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Sublime large pair of Empire period candlesticks attributed to Thomire

Large pair of Empire period candlesticks attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

This rare pair of Empire period “Zephyr” candlesticks in chiseled bronze, attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, presents itself in its original mercury gilding. The chiseled round base shows a rich ornamentation of oak leaves and Zephyr heads while the knurled stem presents diamond rosettes with ornamental leaves and listels. The exactly same model of candlesticks attributed to Thomire is inventoried at the Mobilier National and represented in the book by Marie-France Dupuy-Baylet. Those come from the inventory of the apartment of the intendant general of the Extraordinary Domain.

This pair of French Empire candlesticks has been executed in an excellent quality with mat and shiny gilding. They are in an exceptional state of conservation.

France, Empire period circa 1805.

Dimensions

Height 32.5 cm, diameter of the base: 14.5 cm.
Weight: 2.0 kg (for the pair).

Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843)

Pierre-Philippe Thomire was a French sculptor, who became the most prominent producer of ornamental patinated and gilt-bronze objects and furniture mounts in the First French Empire period. Although trained as a sculptor, Thomire decided to follow his father into the profession of bronze caster. He had received his training in the workshop of Pierre Gouthière, the outstanding Parisian ciseleur-doreur working in the Louis XVI style, before establishing his own shop in 1776.

In 1804 Thomire acquired the business of the marchand-mercier, Martin-Eloi Lignereux. The company employed a large workforce in a workshop at rue Boucherat and a showroom at rue Taitbout. From there Thomire retailed a large range of decorative objects inspired by antiquity including candelabra, extravagant centrepieces, clock cases and monumental Greek and Roman style urns and vases.

Thomire became the leading Parisian gilt metal manufacturer and gilder of the early nineteenth century. He supplied finely chased mounts to leading Parisian ébénistes for furniture, clock cases and mounts for the Sèvres porcelain factory. He was much patronised by Napoleon who made him Ciseleur de l’Empereur in 1809. Because of the large number of pieces Thomire supplied to the palaces, his firm became fournisseur de leurs majestés (Furniture Suppliers to their Majesties) two years later.His work represents some of the finest examples of the Empire design.

At the height of his business, it is estimated that Thomire employed six or seven hundred workers. Thomire retired from his firm in 1823.

Literature

  • Collection du Mobilier National, inv. GML-3166-001
  • Dupuy-Baylet (Marie-France), “L’Heure, le Feu, la Lumière. Les bronzes du Mobilier national 1800-1870”, Dijon, 2010, p. 102, notice 47

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