Gaspard Gourgaud, the soldier and historian, accompanied Bonaparte into exile at St. Helena and wrote important historical and biographical works about him. He apparently saved Napoleon's life at the Battle of Brienne (January 1814). After a brief flirtation with royalist forces following Napoleon's abdication in 1814, he rejoined the emperor during his "Hundred Days" and then voluntarily accompanied him into exile at St. Helena. Gourgaud's two-volume Sainte-Hélène; Journal inédit de 1815 à 1818 (1899; The St. Helena Journal of General Baron Gourgaud) remains one of the basic accounts of Napoleon's last years (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, 2007). In 1849 Gourgaud, by then a baron and a peer of France, was elected to the Legislative Assembly, where he became an influential supporter of Louis-Napoléon (later Napoleon III).
This pair of candelabra, made during the Restauration period, belongs to a series of models produced by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, one of the premier bronziers of the day. The model closely relates to a pair delivered by Thomire for the State Apartments of the Grand Trianon on April 22nd 1837 and described as "une paire de candélabres à balustre sur pieds à griffes, base triangle à six lumières dorés mat." Denise Ledoux-Lebard states in Le Grand Trianon: meubles et objets d'art, Paris, pp. 128-129, that he was paid 480 francs from an original asking price of 550 francs. Another closely similar pair is illustrated in Dumonthier, Les bronzes du mobilier national, bronzes d'éclairage et chauffage, Paris, 1910, plate 24, fig. 8.
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