Offered by Galerie Léage
French furniture of the 18th century
This small rectangular painting in stamped pewter, enhanced with gold and gouache represents a view of the Château de Choisy from the Seine.
The courtyard facade of the château is described with great precision thanks to the technique of stamping a pewter plate. It corresponds to the facade overlooking the Seine with an Ionic order marking the central forebody realized by Thomas Compigné. Two main buildings framing the courtyard are marked by projecting forebodies also decorated with triangular pediments. The foundations as well as the corners of the whole are underlined by refrets. The whole is topped with a mansard roof punctuated with dormers and pairs of oculi above the pediments of the two wings.
In front of the facade, parterres of embroidery decorate the terrace bordering the Seine. The latter, represented in the foreground, is separated from the garden by a quay which central part used to form an overhang on the left of which a staircase that gave direct access to the river. Several pleasure boats are sailing on the water on which on can distinguish small characters that animate the scene as well, as numerous silhouettes of walkers in the flowerbeds.
These characters are enhanced with gouache as well as the slightly pink sky which colors evoke the end of the day light.
The details of the château are perfectly visible thanks to the stamping of the pewter plate. The latter is enhanced with gold, silver, and colored enamel: the enameled roof, the foliage of the trees and the Seine, make this representation particularly precise and lively.
A green enameled frame with a striated pattern decorates the outline of the painting.
Paintings in Compigné
Of great preciosity and variety of materials, the paintings in Compigné were made according to a mysterious process starting from a sheet of tortoiseshell or cardboard to which a pewter or gold leaf was applied. The surface could then be decorated with gold, silver, gouache and colored varnishes. These miniatures, known today under the name of Compigné, encountered a major success in the 1760s.The small format, characteristic of this production, required to work in extreme precision, probably with the help of a magnifying glass, in order to develop the perfection of these technical details and colors.
The views of the Château de Choisy appear to have been quite successful, as several similar examples are known today: repeating the same theme, the artist managed to use different colors and to modify the composition as well as the frames. They were often presented in pairs, associating a view of the courtyard with a view of the Seine.
Thomas Compigni probably arrived from Italy around 1750, and later on took the name Compigné when he settled in the shop Roi David, rue Greneta, in Paris. As a tabletier, he specialized in the manufacture and sale of boxes, knitting sets, draughts and chess sets, snuffboxes and other cane handles of blond tortoiseshell inlaid with gold. Renowned for the quality of his objects, he passed on to posterity through the production of precious paintings which technique remains unknown to that day. In 1773, he presented two views of the Château de Saint-Hubert to the King and obtained the title of “tabletier privilégié du Roi” under Louis XV and Louis XVI. His themes of predilection were most often views of towns, monuments and châteaux in the extension of park or landscape perspective. The ensembles were almost always animated by small characters.