A ROYAL COMMISSION?
Conceived in the manner of Roman urn-capped pier-set companions for a table and a mirror these imposing guéridons bear the crowned cypher of a prince de sang of France. Set in golden bas reliefs within the octagonal compartments of the tray tops the golden cypher allows a number of interpretations, and while one reading of the cypher has been 'LXA', this does not appear to tie up with the initials of any Prince 'of the Blood of France' of the late 17th century.
GUERIDONS BY BOULLE
The design for these elegantly elongated guéridons fuses elements from an engraving by Mariette published after 1707 of the design for a guéridon (or torchère) by André-Charles Boulle. Mariette's engraving, published in his Nouveaux Deisseins de Meubles et Ouvrages de Bronze et de Marqueterie Inventés et gravés par André-Charles Boulle, depicts a guéridon with a baluster-shaped shaft flanked with ram's masks, which have here been elevated to the capital of the stems. While the intriguing 'hook-handled' vase forming the base of the stem is related to the mid-17th century designs of Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664), as illustrated in his Raccolta di Vasi Diversi.. (see Designs of Desire: Architectural and Ornamental Prints and Drawings 1500-1850, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1999, cat. 46 pp. 122-123), and, though not found in Boulle's designs for guéridons, his engraved designs for chenets feature such krater-shaped vases with these distinctive handles.
With their blue stained-horn panelling imitating lapis lazuli or polished steel and profuse bas-relief decoration in ormolu these torchéres form an addition to the so far recorded patterns of Boulle's torchéres. That this type of torchére existed is underlined by the George Watson-Taylor sale at Christie's on 28 May 1825, where lots 32-33 were described as:-
32 An elegant Candelabrum, the stem of terminal shape upon a scalloped plinth, and with octogonal top, the ground imitation of Lapis Lazuli, strongly bordered with or-moulu, and the panels enriched with reliefs of the same
33 A Ditto.
These were purchased by the London dealer Fogg for 99gns 15s. on behalf of George IV.