THE MODEL SUPPLIED BY DAGUERRE FOR VERSAILLES
With their acanthus-wrapped scrolled handles headed by Egyptian mask terminals, tasseled ribbon backplate and distinctive splayed eagle with one wing unfurled, these elegant wall-lights are of a model, of which two pairs were delivered to the Crown on 17 December 1786 by the celebrated marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre. A pair of wall lights of this model was sold from a private collection (The Property of a Lady); Christie's London, 19 May 1983, lot 49. These wall lights are almost certainly those now in the Salon des Jeux Roi at the Château de Versailles (illustrated in D. Meyer, Versailles: Furniture of the Royal Palace, Dijon, 2002, no. 40). Daguerre supplied a further three pairs of the same model - fitted like the Versailles example with three branches - for the Salon d'audience du Garde des Sceaux in the Hôtel de la Chancellerie at Versailles.
These wall-lights can be confidently attributed to the ciseleur-doreur François Rémond (1747-1812) who worked extensively with Daguerre and who is recorded to have supplied the latter with 'girandole à Vase et Branche à tête' on two occasions in 1785 (as discussed by P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture III, London, 1996, p. 1254).
Related candelabra featuring such distinctive Egyptian masks include those in the Huntington Collection, San Marino, California (R. Wark, French Decorative Art in the Huntington Collection, Pasadena, 1979, p. 78, fig. 99), a pair with blue-enameled vases attributed to Rémond in the Wallace Collection, London (P. Hughes, op.cit, pp. 1250-5, no. 247 (F134-5)), and a further pair with branches virtually identical to those on the present lot, acquired directly from Daguerre by Lord Palmerston in 1791, which remains at Broadlands, Hampshire (H. Roberts, 'Furniture at Broadlands', Country Life, 5 February 1981, p.347, fig. 6).
The distinctive chain-suspending splayed eagle, with one wing fully unfurled, can also be seen on a pair of ormolu-mounted Chinese porcelain candelabra attributed to Rémond and supplied through Daguerre for Carlton House. Subsequently moved to Windsor Castle in 1828, the Pictorial Inventory design is illustrated in H. Roberts, For the King's Pleasure the Furnishing and Decoration of George IV's Apartments at Windsor Castle, London, 2001, p. 204, fig. 236.
François Rémond was one of the pre-eminent bronziers of his time, rapidly rising to prominence after his maîtrise to the point that in 1786 he had the fourth highest capitalization out of over 800 bronziers in Paris. He worked as a fondeur and ciseleur, as well as a doreur and thus was able to exercise considerable artistic control over his output. In particular, he worked extensively for Daguerre who specialized in supplying objets de luxe to the French Court and, following the Revolution, to the English nobility especially. Rémond is recorded to have supplied Daguerre with an output valued at the staggering sum of 920,000 livres between 1778 and 1792. Rémond later collaborated with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, one of the most important marchands-merciers of the early 19th century (C. Baulez, 'Le Luminaire de la Princesse Kinsky', L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art, May 1991, p. 86 and 92).
FURTHER COMPARABLES AT WINDSOR CASTLE AND PAVLOVSK
Further related examples of wall-lights include a pair in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, similarly featuring ribbon-tied backplates and eagles suspending chains (ill. in situ Ibid., 2001, p. 216, fig. 254) as well as a further variant of the present model, in Maria Feodorovna's Library at Pavlovsk (ill. in Pavlovsk, Le Palais et le Parc, Saint Petersburg, 1976, no. 63).