circa 1820, attributed to Alexandre-Louis Bellangé
each with an octagonal top, now inset with porphyry, the sides fitted with pendant ormolu ribbon-tied flowering leafy branches, above a tapered ormolu plinth and hairy paw feet. Two pendant mounts on the tapered shaft replaced on each pedestal.
Alexandre-Louis Bellange (1799-1863). Both his father, Louis-Francois Bellange (1795-1927) and his uncle Pierre-Antoine Bellange (1758-1827) were cabinet-makers. The brothers died within 15 days of each other in 1827 and both workshops were bequeathed to Alexandre-Louis.
These torchères, conceived in the Louis XIV style, form part of a well documented group all of which, with the exception of two pairs, are fitted with Paris porcelain plaques and are known to have been made by Alexandre-Louis Bellangé. The Bellangé family frequently worked in collaboration with the influential marchand mercier Philippe Claude Maëlrondt (1766-1824). Like the great 18th century marchands merciers who preceded him, particularly Dominique Daguerre, Maëlrondt designed furniture, particularly porcelain-mounted furniture much of which he contracted to Bellangé, an example of which is in the collection of H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle (illustrated, Hugh Roberts, For The King's Pleasure, The Furnishing and Decoration of George IV's apartments at Windsor Castle, London, 2001, fig. 355, p. 275). A closely comparable porcelain-mounted secrétaire was in the collection of Dr. Alexandre Benchoufi, sold, Sotheby's, New York, November 9, 2006, lot 137. This collaboration was corroborated by an entry in the catalogue of the sale of Maëlrondt's inventory which was held after his death in 1824: "quelques uns des meubles précieux one été établis avec autant de soins que d'habilité par M. Alexandre Bellanger [sic], d'après les idées de M. Maëlrondt."
Also like Daguerre, Maëlrondt cultivated a distinguished English clientèle, notably the Earl of Pembroke, William Beckford and George Watson-Taylor --all these clients purchased torchères nearly identical to the present pair. His most distinguished English client, George IV acquired no fewer than four pairs of torchères of this model. Two pairs were acquired in 1820-21 and given as a gift from the King to Lady Conyngham (sold, Christie's, London, May 6, 1908, lots 352, 353). The other two pairs which remain at Windsor Castle were acquired in Paris in 1825 from the dealer A. Delahante (H. Roberts, op. cit. p. 218, fig. 258). William Beckford acquired a pair, stamped Bellangé Rue Les Marais for Fonthill (sold by Phillips, September-October 1923, lot 979), as did the collector George Watson-Taylor for Erlestoke, sold July 9-29, 1832, lot 13.
Other than the present lot, the only other known pair of pedestals of this model not fitted with porcelain plaques is the pair veneered with blue-stained horn on the shaft originally acquired by George Watson-Taylor and subsequently purchased by George IV at the sale of his London house, Christie's, May 28, 1825, lots 32 and 33 (see H. Roberts, op.cit. p. 186, fig. 219). They were sold from Buckingham Palace in 1836 when they were acquired probably for the twelth Earl of Pembroke and bought subsequently at his sale in 1851 by Welbore Ellis Agar, 2nd Earl of Normanton (1778-1868) for Somerley, his country house in Hampshire. They appear in a photograph of the Entrance Hall (C. Hussey, Somerley, Hampshire, The Seat of the Earl of Normanton, Country Life, January 23, 1958, p. 156. It is of some interest to note that they are placed near another celebrated piece of furniture from the former Watson-Taylor collection, the Regency ormolu-mounted pietra dura, ebony and lapis lazuli chest on stand, incorporating a Berlin porcelain service.
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