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Empire matt and polished gilt bronze surtout de table

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A highly important, unique and exceptional quality Empire matt and polished gilt bronze and mirrored glass five-piece twenty four-light surtout de table modelled and made by Claude Galle, of rectangular outline with rounded ends and composed of five sections, the pierced balustrade composed of peacocks displaying all their tail feathers to create a circular fan above abundant fruiting garlands hung from the shoulders of attendant winged putti and then hung at the other end from either twelve upright foliate stems with a palmetted finial which alternate with a corresponding double branched candle holder, each with broad drip-pans, vase-shaped nozzles and a central palmetted finial, the stem of foliate outline and base mounted with fantastic dolphins centred by Neptune's trident above conjoined rams' head feet , the plateau fitted with mirrored glass
Paris, date circa 1810. Provenance: A Paris art gallery. A German private collection.
Literature: Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 711, illustrating a page from “Description des expositions des produits de l'Industrie Française faites à Paris depuis leur origine jusqu'à celle de 1819”, 1924 by L. S. Le Norman and J. V. de Moléon, showing an engraving of various parts of the surtout de table exhibited by Gérard-Jean Galle at the Expositions des Produits de l'Industrie Française, 1819.
The importance of this unique and outstanding surtout de table cannot be overestimated. Not only was it the only one ever made by the esteemed bronzier Claude Galle (1759-1815) but was also one of the few pieces that were after his own model. Other similar surtouts exist but all of them were made after Galle's original design. It is therefore a significant rediscovery. Galle, who worked extensively as a marchand de dorure only owned a few of his own models which he had cast at independent workshops. As Jean-Dominique Augarde notes in “Une nouvelle vision du bronze et de...