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A PAIR OF EMPIRE ORMOLU SEVEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA
A PAIR OF EMPIRE ORMOLU SEVEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA

BY PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, CIRCA 1815

Details
A PAIR OF EMPIRE ORMOLU SEVEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA
BY PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, CIRCA 1815
Each depicting three classical maidens holding torches, surmounted by four further nozzles, on a circular pedestal mounted with putti holding garlands, stamped 'THOMIRE A PARIS.', the branch arrangement altered and with later central nozzle
25 ½ in. (64.5 cm.) high; 8 ½ in. (21.5 cm.) diameter
Provenance
Count Charles de Beistegui, Château de Groussay; sold Sotheby's & Poulain le Fur house sale, 2-6 June 1999, lot 240.
Literature
C. Aslet, 'Château de Groussay, the Home of Juan de Beistegui', Country Life, 18 June 1987, p. 161.

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Lot Essay

Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1833) was the most important Parisian manufacturer of gilt bronzes in the early 19th century. He studied sculpture at the Academy of Saint-Luc, where his talent was noted by Houdon. He was apprenticed to Pierre Gouthière and was received as maître-fondeur in 1772. As well as Gouthière he worked for Prieur, before opening his own atelier in 1776. Thomire supplied mounts to ébénistes such as Weisweiler and Benneman, and also collaborated with Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, the artistic director of the Sèvres porcelain manufactory, to whom he supplied mounts. Thomire took over as Director of the Sèvres Manufactory upon Duplessis' death in 1783, supplying all gilt-bronze mounts to the Manufactory. He established a new business under the name Thomire, Duterme et Cie. in 1804 and was appointed 'Ciseleur de l'Empereur' by Napoleon in 1809. In 1811 he collaborated with the silversmith Odiot on the execution of the celebrated cradle for the King of Rome.

These candelabra closely relate to a pair forming part of a surtout-de-table by Thomire, dated 1810-14, which was commissioned for Napoleon's brother, Prince Lucien Bonaparte, and is now in the collection of the Musée Marmottan, Paris. They differ slightly, issuing six branches from a cast tazza above the three classical maidens. The present candelabra were possibly originally of a similar form but the tazze are now lacking and the branches that would originally have issued from them are now attached directly above the figures. A second comparable candelabrum by Thomire, circa 1815, was originally part of a surtout-de-table supplied to King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, and is now in the Wittelsbach Collection, Munich. It was cast after a model by the sculpteur Henri-Victor Roguier (1758-1841) and features the same three classical maidens supporting a basket, though the base is cast with three putti rather than a plinth (H. Ottomeyer & P. Pröschel, et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, pp. 382-383, figs. 5.16.2 and 5.16.3).

Thomire collaborated on several important commissions with Roguier. One of the most important objects Thomire supplied to Napoleon was the Vase du Marriage de l'Empereur, which was commissioned by Brongniart to commemorate Napoleon's second marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria (d. 1847) in 1810. The campana form vase was mounted with a frieze designed by Roguier depicting the wedding party (J. Niclausse, Thomire, Paris, 1947, pl. 17). Roguier also modelled the figures for the aforementioned cradle of the King of Rome.

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