in. (323 cm.) long; 26½ in. (67 cm.) deep


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    This surtout-de-table derives 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 in 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 Gouthèire (1732-1813) and Jean-Louis Prieur (d. circa 1785-1790), ciseleur-doreur du roi, and quickly established a reputation for finely chased gilt-bronzes.

    In 1804, he purchased the business of Martin-Eloy Lignereux, marchand de dorure et meubles, at 41, rue Taitbout, which enabled him to expand his atelier dramatically, employing as many as 800 workers. He adapted well to the new severely classical style of the Empire period influenced by the designers Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine in their Recueil de Décorations Intérieurs (1812). The firm of Thomire, Duterme et Cie. produced a comprehensive range of high quality gilt-bronze objects, including surtouts-de-table, candelabra, vases, clocks and cheminés. Thomire was also honoured with the prestigious title of Ciseleur de l'Empéreur.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium