Pair of “Putti” torcheres
Total Height : 262 cm (103 in.) ; Height of torcheres : 180 cm (70 3/4 in.) ; Width : 75 cm (29 1/2 in.)
Height of base : 82 cm (32 1/4 in.) ; Diameter of base : 52 cm (20 1/2 in.)
A pair of two patina bronze torcheres. Each modelled as a pair of putti holding aloft a large foliate shaft issuing eleven berried-acanthus scrolled branches terminating in conforming drip-pans and nozzles, on a circular parcel-gilt and ebonised plinth with fluted shaft.
Torcheres inspired by an 18th century model made by Jean-Louis Prieur (born around 1725), now part of the Wallace collection (inventory numbers F138 and F139).
Reproduced and commented in H. Ottomeyer, Vergoldete Bronzen, T. I, Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munich, 1986, p. 95.
Another comparable group of cherubs holding a foliate torchere made in about 1870 by Victor Paillard.
Victor Paillard (1805-1886) was one of the most distinguished bronze casters in Paris during the second half of the 19th Century. He was taught chasing by Jean-François Denière (1774-1866), then opened in the 1830’s his own workshop making “Art bronzes and Furnishing bronzes”, settled n°105, boulevard Beaumarchais in Paris. He executed first small objects, then cast statuettes, candelabra, clocks as well as impressive sized torcheres. He appeared to the public for the first time at the Industrial Products Exhibition of 1839 and worked for the greatest French sculptors, such as Pradier, Barye and Carrier-Belleuse. He exhibited extensively with great success being mentioned for the quality of his work at the famous 1851 and 1862 London Universal Exhibitions, and the 1855, 1867 and 1878 Universal Exhibitions then held in Paris. Paillard was there celebrated by everyone ; John Burney Waring ilustrates a gilt-bronze mirror by him in his “Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture, 1862 (Plate 92)”, which is a comprehensive record of the finest pieces on show in the London Exhibition. At that time, he was awarded a prize medal and the exceptional quality of his work was commented in all jury reports. Appointed a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the French Government, Paillard employed since the 1850’s a hundred workers and proposed to his wealthy clients about four hundreds models, cast in bronze not only after famous sculptors’ works, but also after his own creations. It is especially interesting that his “Cherub” figures, such as those ones presented here were particularly singled out for their charm and popularity by commentators at both the 1862 and 1867 Universal Exhibitions. Burney Waring noted that they portrayed the “happy and innocent moods of childhood”.
Many of Paillard’s bronze pieces are now displayed in private collections as well as in renowned fine arts museums, such in the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York, exhibiting Sappho (1851). In Paris, the “Quai d’Orsay” (French Foreign Office) still presents since the 1855’s some great pieces by Paillard (clocks, candelabra and torcheres) in the Main Hall, the Congress Hall and the Salon of the Ambassadors. As for its Clock Room, Paillard made the clock which gave its name to the Room.
Les bronzes du XIXe siècle, P. Kjellberg, Les Ed. de l’amateur, 1989, p° 662.
Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture, John Burney Waring, 1862, Plate 92.