These animalier groups are after the celebrated model first supplied by the marchand-fondeur Quentin-Claude Pitoin (1770-86) for the salon octagone of Madame du Barry at the château de Fontainebleau on 28 October 1772 (P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1987, pp. 57-59, fig. 51-2). After the death of Louis XV in 1774, Madame du Barry moved the chenets to Louveciennes. They were greatly admired by Riesener, Julliot and Lignereux when, acting as Government Commissioners in January 1795, they valued them at 9,000 livres, remarking: 'Peut-être l'object le plus fini, le plus délicatement excuté en bronze que la cizelure ait encore produite. L'orfèvrerie a pu présenter des morceaux aussi légèrement evidés, mais le bronze ici joint au même succés une difficult d'exécution incroyable'. The model was repeated on a number of occasions after 1772 for the use of the Royal family, most notably for Louis XVI's newly redecorated bibliothèque at Versailles circa 1775. Another pair was supplied for the salon des jeux at Compiègne.
A pair in the Wrightsman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum, New York (F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection II: Furniture, Gilt Bronze, Mounted Porcelain Carpets, New York, 1966, nos. 199 A & B, pp. 382-5) belonged to the comte de Vergennes (1717-1787) and was later in the possession of the bronze founders Baguès, who specialized in reproductions of bronzes d'ameublement in the 19th Century. Moreover, in the 1829 sale of L. F. Feuchère père's moulds, it was further indicated that the copyright for lot 39 'Deux beaux bronzes, cerf et sanglier sur marbre' was retained by the vendor. Both Baguès and Feuchère could easily have been responsible for these groups.
The design of the boar is after the antique 'Uffizi' boar, now in the Mercato Nuovo, Florence