A pair of firedogs with seated putti
France, Transition period Louis XV-Louis XVI, second half of the 18th century
Attributed to Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774)
Chased and gilt bronze
- Philippe Caffrieri (1714-1774), firedogs, delivered for the Prince of Condé for his room at Palais Bourbon, the 19th of November 1771, for the amount of 410 pounds gold
- Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774), Pair of firedogs with seated putti, circa 1770, Stockholm, Royal Palace, Royal Swedish collections (HGK 97)
This pair of firedogs in chased and gilt bronze, each represents a putto, seated slightly to the side, retracting one knee and holding his hands, surrounded by a gracious drape. The putto is seated on a stepped rectangular plinth, with a moulded gadrooned lip, adorned with garlands, grooves and volutes.
Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774)
Part of one of the finest bronze makers’ family of the 17th and 18th centuries, Philippe Caffieri is the son of Jacques Caffieri (1678-1755), who detained the title of sculpteur et ciseleur ordinaire du Roi . He is appointed the eldest to distinguish him from his younger brother, Jean-Jacques, sculptor, renowned for his busts. In 1743, his parents were able to make him pass the privilege to present the title of “marchand doreur graveur damasquineur suivant la Cour ” in order to “facilitate his establishment”.
In 1747, he and his father were associates. He became a master-sculptor in 1754, was appointed member of the Académie de Saint-Luc, where he later became juror. His father died in December 1755, thus he became the owner of the workshop of rue Princesse, earning the models’ stock of the family business, by paying compensations to his brother. A month later, on the 16th of January 1756), he is approved as maître fondeur en terre et sable without having produced a masterpiece, simply because his father was maître-fondeur.
Philippe Caffieri seems to have been very soon a resolute holder of the Antique style.
We remark nevertheless in his compositions a vague reminiscence of the old style, console movements, clocks with animals and dials, surmounted by a monkey or a young savage, as those of Saint-Germain, palmettes or godrons in remembrance of the rocaille or the folded style but little flowers and a certain disdain for the gracefulness.
By his style and his production, part of which is signed and dated between 1756 and 1771, he occupies in the new style a place analogue to the one of his father’s at the Rocaille period. He worked not only for the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne , but also for the Bâtiments du Roi . He had regular clients, such as the Marquis de Marigny, Madame de Pompadour, Pierre Louis Paul Randon de Boisset, François Boucher, the Prince of Condé, the King of Poland not to mention the chapters of the cathedrals, that commanded important works of gilt bronze.
Hans Ottomeyer, Petter Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen: Beiträge zur Geschichte und Technik der Bronzearbeiten, zu Künstlern und Werkstätten, T. I, München, Klinkhardt & Biermann, p. 199, pl. 3-14-6, avec un dessin préparatoire attribué à Louis Prieur, vers 1770.
Pierre Verlet, Les bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Éditions Picard, 1987, p. 193-194.
Good overall condition, slight signs of wear on the bronze