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A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU JARDINIERE
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A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU JARDINIERE

CIRCA 1785, ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE

Details
A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU JARDINIERE
CIRCA 1785, ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE
The foliate entrelac frieze above four caryatid figures flanked by foliate arabesques panels with griffins and central figure of Flora on gadrooned bun feet, the sides similarly decorated with Apollo Sunburst, with pierced winding hole to right side, the base with a frieze of classical musicians, the removable line with original ormolu border but replaced zinc liner, the right side with a later cut-in slot which is not gilded, possibly to do with the original liner (see below), minor losses to mounts
18 in. (46 cm.) high; 25¾ in. (65 cm.) wide; 11 in. (28 cm.) deep
Provenance
Acquired from Henry Scagliola, Geneva, 1966
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Victoria von Westenholz

Lot Essay

Pierre Philippe Thomire (1751-1843)

Conceived in the so-called goût étrusque of the late 1780s, this superb and finely chased jardiniere is embellished with griffins, caryatids and various other motifs characteristic of this jewel-like and sophisticated late Louis XVI style. The 'golden' temple façade has been executed with extraordinary attention to the chasing and the gilding, a tour-de-force of both the ciseleur-fondeur and doreur.
The most probable candidate responsible for its execution is the celebrated Pierre-Philippe Thomire, whose unparallelled chasing skills and vocabulary are both apparent on this superb objet. Various motifs, including the griffins and caryatid figures, appear in his design for a chimney-piece of circa 1785, which incorporates a clock with Vestals, a pot-pourri vase, two candelabra, an oil-lamp and a pair of chenets (H. Ottomeyer/P.Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 298, fig. 4.18.6).

Construction
The jardiniere has a zinc liner with an 18th Century ormolu rim. The earlier zinc liner has been replaced, probably due to corrosion from water, but the ormolu rim is original. The liner sits on two cross-struts at the bottom of the base but also on small cut-outs to the underside of the rim which correspond to the position of nuts at the top of the sides just beneath the edge. In the middle of right hand short sides there is a small vertical cut and it has been suggested that this might have been a winding-hole or pull for a musical clock-mechanism. Although the friezes depict musical putto - which would of course be appropriate ornament for a musical clock base - other constructional factors clearly suggest that this was always conceived as a jardiniere, even if the chef-modèle may also have been interchangeably used for musical clock bases. First and foremost, the vertical cut was pierced after the jardiniere was finished as it is not gilt to the inside, suggesting this was an afterthought perhaps relating to an earlier liner. Moreover, there is no solid contruction to the base to support a mechanism and there are no fixtures or traces of fixtures of a top on which the clock could have been positioned. In addition, the ormolu rim of the jardiniere is the late 18th Century one and this would therefore confirm that this item was always used a jardiniere.

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