Mahogany console table with gilded and patinated bronze fittings Early 19th century Attributed Pierre Philippe Thomire Paris
.. This console with a marble table-top strikingly decorated with bronze is a splendid example of Empire furniture. Applied to the superb mahogany veneer are bronze fittings with motifs typical of the ornamental decoration of the period — palmettes and stylized lilies. The centre of the underpart is accentuated by a bronze plaque bearing a relief of The Coronation of Virgil. It is a copy of a Wedgwood plaque created from a 1785 model by John Flaxman. At the edges of the underpart are plaques of Mars and Venus. The legs or supports of the table are herms with winged female half-figures in Egyptian-style dresses. Console tables of various shapes were produced in large numbers during the Empire period and placed along the walls in interiors.
Round Mirror Centerpiece with six candelabra around the edge Before 1822 Workshop of Pierre-Phillipe Thomire Paris, France
This circular mirror centerpiece with six candelabra around the edge and an openwork border of gilded bronze is one of the characteristic works of the famous French bronze-smith Pierre-Philippe Thomire. The striving after ever greater luxury in the decoration of the dining table during the Napoleonic Empire brought into vogue a special type of ornament — the surtout de table — that at times numbered over fifty components. It is held that Thomire was the first to come up with the idea of creating a mirror plateau, surrounded by a border of flat gilded bronze relief , on which candelabra and containers for sweets, confections, fruit and flowers could be placed. The mirror reflected light and imparted a special gleam to the gilded bronze. Vases, bowls, cachepots and candelabra were supported by figures of dancing nymphs and bacchantes, cupids, allegorical figures of the seasons and young victors in laurel wreaths. They were combined in symmetrical groups and created a bright conglomeration in the centre of the table that sometimes extended fully ten metres in length. Surtouts de table were specially ordered, the customer selecting the character of the ancient groups with a border of a particular design, creating thematic ensembles.