Jacques Caffieri

Dates1678 - 1755, master 1714
RolesArtist, Gilder
BornParis, France
DiedParis, France

Born into a family of sculptors and metalworkers, Jacques Caffieri became one of France's most important bronze casters during the reign of Louis XV. As the nephew of Charles Le Brun, the chief designer and painter to Louis XIV, Caffieri had good connections as well as talent and rose quickly, becoming sculpteur et ciseleur ordinaire des b√Ętiments du roi (Sculptor, Bronze Caster and Chaser for the King's Palaces).

In 1740, Caffieri's wife bought a royal privilege--a form of permit from the king--which allowed them to gild bronze as well as cast it within the same workshop; these two processes would usually have been done by separate businesses. After his son Philippe Caffieri joined the workshop in 1747, they produced designs for chandeliers, ornaments for coaches, wall lights, and furniture mounts. Jacques was a master of the Rococo style, using elaborate curves, flowering branches, and fantastical beasts in his creations. His notable clients included the queen, Marie Leczinska, the king's mistress Madame de Pompadour, and one of the daughters of Louis XV, Madame Elisabeth.