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Of circular form, constructed in amboyna, rising from giltwood bun feet, the platform base of tripartite incurved form, centred with a firegilt bronze waisted vase, finely chased and decorated with foliates, sitting on a square stepped base: the three tapered legs of Grecian female herm type, the gilt bronze heads adorned with palmettes, and flanked by Palmyrean gilt bronze sunbursts, and at the bases, gilt bronze feet. The dished Red Griotte marble top shows the ‘partridge eye’ ammonite inclusions to advantage.
Percier met Fontaine whilst studying architecture and art in Paris, and, after matriculation, they spent several years researching ancient ruins and Renaissance buildings, returning to Paris in the 1790s, to look for work. After designing for the celebrated ebeniste, Georges Jacob. Their careers began when they undertook a decorative assignment at the Paris Opera, which led onto commissions for diplomats and ministers in the new Republic. One such commission was for Josephine Bonaparte, whose husband, Napoleon was to become the First Consul, and later the Emperor of France. Their notable works include the Chateau de Malmaison, the Chateau de St. Cloud and the Tuileries Palace. Their work may be seen today in the Arc de Triomphe and the arcaded Rue de Rivoli. They were intimates of John Flaxman , Thomas Hope, and Antonio Canova. The interchange of ideas between these luminaries was dramatic, and led to the recreation of Neo-Classicism, redefined for an age that was influenced by the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum; by the Egyptian Campaign of Napoleon when, at the Pyramids, he said ‘ Men, remember, Forty Centuries look down upon you’. The Sphinx, the emblems of Ra, Gods and the hieroglyphs from Egypt; Doric Columns, Owls, Minerva, and Attic designs from Greece; The Laurel Wreathes, Cornucopia and Martial trophies from Rome mixed with elements from the Renaissance come together in a style both at once simple and complex, but ultimately satisfying.
As was stated in the book’s introduction ‘ …nothing in the realm of art is inconsequential, that good taste and the principles of beauty should appear in the smallest productions as the largest…. and that their strength and joint success depend on their mutual accord’.
Demand from both home and abroad for their newly inaugurated ‘Empire’ style led to a series of publications, leading to the hugely influential ‘ Recueil de Decorations Interieures’ a set of 72 plates issued over a period of eleven years from 1801 until 1812. Incorporating the original idea of design as a complete concept, from the actual building down to the smallest detail, they inaugurated their notes from Greek, Roman, Egyptian and the Renaissance into comprehensive and lucid visual models. The close detailing of Percier’s drawings were widely drawn upon by the furniture makers of the period, amongst them, Jacob Freres, Jeanselme and Adam Weisweiler. Percier and Fontaine’s recommendation of marrying ormolu to mahogany was adopted by these important designers.
|Height||74.00 cm||(29.13 inches)|