Bo Vahlne “Le Château de Rosendal, Reflet de la Culture au temps de Charles Jean. Un Portefeuille de dessins anis que des Photographies Anciennes et Récentes”, 1986, pp. 42-43, illustrating a very similar chandelier supplied by Pessonneaux et Colomb to Carl XIV Johan, King of Sweden and Norway for the Yellow Salon at Rosendal Castle. Håkan Groth, “Neoclassicism in the North: Swedish Furniture and Interiors 1770-1850”, 1990, p. 195, pl. 183, illustrating the Yellow Salon at Rosendal showing Pessonneaux et Colomb’s comparable chandelier hanging above a pair of bronze and marble candelabra that they also supplied in circa 1827.
A magnificent Restauration gilt bronze and crystal glass eight-light chandelier attributed to the Parisian firm of Pessonneaux et Colomb surmounted by an elaborate band of alternate acanthus and lotus palmettes above a corona ring supporting below a faceted crystal glass bowl mounted at centre by a gilt bronze pineapple-shaped boss. The corona ring mounted by four rosettes, from which hang four sets of linked chains, each comprising at top a wreath of roses above foliate shaped pulls alternating with rectangular panels with semi-circular ends cast with flower heads and cut-out centres enclosing oval glass drops. The four linked chains supporting an enclosed circular dished tazza with shaped top surmounted by a flaming finial, the side of the tazza cast with flower heads and rosettes and issuing eight scrolled trumpet-shaped candle branches cast at their lowers end with foliate scrolls and rosettes and at the upper part with acanthus leaves, issuing circular drip-pans and vase-shaped nozzles. The tazza ring above a faceted glass bowl mounted at centre by a gilt bronze foliate and pineapple-shaped boss. Now wired for electricity
Paris, date circa 1825-35
Height 85 cm, diameter 62 cm.
This superb French chandelier was almost certainly by the Parisian firm Pessonneaux et Colomb since it compares closely to a number of others made of gilt bronze and crystal glass by the same firm. Among similar examples were three supplied in circa 1827 by Pessonneaux et Colomb to the Swedish King Carl XIV Johan (1763-1844) to adorn his newly built Rosendal Castle, of which one hangs in the Yellow Salon. As here they feature a facetted cut glass bowl below and suspend from almost identical linked bronze chains enclosing crystal drops but unlike this example the candle branches are formed as swans and above the central dished tazza there is a bunch of artificial flowers. Interestingly there are two other similar chandeliers at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel in the Weissensteinflügel, which are also believed to have been from Pessonneaux et Colomb.
King Carl XIV Johann purchased the Rosendal estate on the outskirts of Stockholm in 1817, the year before he ascended the throne. However two years later the original property burnt down, which offered the king an opportunity to build his own castle, most of which was completed by 1826. Thereafter he set about adorning the interior. The king was keen to have his furniture and silks made in Sweden. Many of the chandeliers were also made in Sweden but some, like those cited above and the majority of Rosendal’s clocks and candelabra were made in Paris. These were supplied by two firms – Galle as well as Pessonneaux et Colomb. The latter had an agent in Stockholm named Pichot who knew exactly how to meet the King’s tastes and demands and thus in addition to the three chandeliers Pessonneaux et Colomb also supplied nearly all the glass to Rosendal as well as many of the candelabra, such as an extremely large pair made from marble and bronze that stood in the Yellow Salon in front of long mirrors so as to reflect maximum light.
Pessonneaux and Colomb also produced figural clocks, of which a number were supplied to Rosendal Castle. Among them was one featuring Diana the mythological goddess of hunting with a young stag (of which there is an identical model illustrated in Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 398, pl. 5.18.15). Other clocks supplied by the firm to Rosendal was one showing Hercules standing against the clock’s dome, which graces the Lantern Room at Rosendal (illustrated in Håkan Groth, op. cit, p. 198, pl. 185). One can also cite other clocks bearing the firm’s name such as one with the seated figure of Psyche.
Frustratingly very little has been written and researched into businesses such as Pessonneaux et Colomb but clearly from the evidence they were an important firm who supplied chandeliers, candelabra and clocks and in due course fabrics and other furnishings to a number of important clientele. The business was run by Etienne Pessonneaux and Jean Charles Antoine Barthélémy Colomb as a Société, which from all accounts involved subscribers, each of whom purchased billets to be a member of the society; some of those members were Paris merchants such as Monsieur Maupetit of rue de Clarry while other members, such as A.-J. and A. Obert were from Amsterdam, where Pessonneaux and Colomb had established a branch in Kalverstraat. We know from the inventory made after the death of Jean Charles Antoine Barthélémy Colomb that he died on 31st March 1833 at his Paris home at no. 7 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, where he had lived with his wife Marie-Laure Liégeois and several young children and was also the address given for some of the firm’s transactions. After Colomb’s death his widow inherited his side of the business but on 15th January 1834 she and Pessonneaux began filing for liquidation although the matter was still being heard in the courts in 1838 at which point the firm had been declared bankrupt. We also know that their business was variously listed as being operated from no 8 rue Fossés Montmartre, while the Société Pessonneaux et Colomb was based at no 11 rue Neuve-du-Luxembourg.
Such was Pessonneaux et Colomb’s standing that they counted among their clientele a number of important society figures. Among them were French nobles such as Monseigneur le vicomte Dubouchage and his wife la dame vicomtesse Lavallette Dubouchage. An account in the “Gazette des Tribunaux”, 2nd January 1829 notes how Pessonneaux et Colomb were appealing to the French chancellor Viscount Dambray that the Vicomte and his wife still owed them the sum of 8500 francs and that although the court had previously agreed that the money should be paid, their invoice was still outstanding. Elsewhere Pessonneaux et Colomb are listed as having supplied fabrics, leather, upholstered furniture and other furnishings to adorn Schloss Rosenstein and its estate properties in Stuttgart, built for the German King Wilhelm I, 1824-29.
By then Pessonneaux and Colomb had diversified the range of their stock to include silk fabrics and furnishings in order to meet the wishes of their clientele. To this end they began trading in silks and other fabrics made at Lyon in association with one of the town’s merchants Auguste-Barthélémy Boyer. The three men agreed that the headquarters was to be in Lyon and that Boyer was to manage the partnership with Pessonneaux et Colomb being on the board and that the amount invested was to be 40,000 francs with the promise of an additional loan of 10,000 francs and any other money that Pessonneaux et Colomb thought necessary. When the three signed the contract, it was agreed that that particular business venture was to last exactly six years, from 21st August 1831 up until 19th August 1837; at that point little did they realise that Colomb’s life was to be cut short. In 1832, soon after the latter agreement was signed, Pessonneaux et Colomb acquired a silk manufacturing business from Jardin-Pepin of Chambley in the Oise district. However, in 1834, (the year after Colomb’s death), there was a question as to whether when acquiring Jardin-Pepin, Pessonneaux had actually also purchased the right to use the specific invention in Chambley since the patent taken out to cover this particular manufacturing process, was still in the name of Pepin and had not been transferred at the time of the purchase of the business (as noted in “Recueil Général des Arrêts du Conseil d’État” 1834).
Finally it should be noted that although the present chandelier was made in France, stylistically it compares with others made about the same time in Russia. This was because Russian craftsmen, particularly those from St Petersburg were looking to Paris for inspiration. Thus one can find comparable chandeliers made for the Imperial Russian palaces at Saint-Petersburg such as Mopaliid at Peterhof, the Catherine Palace and the Yusupov Palace.