The playful design of these finely chased chenets is derived from the celebrated 18th century model by Jacques Caffieri. Modelled with a seated dog and cat, the original model was recorded in a 1755 inventory taken from Jacques Caffieri's workshop. His son Philippe Caffieri supplied a pair of chenets featuring a cat and poodle, probably of the same model than the present lot, to the Prince de Condé in 1773, at a cost of 1,120 livres (S. Eriksen, Early Neo-Classicism in France, London, 1974, p. 357 pl. 223). Three closely related examples, including one virtually identical dog with its original block feet, are illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Proschel,Vergoldete Bronzen, vol. 1, Munich, 1986, p.201. Further examples were sold in the Collection of the Late Thelma Chrysler Foy, Parke Bernet, 13-16 May 1959, lot 293.
The present firedogs were in the collection of Jean Paul Pierre Casimir-Perier (1847-1907), who served as President of France from 1894 to 1895. He was born in Paris, the son of Auguste Casimir-Perier, the grandson of Casimir Pierre Perier, premier of king Louis Philippe, and the great grandson of Claude Périer, one of the founders of the Bank of France. In 1873 Perier married Hélène Perier-Vitet (1854-1912), a fellow member of the affluent Parisian bourgeoisie. Following his political retirement, they resided in the imposing château de Vizille, in Isère, where they frequently entertained members the capital's high society.