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A fine Louis XVI style ormolu and patinated bronze 'American Independence' three-piece garniture
A fine Louis XVI style ormolu and patinated bronze 'American Independence' three-piece garniture


A fine Louis XVI style ormolu and patinated bronze 'American Independence' three-piece garniture
After Pierre-Philippe Thomire, By Alfred Beurdeley, Paris, Second half 19th Century
Comprising a mantel clock and a pair of three-light candelabra: the clock surmounted by a Grecian urn with berried finial, supported by three nereids suspending berried garlands, the drum-shaped case with circular dial with Roman and Arabic chapters and twin-train movement, inscribed A. Beurdeley/A Paris, flanked to each side by a satyr herm, supported on a plinth with concave sides decorated in relief with putti, each corner surmounted by a rooster suspending a swag, the whole supported on the backs of chained leopards, on a concave base with ball feet, the candelabra modelled en suite, each with a Native American finial supported on three lion heads and a quiver of arrows above three ship hulls supported by three Nereids
The clock: 33 in. (83.8 cm.) high; 15½ in. (39.4 cm.) wide; The candelabra: 33 in. (103.8 cm.) high (3)

Lot Essay

The present garniture is modelled after one of Pierre-Philippe Thomire's most important commissions, a magnificent allegorical candelabra presented in 1784 by the City of Paris as a gift to Lafayette, commemorating the Battle of Yorktown, and celebrating the Independence of the United States.

The enchained leopards supporting the candelabra symbolise the conquered British, and the crowing roosters above represent French victory. On the upper part of the candelabra, the sirens are emblematic of the ocean, and the bows of the ships represent the donating city of Paris. The original had three biscuit relief plaques around the base representing: the conclusion of the peace with America; the commencement of hostilities; and Peace overcoming War (see E. Williamson, Les Meubles d'art du Mobilier national, Paris, 1888, vol. II).

A single unsigned candelabrum of this design is preserved in the Louvre (OA5312). Lacking its Indian finial, the Louvre example is instead topped with an extra candleholder. Several variations on the theme were apparently produced, examples of which are retained in private collections. These variations include candelabras with a variety of patinas and combinations of bases, both with and without the Indian finials (see Niclausse & Juliette, Thomire, Fondeur-Ciseleur, Sa vie, son oeuvre, Paris, 1947, pp 13, 68-71).

Although a complete garniture has not been seen, according to de Champeaux, the single candelabra at the Louvre was originally part of a garniture symbolising the declaration of Independence secured by the treaty at Versailles, with the central piece being a Statue of Liberty. Thomire apparently executed three examples of the garniture, one for Lafayette, one for Washington, and one for Louis XVI. The queen of England is reputed to have received a fourth complete garniture, but research has been unable to confirm this. (see A. de Champeaux, Dictionnaire des fondeurs, ciseleurs, modeleurs en bronze et doreurs, Paris, 1886).

Please see lot 250 for a note on Beurdeley.

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