Sconce 001

Fine and rare pair of neoclassical five-light ormolu appliques. Each of the exceptionally well cast and chased sconces has a back plate topped by a bow knot with long ends which terminate in tassels behind a twisting oak branch. The candle arms are in the form of three large hunting horns and two smaller oak leaf branch arms bound together by a large ribbon bow. A deer’s hoof with braided hide is hung below the candle arms. At the end of the ritualized chasse à courre, a trophy, the right foreleg of the stag, was offered to the guest of honor. It was called les honneurs du pied (“the honors of the foot”). [Some wear to the gilding. Drilled for electricity.]

Each sconce is marked “TRF” twice and “516” once. (Probably for “Trianon République Française” and the number from a 19th century inventory. There was a sale by the French state of objects and furniture from several palaces at the end of the nineteenth century.) A set of four wall-lights of this model, originally for the Grand Salon of the Petit Trianon, was delivered to Versailles by Claude Galle (possibly acting as a reseller) on December 23, 1809 for 2960 francs. They are illustrated on page 98 of Le Petit Trianon by Denise Ledoux-Lebard (Les Éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1989) and differ only in the form of the two smaller arms between the hunting horns. They share with this pair the unusual feature of a mount decorated with vine leaves applied to the underside of the three front candle nozzles. In the Trianon book, the sconces are numbered “M.V. inv. T514”, two digits away from the number on this pair. (The numbers are probably from the inventory taken in 1839.) They are currently hung in the Salle à manger des retours de chasse in the Appartement intérieur du Roi in the Château of Versailles.
Print Nº 334 from the ornamental series of the Royal Free Drawing School (École royale gratuite de dessein) as engraved by Jean-Jacques Bachelier is illustrated on page 35 in Object Design in the Age of Enlightenment by Ulrich Leben (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2004). The sheet  shows two clearly 18th century vases and a very similar applique with three hunting horns bound by a large bow with oak branches and tassels but lacking the hoof and the elongated proportions of the present pair. This drawing was probably an initial stage of the appliques’ final design

Height (ins.): 42 (107cm)      Length/Width (ins.): 19 (48cm)     
Origin: France,late 18th century     Period: Louis XVI