Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, "Vergoldete Bronzen", 1986, p. 288, pl. 4.16.3, illustrating a near identical wall-light in the Jones Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
A superb pair of Louis XVI gilt bronze two-light wall-lights after a design by Jean Hauré, each with the backplate surmounted by a putto playing a pair of pipes held in both hands, his torso issuing from a scrolled acanthus that is terminated by a pair of foliate scrolled candle branches surmounted by vase-shaped nozzles with gadrooned rims above a circular drip-pan with beaded border, the branches set upon elaborate foliate-wrapped scrolls that extend to the lower acanthus-wrapped backplate, centred by an upright thyrsus and encircled by a by a pair of entwined downward facing thyrsuses
Paris, date circa 1787
Height 42 cm. each.
Ottomeyer and Pröschel note that on the basis of archive material one can ascribe the model for these wall-lights to Jean Hauré (fl. 1774-96), who delivered near identical works to the French royal court in 1787. Elsewhere it is noted that models of this design were cast by Forestier (either Pierre-Auguste Forestier (1755-1835) maître-fondeur-ciseleur or his brother Étienne-Jean Forestier) and chased by the esteemed ciseleur Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) for the Château de Saint-Cloud.
The Parisian sculptor Jean Hauré is probably better known in his role as entrepreneur des Meubles de la Couronne. Having trained under Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne he became a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc in about 1774. In that same year he exhibited at the Hôtel Jabach a clock case which had allegorical references to the King and Queen. Ten years later he was given a position working for the Crown, which he continued up until the Revolution when he supervised as well as subcontracted the creation of some of the finest pieces of furniture and bronzes for the royal palaces. Some of this work involved him working with the royal ébéniste Guillaume Benneman especially in the updating of a number of commodes originally made by Joseph Stöckel. He also employed a number of other distinguished craftsmen including the menuisier J-B Sené as well as the bronziers Claude Galle, Forestier, Tournay and Thomire. One such project overseen by Hauré was the supply of a set of gilt-bronze wall-lights delivered for Marie-Antoinette's card-room for her Salon des Jehu at Compiègne, for which the wax and wooden model was carved by Martin, then cast by Forestier, and finally chased by Thomire. In his capacity as entrepreneur, Hauré also supplied other bronzes d'ameublement for the royal palaces such as a set of chenet that were delivered to Louis XVI's Salon de Jeu at Fontainebleau in 1786.
Pierre-Auguste and Étienne-Jean Forestier, sons of the bronzier Étienne Forestier (c. 1712-1768) continued their father's business after his death. Their names, usually without any distinguishing initials often appeared amongst the names of fondeurs responsible for furniture mounts in the accounts of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne during the latter part of Louis XVI's reign. Other commissions involved the creation of gilt bronze ornaments for the stair rail in the Garde-Meuble building at Versailles as well as gilt bronze decorations for Prince de Condé at the Palais Bourbon, 1779-80 as well as the Cabinet de la Méridienne at Versailles, 1781.
Pierre-Philippe Thomire's name is probably the most famous amongst all of those that worked for Hauré. Born in Paris, he trained under the sculptors Jean-Antoine Houdon and Augustin Pajou at the Académie St. Luc, Paris and then followed his father's profession as a fondeur-ciseleur. His career was advanced when he studied under the great fondeur-doreur, Pierre Gouthière. Appointed a maître-fondeur in 1772, he set up his own business in 1776 following a collaboration with Jean-Louis Prieur in the decoration of Louis XVI's coronation coach. By the late eighteenth century Thomire had achieved considerable renown, having enjoyed the patronage of Louis XVI. His pre-Revolutionary fame was subsequently eclipsed when he received numerous commissions from Napoleon and his family as well as many royal courts and the cream of the European society.