L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Objects in bronze doré from the grand salon of Mesdames at Bellevue

From a set of ten, originally, attributed to François Remond (1747 - 1812)

Even though most of these pieces look to be en suite, the bronze work appears to have come from different hands.  The attributions go to Thomire, Gouthière, Feuchère, and Remond.  But whoever did the work, the pieces were delivered by the marchand-mercier François-Charles Darnault, from 1784 to 1786.

Pair of candelabra attributed to Lucien-François Feuchère (active: 1780 - 1828).
(I guess it's not entirely certain that these were part of the grand salon's décor, but they totally "match".)
One of three vases with bronze doré mounts attributed to Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813).
One of a pair of fire-dogs made by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1833) made from a model by the sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot.


Bronze doré - Gilt bronze.

Mesdames - The daughters of Louis XV; in this case, the surviving sisters, Madame Victoire and Madame Adélaïde.  (A third sister, Madame Louise, also survived, but she had become a Carmelite nun in 1771, and resided in the convent at Saint-Denis.)

Bellevue - Chateau in the Parisian suburb of Meudon, built by Louis XV in 1750 for the marquise de Pompadour.  It sat above a slope overlooking the Seine and Paris beyond.  Redesigned by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1757, after their father's death the chateau was given to Mesdames, who had the interior lavishly redecorated.  Abandoned and looted during the Revolution, it was demolished in 1823, and new buildings were built on the site.

Marchand-mercier - A businessman working outside the very strictly regulated French craft guild system of the 17th and 18th centuries.  They were mainly purveyors of objets d'art, but had many of the attributes of a modern interior designer, providing their clients with furniture, bronze work, porcelain, and all manner of household objects.  Additionally, they were often very like a general contractor because, being outside of the system, they were able to coordinate the work of the individual guilds.  For example, a cabinet maker was not allowed to produce the bronze or porcelain decoration for his furniture, so the marchand-mercier coordinated with the makers of each of the design elements of a piece of furniture.  They arranged to have Chinese porcelain mounted in bronze, they had Japanese lacquer panels cut down and re-purposed in new furniture; they really directed the creation of some of the greatest furniture and décor that has ever been produced.  The Encyclopédie characterized the marchand-merciers as "sellers of everything, makers of nothing", but they were brilliant tastemakers as much as they were merchants.

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