After the 18th century original andirons by the Caffieri family, this pair of French bronze chenets with putti and sea dragons was crafted circa 1850. The patriarch of the Caffieris was Philippe (born in Rome, Italy in 1634 as Filippo Caffieri ) who began sculpting for King Louis XIV of France in 1660. Many of Philippe’s descendants stayed in France and continued his legacy as sculptors, including his eldest son, François-Charles Philippe (born in 1667 as Francesco Carlo Caffieri). Philippe’s fifth son, Jacques (born in Paris in 1678), worked closely with his own eldest son, Philippe (born in 1714), with both achieving maître fondeur-ciseleur (master caster/engraver) status. Jacques’ younger son, Jean-Jacques (born 1725), progressed to the title of sculpteur du Roi of Louis XV. The original chenets were most likely produced by one of these latter three Caffieris, as they have motifs often seen during the reign of Louis XV.
The impressive Rococo bases are full of life, with golden pierced and attenuated leaves, volutes, scrolls, and pebbles; they are reminiscent of the movement of ocean waves. On top of each “wave” is a dragon being ridden by a putto. All of the figures have a fantastic brown patina with traces of gold dore, although each animal and cherub have distinctive nuances. One of the putti has a pair of wings with a trident in hand, as the long-maned dragon with wings roars back at its rider. The other putti does not have wings and his trident is most likely not original to the chenets. A beautiful pair of bronze chenets with exquisite detail, these are perfect fireplace accessories for any style house.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with light verdigris and buildup. The scrolled base of the chenet with the wingless putto has a small, welded restoration. The trident of the same putto is most likely not original, as it is removable. The putti have a fascinating brown patina with traces of dore on top. Please see photos for details.