C. Rowell, “French Furniture at Uppark”, 2007, pp, 267-292, pls. 5 and 4, illustrating and discussing a very similar pair of candelabra in the salon at Uppark House, Sussex with four rather than two lights and set upon a red griotte base to evoke Egyptian porphyry, forming part of a garniture de cheminée with an Apollo clock.
A very fine pair of Directoire gilt and patinated bronze and black marble two-light candelabra attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire and almost certainly acquired at Martin-Eloi Lignereux’s Parisian art establishment, each composed of a patinated bronze Egyptian flame-bearing vestal wearing nothing but a gilt bronze laurel-wreathed girdle around her hips with her hair worn up as she leans against a slightly tapered rectangular pillar surmounted by a tall classical urn with angular handles, each figure supporting across her shoulders scrolled candle branches that issue from the pillar behind and terminate in gilt and patinated foliate plumes to the front and candle branches to the sides, each of which terminate in phaeronic lotus-flowered
Paris, date circa 1800
Height 76 cm, width 29 cm.
In 1803 a very similar pair of candelabra was acquired from the fashionable Parisian art firm run by the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux (b. c. 1750 d. 1809) by Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, 2nd Bt (1754-1846) to redecorate the rooms of his gracious eighteenth century home at Uppark House, Sussex, in the French Empire style. Sir Harry’s candelabra were made as part of a garniture de cheminée which featured at centre an Apollo clock with an Egyptian style pylon-shaped case with a red griotte marble base. The movement of that clock was made by the renowned Parisian clockmaker Charles-Guillaume-Hautemanière, known as Maniere (d. after 1812) while the bronze mounts are attributed to the preeminent bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843). A similar garniture with a central mantel clock featuring the figure of Apollo, likewise originally with a movement by Maniere and a pair of flanking candelabra similar to the present pair but with four lights and verde antico bases mounted with a gilt bronze lyre, was acquired by the Prince of Wales, later George IV from Lignereux. Since both clocks have been attributed to the leading French bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire, it is highly likely that Lignereux had commissioned the flanking pairs of candelabra from the same renowned workshop. It is for that reason that the present candelabra are also attributed to Thomire and likewise presumed to have been retailed by Lignereux, whose business was in fact purchased by Thomire in 1804.
The vogue, especially in Paris, for the Egyptian revival style was largely inspired by studies made during the 1790s by French connoisseur and antiquarian Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (d.1825), director of the Museum Central des Arts and author of “Voyages dans la Basse et la Houte Egypte” published in 1802. In addition to that the publication in 1801 of C. Percier and P. Fontaine’s “Récueil de Décorations Interieures” also helped to disseminate the Egyptian style. This in turn encouraged Lignereux to incorporate Egyptian elements within designs he made for the aforementioned mantelpiece garnitures owned by the Prince of Wales. The Prince had acquired his pieces through the services of Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, who then commissioned similar examples for himself. In addition to those another similar pair from the collection of Lord Gretton was sold by Christie’s London in 2009.