These superb wall lights, an elegant expression of the fashionable goût Etrusque or arabesque of the 1780's, can be attributed to François Rémond on the basis of two pairs of this model delivered by Rémond in 1784 to the Comte d'Artois for the Palais du Temple, now in the Petit Trianon. They were invoiced originally for the large sum of 1800 livres, which was later adjusted to 1500 livres, and described as '...deux paires de bras à trois branches arabesque sur un vase fond lapis enrichi de frise, tête de satire et de femme...'. The reference to the 'vase fond lapis' indicates that the vase-form backplates of the wall lights offered here were also probably originally blued (see P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français, Paris, 1987, p. 45, fig. 38).
Further pairs of the model include two in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, one with three lights and one with five lights (illustrated in D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tennenbaum and G. Mabille, Gilt Bronzes in the Louvre, Dijon, 2004, pp. 164-5), a pair at Pavlovsk Palace, St. Petersburg (illustrated in E. Ducamp ed., Pavlovsk The Collections, Paris, 1993, p. 195, fig. 58), a pair from a Royal European Collection sold Sotheby's, New York, 31 October 1993, lot 40 ($396,000) and a pair sold Sotheby's, New York, 4 May 1984, lot 7.
As virtually all the examples cited above include additional garlands of fruit and flowers joining the arms (now lacking on the Petit Trianon examples) it is possible that the examples offered here also originally featured similar garlands. However a further pair, part of the collection of the Sheremetevs in the palace of Ostankinow, outside Moscow, does not feature these garlands either, leading to the possible conclusion that the garlands were an optional variant for the model.
The model was adapted and modified later by Thomire when he delivered in 1787 for the salon des jeux du roi at the Château de Saint Cloud a set of six wall lights with the variant feature of replacing the satyr and female masks with three identical female masks with ostrich feather headdresses (see P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, vol. III, pp. 1430-2, cat. 301).
François Rémond (1747-1812) was one of the foremost bronziers of the late Louis XVI period and in 1786 had the fourth highest capitalization out of over 800 bronziers in Paris. He worked for many of the most sophisticated collectors of the day, such as the Comte d'Artois and Princesse Kinsky, as well as supplying a considerable amount of bronzes d'ameublement to the king and queen, all in the style which has come to define the last flowering of the Louis XVI period, the goût Etrusque or arabesque. He worked above all through the celebrated marchand mercier Dominique Daguerre, for whom he supplied work valued at the staggering sum of 920,000 livres between 1778 and 1792.