Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) was the inspiration and driving force behind one of the most important French art foundries. He pioneered the use of mounts and, more commonly, bronze sculpture including figures and animals. Barbedienne produced catalogues of bronze reproductions of Greek and Roman classical sculpture and experimented with champlève and cloisonné enamels during the third quarter of the century. Barbedienne exhibited several pieces of furniture at the 1855 Paris Exhibition including an ormolu mounted oak dressing table and an ormolu mounted ebony veneered bookcase. Both pieces were executed in his favoured Renaissance revival style for furniture. Furniture with mounts signed by Barbedienne is extremely rare.
The Barbedienne foundry handled the casting of numerous national monuments and architectural schemes. Ferdinand Barbedienne himself also took an active part in the promotion of contemporary sculpture and became one of the founders for Davis d'Angers' medallions as well as much of Rude's sculpture.
His signature varied from hand written capitals to stamp in capitals, usually F. Barbedienne, Fondeur or BARBEDIENNE PARIS.
In 1839 Barbedienne collaborated with the inventor Achille Collas who had succeeded in enlarging and reducing works of art to arbitrary sizes by a simple mathematical calculation, allowing the accurate reduction of classical and contemporary marbles for the purpose of reproduction in bronze. In 1850 Barbedienne was commissioned to furnish the Paris town hall for which he was awarded with the 'medaille d' honneur' at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1855.
Paris, 1878; 'Grand Prix', 'Grande Médaille d'Or', 'Diplôme d'honneur' , and 28 'Médailles de Coopérateurs'.
Vienna 1873; 2 'Diplômes d'Honneur', 'Médailles de Progrès', and 25 'Médailles de Coopérateurs'.
Paris 1867: 'Jure Rapporteur (Hors Concours)'.
London 1862; 3 Medals for Excellence.
Paris 1855; 'Grande Médaille d'Honneur'.
London 1851; 2 Council Medals.
Barbedienne, Ferdinand, Catalogue des Bronzes d'art 1886 , Fonderie d'art Français: Val d'Osne, Fonderie de Tusey, Antoine-Louis Barye, Fonderie Rudier, Charles Crozatier, Ferdinand Barbedienne, Livres Groupe, (Paris) 2010
Mestdagh, Camille and Pierre Lecoules, L'Ameublement d'art français: 1850-1900, Editions de l'Amateur (Paris), 2010, pp.23, 120, 155, 161 and 179.
Kjellberg, Pierre, Les Bronzes du XIX Siècle, dictionnaire des sculpteurs, Editions de l'Amateur (Paris) 1987, pps.653-658.
Meyer, Jonathan, Great Exhibitions: London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collector's Club (Woodbridge, UK), 2006.
Ledoux-Lebard, Denise, Les Ebénistes du XIX Siècle, Editions de l'Amateur, (Paris) 1984, p.38.
Cooper, Jeremy, 19th Century Romantic Bronzes, New York Graphic Society, 1975 pps. 25, 41,149.