Acquired by the current proprietor of the Galerie Izarn, Paris.
Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, "Vergoldete Bronzen", 1986, p. 563, pl. 1, illustrating a porphyry urn by Jean-François Hermand with similarly shaped angular handles and gilt bronze mounts by Pierre Gouthière of circa 1765 featuring similar beautiful female masks issuing swagged drapery hung from each handle and gathered in a tie beneath the chin of each of the heads, in the Lazienki Palace, Warsaw.
A fine pair of Louis XVI gilt bronze covered urns, each of ovoid form with a domed-shaped cover with a foliate and berried finial above a gadrooned band, the double squared handles terminating in beautiful classical female masks, each with coiled hair gathered beneath their chins, each mask issuing an elaborate floral swag caught by a ribbon-tie hung from a central simulated nail, the lower part of the body with a band of alternate open and pierced stylised stiff leaves on a spiral gadrooned foot on a square base with fluted panels
Paris, date circa 1780-85
Height 40 cm, width 19 cm. each.
Typical of the Neo-classical style, these fine urns can be compared with other refined Parisian luxury items of the period. Their design compares closely to the above mentioned urn by the eminent fondeur-doreur Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) who was one of the most famous of the Parisian chasers and gilders of the late 1700's. However instead of drapery, as in Gouthière's urn, the designer has created floral swags and in place of the drapery ties beneath each face has created them out of the woman's own coiled hair.
Several candelabra supported on similarly styled ovoid-shaped vases, likewise with female masks with coiled hair either side are known, notably one in the Huntingdon Gallery, San Marino (illustrated ibid. p. 258, pl. 4.7.9) and another comparable example in the collection at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire (illustrated in Geoffrey de Bellaigue, "The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor", 1974, vol. II, p. 697, no. 169). The latter candelabra vases both feature a ring of stiff laurel leaves around their base but differ in the decoration of the foot and in place of swags have a banded frieze decoration. However another pair of candelabra with similarly shaped vase stems in the Wallace Collection, London are, as here, decorated with swags (albeit of vines rather than flowers), which are caught up by ribbon bows tied around similar simulated nails; likewise they also have a band of stiff leaves around each base, which is on a spirally fluted rather than spirally gadrooned foot (illustrated and discussed in Peter Hughes, "The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture", 1996, vol. III, pp.1223-1225, nos. 240 (F126-7).