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Ancienne Collection Beurdeley, France. Christie's, Paris, le 17 déc. 2003, lot 312.
Anthony Embden, Paris.
F. Souchal, French sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries - The reign of Louis XIV, Oxford, 1977, I, pp. 236-237 et Londres, 1993, IV, pp. 66-67.
Post Lot Text
A BRONZE FIGURE OF LOUIS XIV
ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN BAPTISTE DEFER (1674-AFTER 1714), EARLY 18TH CENTURY Depicted standing in contrapposto, wearing elaborate armour and with his left hand resting on a shield, inscribed 'Nec. Pluribusse.Impart', with a cockerel by his right foot on a base inscribed 'Louis XIIII Roy.de frence./et.de navarre', all on an integrally cast square base and modern revolving plinth, the underside of the bronze with the remains of a paper label inscribed '5, Ru.../P'; on a rectangular tapering red marble pedestal column on a spreading base with re-entrant corners; reddish brown patina with light brown high points; very minor casting flaws, minor chips to pedestal column
Little is known about the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Defer (1674-after 1714), apart from the fact he was awarded a number of prizes in his youth, and that he studied in Rome between 1699 and 1700. The majority of his work consists of relief decoration for various projects, including the chapel at Versailles (Souchal, op. cit., I, pp. 236-237). This bronze is a small replica of a marble commissioned in 1704 for the garden of J.-B. de Waldorf, the representative of the Elector of Cologne. It represents the king in a heroic pose wearing armour and holding a richly decorated shield. Alongside him is a pedestal inscribed with his name and his most important titles, topped by the French cockerel.
The composition is recognised from two other bronzes listed by Souchal, including one that is unfinished and another that is described as having formed part of the Beurdeley collection (Souchal, op. cit., IV, pp. 66-67). This bronze is remarkable for its rich patina and for its meticulous detail, including the breastplate and the shield bearing the emblems of the French monarchy and the Sun King himself.