The fashion for transforming exotic and expensive Chinese porcelain into true 'objets de luxe' with the addition of rich ormolu mounts and often further European porcelain embellishments, reached its zenith in the mid-18th century through the activities of the marchands-mercier such as Lazare Duvaux or Simon-Philippe Poirier, and the present lot is an exemplification of this.
The popularity for mounting Chinese porcelain became such that eventually the mounts began to outrun the value of the porcelain which it adorned. The Livre-Journal of Lazare Duvaux for 1751 notes that Madame de Pompadour paid the extraordinary sum of 1,680 Livres for a pair of ormolu-mounted celadon ewers. The detail with which such rich objects were described in contemporary sale catalogues during the second half of the 18th century, in contrast to the more generalised descriptions of unmounted Chinese porcelain found in earlier inventories, demonstrates the regard in which such objects were held.
Kangxi Chinese porcelain parrots were a particularly popular model, for mounting either plainly, or as is the case with the present lot, as candelabra. A pair of this model, possibly the present, is described in the collection sale of M. l'Abbé Le Blanc, Paris, 14 February 1781, lot 120: 'Deux perroquets bleus, posé sur leur terrace violette & garnie de branchages, portant deux bobèches'. Similar models exist in various colours including turquoise as per the current example, but also polychrome and blanc-de-chine. Two pairs of similar turquoise parrots mounted with ormolu bases are recorded in the Livre Journal of Lazare Duvaux: one pair was delivered to M. de Presle on 7 November 1752 for 360 livres, another to M. d’Azincourt on 2 October 1754 for 432 livres. A similar pair of turquoise-glazed parrots were later supplied to Marie-Antoinette for Versailles, and are now in the collection of the musée du Louvre, Paris, and can be seen illustrated in P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1987, p. 26, ill. 12.
A further similar pair of turquoise parrots mounted as candelabra, though lacking the continental porcelain flowers can be found in the Royal Collection (RCIN 486.1-2), and is illustrated in J. Ayers, Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of H. M. the Queen, Vol. II, London, 2016, p. 618, fig. 1440.