This impressive pair of chenets are made of cast iron and date to the late 1800’s. They feature large and well defined sphinxes resting upon a rocaille cartouche, supported by a squared off plinth. They are based on the original sphinx chenets by Guillaume de Grof (1680-1742), a Parisian trained Flemish sculptor who would go on to work under King Louis XIV.
The classic sphinx is a hybrid of a lion and a human and first appeared in Egypt during the IV dynasty, where it was shown both sitting or lying down. The motif of the sphinx remained a major feature throughout the Egyptian kingdom for over a thousand years and eventually spread throughout the Ancient world. In France, some of the great Chateaux of the Renaissance featured prominent stone sphinxes at the base of entry steps. Although the chenets seen here are after the circa 1710 originals by de Grof, they were created during the latter half of the 19th century, when the French public gained widespread appreciation for Egyptian history and art. This was a direct result of Napoleon’s earlier Egyptian campaign, and the publication of “Le Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte” by Dominque Vivant Denon. Of course, this would become known as the Empire Style.
These antique cast iron French chenets stand over 21 inches high and will look stunning in any grand fireplace. Each chenet is very solid, composed of at least four individually cast sections, joined by old bolts.
CONDITION: Good condition with a slight color differential between the two chenets. Light French wax finish.