Offered by Franck Baptiste Provence
French Regional and Parisian furniture
Rare pair of paperweights representing sphinges with the heads of Madame du Barry and Madame de Pompadour lying the legs intertwined on cushions. Each looks in an opposite direction.
Double base, in bronze and marble « peach blossom » resting on four small « spinning top » feet.
Good state of preservation.
Parisian work, Restoration period, around 1820-1830.
Height : 15 cm ; Width : 16 cm ; Depth : 7 cm
Our view :
The pair of sphinges that we present depicts the face of Madame du Barry according to the bust by Augustin Pajou (1730-1809), made in 1773 and kept in the Louvre Museum.
The iconography of Madame de Pompadour can be compared to the bust of a woman with a rose made in the 1770s by Jean-Jacques Caffieri (1725-1792).
A lead sculpture, made by Guillaume Coustou for the castle of Marly in 1701 is probably at the origin of this type of sphinges with women's heads intended for the stoops of the great castles.
Models with similar iconography, such as the one in the Château de Ménard, are often announced as dating from the 18th century, and it is indeed possible that such sculptures adorned the châteaux of Louis XV's favorites.
However, it seems clear to us that the vast majority of these objects date from the nineteenth century, particularly from the Restoration period when souvenirs of the Ancien Régime were in fashion.
The craftsmen being the same, it is particularly difficult to separate the objects realized at the end of the 18th century from those conceived under the Restoration. Indeed, the mercury gilding, the chasing, or the threaded rods are almost identical.