Pair of “Athenians” candelabras
Gilded and patinated bronze, Marble
Height : 87 cm ( 34,2 in.) ; Diam.: 26 cm (10,2 in.)
Pair of Louis XVI period gilded and patinated bronze candelabras representing Antiques women. Each figure supports a vase ornamented with lion’s noses from where four lights scrolls emerge. Rests on an antique green marble cylindrical base embellished with vine branch garlands, held by ram heads, and finished by a sea green marble quadrangular counter base.
These candelabras are very likely to be a work by Henri Auguste’s workshop (1759-1816).
Henri Auguste (1759-1816) was a famous Parisian neoclassic style bronze-caster and goldsmith. In collaboration with the sculptor Jean-Guillaume Moitte, who gave him drawings and models, he became one of the main Empire style goldsmith designer. He was the only son of the goldsmith king Robert-Joseph Auguste (1723-1805), in the workshop he was using since 1784-1785. He continued to received the official patronage under Louis XVI from 1784 as well as under Napoleon, and from the City of Paris which ordered a large silver set in 1804, relating Napoleon coronation and composed of 425 pieces, most of which have been melted under Charles X. Twenty-four pieces are exhibited in the dining room of the Chateau de Malmaison. Among his private clients was William Beckford, who was previously aware of Moitte’s works and of Auguste’s of which he known Mrs Aranda toilette, 1787, from a trip to Portugal. “By far one of most exquisite work of art I have ever seen.” Between 1788 and 1802, Beckford acquired four ewers from Auguste, one in gold and the others in silver gilded. Two of them were part of a set with basins.
Auguste received a gold medal at the 3d Industrial Exhibit of Paris in 1802. He was declared bankrupt in 1806 and even though he had some time to organize himself, he was caught in Dieppe in 1809, trying to escape to England with 94 storage boxes containing money, scientific instruments, and furniture. He successfully fled to England later that same year. In 1810, his rival Odiot acquired an important number of Auguste’s drawings, amongst which was the wine cooler from the City of Paris’s set, attributed to Moitte and bearing the stamp of the Odiot collection. It is now part of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
He died in Jamaïca in 1816.
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