Pair of Decorative Bronzes
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Surface decoration attributed to Étienne-Simon Martin; and Guillaume Martin
French, Paris; silver 1738 - 1750, bronze about 1745 - 1749
Painted bronze and silver
H: 9 x W: 4 1/2 x Diam. [max]: 6 in.

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In September 1752, the marchand-mercier (dealer) Lazare Duvaux recorded in his daybook that he was "to clean and restore two lacquered figures carrying sugar canes, and polish the silver sugar canes and flowers" for Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, an important patron of the arts. This note led scholars to guess that these decorative figures may have belonged to this famous paramour. These figures are two of only a few objects documented as having been in her possession that still exist today. No other decorative pieces made in the 1700s combining bronze and silver are known.

Madame de Pompadour collected avidly. To a friend who commented on her spending she once wrote, "I fully approve of this so-called madness, which feeds so many paupers; I get much more pleasure out of distributing gold than from hoarding it."

Detail Views

Crowned C
Crowned C

Silver stamps
Silver stamps

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Front of one figure
Front of one figure