Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 294, pl. 4.17.1, illustrating a gilt and patinated bronze lamp with the figure of L’Étude after Simon-Louis Boizot, circa 1790, of almost identical overall design but with a candle nozzle issuing from a flaming finial. And pl. 4.17.3, illustrating a gilt and patinated bronze chenet of circa 1790 in the Grand Trianon, Versailles, featuring the same figure of L’Étude seated on an Antique daybed. And pl. 4.17.4, illustrating a portrait painting of Empress Elizabeth Alexejevna by Jean-Laurent Mosnier, which includes an almost identical L’Étude oil lamp upon on a ledge beside the sitter. And p. 298, pl. 4.18.6, illustrating a pen and ink and wash design from the workshop of Pierre-Philippe Thomire of circa 1785 in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, showing two alternative designs for a number of decorative objects for a chimneypiece including a design for a similar L’Étude oil lamp placed upon the mantelpiece. And p. 294, pl. 4.17.2, illustrating a Sèvres biscuit porcelain figure of Philosophie of circa 1782, after the model by Simon-Louis Boizot, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
A very fine pair of Louis XVI gilt and patinated bronze decorative oil lamps attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire after a model by Simon-Louis Boizot featuring the figures of L’Étude and La Philosophie, the former in classical dress wearing her long hair gathered in a coil and seated reading from an open book on her lap, the latter wearing a loin cloth as he writes on a tablet that rests upon his knees, both seated upon an Antique oil lamp with a gilt gadrooned lower body and spreading circular patinated foot on a square gilt and marble rouge base
Paris, date circa 1785
Height 35 cm, width 35 cm. each.
The J. P. Getty Museum, California owns an almost identical pair of oil lamps, which are dated to circa 1785 and attributed to the renowned fondeur-ciseleur Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) after the model by Simon-Louis Boizot (1743-1809). Like the present pair they were made purely as decorative objects and were not intended to be functional, although models of a similar design were in fact adapted to act as candle holders (as illustrated in Ottomeyer, op. cit. p. 294, pl. 4.17.1). The two classical figures, representing allegories of study or learning and that of philosophy, were originally modelled by the sculptor Boizot in 1780. He sold the models to the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, who produced them in white biscuit up until 1786. Boizot had been appointed artistic director of sculpture at Sèvres in 1773 and during his career there oversaw the design of more than 150 of his models reproduced in unglazed porcelain, including official portrait busts of Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette. Like Boizot, Thomire also worked at Sèvres, firstly as an assistant to its artistic director Jean-Claude Duplessis in making the factory’s mounts. Following the latter’s death in 1783, Thomire took over Duplessis’s job and in this capacity supplied all the gilt bronze mounts for the factory’s porcelain. As the Getty cataloguing notes, it was probably because of his close working relationship with Boizot, that Thomire was able to obtain Boizot’s model for the two figures.
The figures of L’Étude and La Philosophie, which became very fashionable, also appeared on a series of clock cases by François Rémond (1747-1812). Rémond’s watercolour design of 1785 shows the two figures seated either side of the clock drum, which in turn is surmounted by an eagle (Ottomeyer and Pröschel, p. 295, pl. 4.17.5). Rémond’s design arose from a commission by the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, who in 1788 supplied two clocks of that model to Louis XVI at Saint-Cloud. Other clocks of the same design can be seen in the British Royal Collection and the Hermitage at St. Petersburg.