THOMIRE Pierre Philippe (sculpteur, bronzier) (Paris, 1751 ; Paris, 1843)
bronze (doré) H. 78 cm (coupe centrale) ; H. 62 cm (coupes) ; L. 215 cm (plateau) ; D. 61 cm (petit plateau)
legs Marmottan Paul (testateur) (1932 acquis)
Awonderful example of the goldsmith’s art, this big centerpiece in gilt bronze comprises eight distinct elements. Three trays, two circular pieces, and an oblong one in three parts all have mirror glass bottoms and are edged with vine branches. On the biggest one, the border is punctuated by putti and by four figures representing the four seasons on pedestals decorated with antique braziers. Two Medici vases mark the extremities. The central element comprises the Three Graces, after Antonio Canova, dancing on a triangular base decorated with Bacchic allusions and supporting a basket from which emerge nine lights. Two other bowls, each with six arms of light, are supported by women bearing torches, based on a model by Pierre Paul Prud’hon, with children carrying garlands of flowers around the bases. Finally, two large candelabras display Victories with butterfly wings holding bowls of fruit from which, edged by subtly intertwining garlands of foliage, six lights emerge. This centerpiece was inherited by Jules Marmottan and was traditionally said to have belonged to Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s second brother. It illustrates the monumentality of Parisian gold work dedicated to the splendors of the table, work that in the early 19th century was much in demand at European courts in such countries as the Netherlands and Russia, and even at President James Monroe’s White House.