9115

PAIR OF CARVED WOOD AND FAUX BRONZE TORCHÈRES RELATED TO A DESIGN BY GEORGE SMITH

Italian. Circa 1810.

Measurements

Height: 48" (122cm)
Diameter: 20 1/2" (52cm)

Research
Of carved pine painted to simulate bronze. Each with a circular top edged with a tongue and dart molding above a baluster shaped stem, the stem fluted above a collar carved with four lions heads hung with brass rings, the collar above stiff leaf and acanthine carving, the stem on a triform waisted socle carved with acanthus leaves, the whole raised on four paw feet and a triform marbleized plinth base.

This pair of torchères is related in design to examples by the English furniture designer George Smith, particularly Plate 142 of his Collection of Designs for Household Furniture (figure 1), published in 1808. Like his contemporary Thomas Hope, Smith drew heavily on the study of surviving artifacts from the ancient world. Unlike Hope, however, Smith’s pieces experimented with forms and combined elements from the different ancient cultures, resulting in furniture like the present example of highly unusual character.

English furniture design and pattern books were admired in early 19th century Italy and it is clear from technical observation that an Italian sculptor made the present torchères based on Smith’s design. The famous 19th century firm of Peters of Genoa was renown for its large output of furniture made in the English taste.

Full research report available on request.