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.
Height: 32 cm – 12 ½ inches
Width: 21.5 cm – 8 ½ inches
Depth: 13.5 cm – 5 inches
 this title means that Caffieri was an officer of the house of the King. As a sculptor and chiseller, he carried out his duties all year round, producing furniture for the Crown.
 marchand doreur graveur damasquineur suivant la Cour means that Caffieri followed the Court of France as a retailer, a gilder, an engraver and a damasquiner.
 The qualification of “wax casting” does not exist before the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the founder of Old regime qualifies as “fondeur en sable et en terre”.
 It was, under the Old regime, the administration responsible for the management of furniture and works of art intended for the decoration of royal residences.
 The Bâtiment du Roi is literally the administration of the King’s building and it depends on the department of the House of the King.
Good overall condition, slight signs of wear on the bronze