A fine pair of Empire gilt bronze mounted mahogany pedestals, each of columnar form with a slightly tapering top above two plain gilt bronze bands enclosing a frieze mount centred by a rosette amid scrolls flanked by foliate-wrapped spiralled cones issuing a pair of forked thunder bolts, the main body centred by a bold gilt bronze mounted ribbon-tied caduceus surmounted by a flaming torch finial and centred by a rosette issuing stylised wings on a foliate boss, the whole on a stepped circular base
Paris, date circa 1810
Height 120cm, diameter of base 43cm, diameter of top 22cm. each.
These fine pedestals were probably made as supports for a pair of candelabra, such as those made by the esteemed Empire fondeur-ciseleur Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), which were delivered to Carlton House London in July 1813 (British Royal Collection).
The upper mounts closely relate to those appearing on a fender standard for a fireplace, made by P-P Thomire in circa 1805 (illustrated in Hans Ottomeyer and Peter PrÃ¶schel, â€œVergoldete Bronzenâ€, 1986, p. 341, pl. 5.4.6). Each standard, surmounted by a sphinx, features a very similar mount with pairs of forked thunder bolts but differs slightly in that there are additional wings above and below the spiralled cones and lacks the central rosette. The mounts also relate closely to those appearing in a watercolour design of 1813, by Thomireâ€™s workshop, for a standard for a fender, surmounted by armorial motifs, commissioned by the King of Sweden. The design, which is in an album in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, is illustrated ibid. p. 340, pl. 5.4.2. It differs slightly from here in that central rosette is replaced by a lion head mask and again there are additional winged motifs.
The main column features a bold caduceus, a symbol most commonly associated with Mercury, the mythical messenger of the gods. This too was another popular motif that appeared within the repertoire of Empire design, as can be seen for instance adorning a plinth supporting a winged Victory candelabrum made by Claude Galle (1759-1815), of circa 1810, in the Grand Trianon, Versailles, (illustrated ibid. p. 335, pl. 5.2.19).