Pair of two-light ormolu sconces with acanthus leaf, scroll and flower decorations. Each arm features a different wick.
Designed by André-Charles Boulle
H. 35 x L. 27 cm
The pair of sconces in our study can be compared with André-Charles Boulle's models, which remained in the project stage or are today unlisted, and which have come down to us thanks to drawings by the famous cabinetmaker. These plates are an invaluable testimony to the master, as no cabinetmaker had ever published a corpus of his creations and projects. Of these plates, number 8 is particularly noteworthy, as it depicts the master's sconces and arms for "large cabinets and fireplace arms", which echo our pair. This plate was commissioned by Pierre-Jean Mariette, who published them around 1707 in a work entitled "Nouveaux dessins de meubles et ouvrages de bronze et de marqueterie inventés et gravés par André-Charles Boulle".
Sconces with a similar composition can be found at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, as well as at the Musée du Louvre. A striking detail in the composition of these sconces is the different bobèches on the two arms, a typical feature of his production, as can be seen on a pair of sconces reproduced in the book "André-Charles Boulle - un nouveau style pour l'Europe" edited by Jean Nérée Ronfort (pages 272-273) and now housed at the Musée des Arts décoratifs.
André-Charles Boulle cast his own bronzes. This was an exception in the highly compartmentalized corporate system of the Ancien Régime, where carpenters were not allowed to carve their own seats, nor were upholsterers allowed to assemble their own frames. Yet André-Charles Boulle did indeed bear the title of "Ebéniste, scizeleur et marqueteur ordinaire du roy" (cabinetmaker, sawyer and ordinary marker to the King). Enjoying royal protection, jurors and masters cannot enter his workshops at will, as they are entitled to do elsewhere. His familiarity with bronze workmanship therefore enabled him to offer not only richly ornamented furniture, but also - as the subject of our study attests - decorative elements entirely in bronze.
3 800 €