Louis XVI Bronze And Ormolu Figural Group By Thomire
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Louis XVI Bronze And Ormolu Figural Group By Thomire
A Fine Louis XVI Patinated bronze and ormolu or gilt bronze figural group. The bronze attributed to Pierre-Phillipe Thomire (1751-1843) and design attributed to Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810). French, circa: 1785-1795. Measuring: 14" high. Weight: 20 pounds.

The bronze group depicts a classical dressed female maiden most probably a Vestal Virgin holding an offering vessel in ormolu. Standing to her side is a cherub supporting his offering in his garment which is a young bird. The statues are raised upon circular Carrara marble plinth adorned with ormolu chains. The column is supported upon an octagonal sided marble base supporting a large ormolu ring.

Lost wax method of bronze casting. Hand chasing and chiseling of the surface. Original patina present and intact. The ormolu is Mercury gilded with both Matt finish and highly burnished areas of highlight. Gilding is original and in tact.

Related bronze works by thomire are listed in { Hans Ottomeyer / Peter Proschel, Vergoldete Bronzen , pages 297-299} One such bronze work is in the Getty Museum.

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Literature:

Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810)

He was a Draftsman and a Sculptor and although Jean-Guilluame Moitte won the 1768 Prix de Rome for sculpture, it was as a draftsman that he first earned his living. He drew designs for the silversmith Robert-Joseph Auguste. In 1783 he finally started receiving commissions for several statues and low reliefs, including decorations for tollhouses designed by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. In 1795 he won the competition to create a monument to Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Literature:

Pierre-Phillipe Thomire (1751-1843).

Although trained as a sculptor, Pierre-Philippe Thomire decided to follow his father into the potentially more lucrative profession of bronze caster, becoming the most important one of the late 1700s. Before setting up his own establishment in 1775, Thomire trained in the workshop of Pierre Gouthière.

Thomire's big break came when he began assisting Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, the artistic director of the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, in making mounts. When Duplessis died in 1783, Thomire took over his job, supplying all the gilt bronze mounts for the porcelain. This work kept him in business throughout the French Revolution, when many other producers went bankrupt. In 1804 he bought the business of a marchand-mercier, thus allowing him to sell furniture, Sèvres porcelain, and decorative objects, which he produced in his own workshops.

In 1809 the Emperor Napoleon made him ciseleur de l'empereur (Engraver to the Emperor); 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. Thomire's business managed to survive even after Napoleon's downfall, winning numerous medals at various exhibitions. He finally retired at the age of seventy-two but continued to work as a sculptor, exhibiting at the Salon until he was in his eighties.
Robert L. Reese Antiques & Fine Art © 2004