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A PAIR OF LOUIS XVIII ORMOLU TEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVIII ORMOLU TEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA
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A PAIR OF LOUIS XVIII ORMOLU TEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA

CIRCA 1815-25, AFTER THE MODEL BY FRANCOIS REMOND

Details
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVIII ORMOLU TEN-LIGHT CANDELABRA
CIRCA 1815-25, AFTER THE MODEL BY FRANCOIS REMOND
Each in the form of a tapering vine-swagged urn with flared neck surmounted by fruiting vines and flanked by three cockerels issuing foliate scrolled branches with circular drip-pans and nozzles, above a triform support headed by eagles supporting rings, and terminating in monopodia, on a mille-raie concave-sided base with toupie feet
36 in. (92 cm.) high; 15 ½ in. (39.5 cm.) wide
Provenance
Possibly acquired by Nicolas Demidoff in Paris, in the 1820s for San Donato, Tuscany, and sold by descent to his son Prince Anatole Demidoff, and probably the pair of candelabra sold, 'Palais de San Donato', C. Pillet, house sale, 15 March 1880, lot 1183.
Probably the pair sold from the Collection Gutierrez de Estrada, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 28-29 April 1905, lot 127 (illustrated)
Sold Hôtel Drouot, Pairs, 30 March 1987, lot 99.
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 266, fig. 4.9.7.
N. Arch et al, Carlton House. The Past Glories of George IV's Palace, London, 1991.
P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe sièle, Paris, 2003.

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Lot Essay

This magnificent pair of golden candelabra is after the model by François Rémond (d. 1812); a drawing attributed to the maître-doreur depicts a draft design for a girandole of this model with seven branches (illustrated in Ottomeyer, Pröschel et al., op. cit., vol. I, p. 266, fig. 4.9.5). The design was loosely inspired by antique models of tripods discovered in the mid-18th century at Pompeii and Herculaneum, disseminated through engravings, and subsequently executed by Rémond at the beginning of September 1785. In October 1786, Marie-Antoinette ordered a pair of these candelabra for her new salon des Nobles at the château de Versailles, at a price of 2612 livres. The present pair is an early 19th century model, and it is possible that it was acquired by Nicolas Demidoff (d. 1828) in Paris in the 1820s to furnish the newly-constructed Palace of San Donato outside Florence.

François Rémond was considered one of the foremost doreur sur metaux of the Louis XVI period. Son of a voiturier parisien, he was apprenticed to the maître-doreur, Pierre-Antoine Vial, in 1763, obtaining his lettres de maîtrise in December 1774. Rémond succeeded in attracting prestigious (and demanding) clients including Marie-Antoinette (through Jean-Henri Riesener), the Princess Kinsky (whose commissions for the Hôtel Kinsky in Paris are discussed by C. Baulez in 'Le Luminaire de la Princesse Kinsky', L'Objet d'Art, May 1991, pp. 84-99), the duc de Penthièvre, and the comte d'Artois to whom he supplied a garniture for his Boudoir turc, including the famous ostrich candelabra, now in Versailles (inv. V4776-V4777). The discovery of Rémond’s Livre-Journal in 1983 has enabled a number of chefs-d’oeuvre to be reattributed to him including works formerly credited to Pierre Gouthière. The journal also reveals Rémond’s commercial transactions with ébénistes like Jean-Henri Riesener and David Roentgen, and the marchands-merciers, in particular the celebrated Dominique Daguerre (d. 1796) who was the principal supplier of objets de luxe to Marie Antoinette and the Court. Rémond collaborated extensively with Daguerre, supplying work between 1778-1792 valued at the staggering sum of 920,000 livres.

THE MODEL

The design for such vase candelabra enjoyed enormous success, and numerous variants with slight modifications, including sphinxes and goat's-heads, were subsequently created. On 16 April 1787, Rémond supplied Daguerre eight girandoles en trépied for a total price of 7200 livres, and these can probably be identified as the eight candelabra of this model bought from Daguerre by George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV, for Carlton House.
The larger ten-light model with a vase and cockerels' heads was created around 1786. At this date Thierry in his Guide des étrangers mentions 'Deux magnifiques girandoles en bronze doré d'or moulu, en forme de trépieds avec arabesques et contenant chacune dix bobèches.....ces girandoles.....ont été exécuteés par Daguerre'. A pair of candelabra of this model are recorded in the 1836 Inventory of the collection of Legendre de Lucay, 'Deux riches candélabres anciens en forme de trépied à têtes d'aigles et de coqs entièrement dorés, 300 francs', whilst a further pair were acquired by madame de Brunoy for her hôtel in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and these are perhaps those commissioned for the salon des Nobles for Marie Antoinette at Versailles.

Further candelabra of this model include a pair with ten branches in the Musée du Louvre, Pairs (OA 5288) (the vases in patinated-bronze illustrated in Carl Dreyfus, Musée National du Louvre: Catalogue Sommaire du Mobilier et des Objets d'Art du XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles, 1913, no. 334). Another pair is the chateau de Versailles (illustrated in P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1987, p. 355, fig. 371) and a pair with ten-lights was sold at Christie's, New York, 2 November 2000, lot 43 ($182,000).

THE VILLA SAN DONATO

These princely candelabra were possibly acquired by Nicolas Demidoff in Paris in the 1820s to furnish the newly-constructed Palace of San Donato outside Florence. They are probably the pair sold from the Demidoff Collection in the celebrated San Donato sale, 15 March 1880 and following days, lot 1183, described in the sale catalogue as, 'Une paire de candélabres Louis XVI, en bronze doré et finement ciselé, à dix lumières. Ils onlt la forme de trépied se terminant en pieds de bouc surmontés de têtes d’aigles tenant des anneaux dans leur bec. Ces trépieds enserrent un vase orné de guirlandes de pampres au sommes duquel est un bouquet de rinceaux supportant les lumières et couronné de trois têtes de coq’. Demidoff was already commissioning new works of art in Paris, including the famous Demidoff Service purchased from Odiot between 1817 and 1820. That he was buying objects and furniture from the ancien régime is testified by the magnificent Queen Hortense suite of lacquer furniture by Riesener, which he acquired in the Maelrondt sale in Paris, 15 November 1824, lots 306, 307, 308 (subsequently sold from the Ojjeh Collection, Christie's Monaco, 11 December 1999, lot 35).
The heir of a rich family whose fortune derived from vast mining interests, foundries and land holdings in the Ural mountains, Nicolas Demidoff was born in St. Petersburg in 1773. In 1811 he rented the hôtel de Montesson before returning to Russia. Remarkably his collection of paintings survived the burning of Moscow and he donated them to Moscow University. In 1815, he left Russia finally for Paris and after the death of his wife in 1818, he travelled to Italy and laid the foundations for his legendary Villa at San Donato, near Florence. To furnish the latter he embarked on a voracious buying spree for the very best pictures, furniture and objets d'art that became available on the market.
On his death in 1828, his son Anatole inherited the collection and divided his time equally between Paris and San Donato. At San Donato, he continued to make improvements and ultimately achieved an almost Oriental sense of luxury in the lavish interiors, a sense of which is given by the watercolours now at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence.
Prince Anatole's passion for Bonaparte led to his marriage on 1 November 1840 to Princesse Mathilde, daughter of King Jêrome and niece of Napoleon. After the reunification of Italy, Demidoff left Florence and returned to Paris where he organised a first sale of treasures from San Donato in 1863. From 21 February to 28 April 1870, furniture and objects from fourteen of the principal rooms at San Donato were also sold in Paris. Finally, ten years later in 1880, San Donato was definitively stripped of its treasures in the legendary sale.



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