These magnificent candelabra, with acanthus-wrapped candle-arms, their female terms supporting fruit-filled baskets and classical urn stem with a frieze of Bacchic revelries, relate to the work of the celebrated bronzier Franois Rmond, matre-doreur in 1774. A pair of related candelabra with stems in the form of classically-draped ladies supporting baskets, their candle-arms terminating in Egyptian masks was purchased by the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre in 1785 from Rmond's workshop for the salon de Musique of the Parisian htel of Princess Kinsky, (anonymous sale Christie's Monaco, 15 June 1997, lot 91). Other candelabra attributed to Rmond, with urn-form supports inset with classical relief friezes and candle-arms terminating in female masks and a similar use of delicately scrolling rinceau foliage, are in the Wallace Collection, acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford at the San Donato sale in 1870 (illustrated in P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, vol. III, cat. 247), and in the Huntington Collection, San Marino, California (illustrated in R. Wark, French Decorative Art in the Huntington Collection, Pasadena, 1961, cat. 94).
Franois Rmond (1747-1812) was one of the pre-eminent bronziers of his time, rapidly rising to prominence after his matrise 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 Dominique Daguerre, for whom he supplied work valued at the staggering sum of 920,000 livres between 1778 and 1792. It is interesting to note, therefore, that on 23 March 1782 he invoiced Daguerre for 'deux basrelief pour girandolle ciselure monture...', which may well have been similar to the relief panels on the Alexander candelabra. These reliefs are on a more ambitious scale than on the other candelabra already cited - and perhaps the closest parallel can be found in the large scale relief mounts he supplied for the bniste David Roentgen, for instance on a bureau acquired by Catherine II of Russia which is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu (illustrated in C. Bremer-David, Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993, cat. 397).
A clue to the possible origins of the remarkable bas-relief vases forming the supports of these candelabra may be found in the fact that Rmond frequently collaborated with the sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot, who worked with the renowned bronzier Pierre Gouthire in the early 1770's and from 1773 was Director of the Manufacture Royale de Svres. Boizot provided designs for many of the sculptural mounts that Rmond provided for Roentgen's furniture, while in 1788 he received a payment of 218 livres from Rmond for solde de groupe, bas-reliefs et figures du Temps... (C. Baulez, 'David Roentgen et Franois Rmond', L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, September 1996, p. 112). A model for a vase attributed to Boizot from the Svres manufactory executed in plaster, with a frieze of Bacchic figures and of the same distinctly tapering form as on these candelabra, is illustrated in A. Poulet et al., 'Clodion', Paris, 1992, Exhibition Catalogue, p. 241. Two pairs of vases in pierre de Tonnerre by Claude Michel, known as Clodion (1738-1814), created for the salle de bains of the htel de Besenval and possibly based on the Svres vase attributed to Boizot, are illustrated op. cit., cat. 46-9. Another possible inspiration for the vases may be a design by the dessinateur Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810) which he exhibited at the Salon of 1787 and which incorporates many of the key elements of these vases, including the classical tripod perfume-burner and the herm figure draped with Bacchic garlands.
The Chappey sale catalogue is included in lot 325.