Vienna. Circa 1810.


Height: 47 3/4" (121.5 cm)
Diameter: 16" (41 cm)


Of giltwood with faux bronze painted decoration and applied with gilded lead mounts.  Each inverted domed top set with finely cast gilt-lead stylized foliated mounts on a faux bronze ground.  The reeded faux bronze shaft issuing from a finely carved foliate ‘cup’ resting on an inverted cone finial.  The flared top of the shaft set with foliate gilt-lead mounts.  The whole raised on four exquisitely carved giltwood winged female figures resting on a faux bronze platform base. Gilding and faux bronze refreshed in places.

The present pair of torcheres can be attributed to the early 19th-century Viennese designer Joseph Ulrich Danhauser. Trained in sculpture at the Vienna Academy, Danhauser received permission to open a factory for the production of gilded, silvered, and bronzed objects in 1807.1 He subsequently applied for and received the “imperial and royal state factory license” and was thus authorized to “manufacture all manner of furniture.”2 In 1814 he expanded his business, taking the unprecedented step of requesting ‘permission to be allowed to use the title of Royal Warrant Furniture Maker,’  This enabled him to break Vienna’s restrictive guild system and bring together the skills of carving, joining, gilding and upholstering within his own firm.3

Danhauser had a predilection for delicately gilded carved wood rather than gilt-bronze, an 18th-century tradition he drew from Italy, which is illustrated by the present torcheres. This choice of material lends a softer, sculpted appearance, as opposed to the more rigid and formal designs of the French Empire style executed in bronze, which were rejected by the Viennese out of disdain for the Emperor Napoleon. Also of note is the use of gilt-lead mounts, instead of gilt-bronze, that are applied to the top of the torcheres. A suite of furniture probably by Danhauser in Schloss Wetzdorf, the former home of Josef Gottfried Pargfrieder,  has been applied with gilt-lead decoration of anthemian and acanthine motifs. Furthermore, both the present torcheres and the Wetzdorf suite possess painted decoration to complement the giltwood ornaments.

1. Windischgrätz, F. ‘Furniture.’ Vienna in the Age of Schubert. The Biedermeier Interior 1815-48. London: Elron Press Ltd., 1979. 38.
2. ibid. 38.
3. Dr. Christian Witt-Dörring, Vienna, March 1997. Pair of Armchairs by Joseph Danhauser for Archduke Karl’s Palace, for Carlton Hobbs LLC.

Full research report available on request.