González-Palacios, A., “Marmi, Pietre e Vetri: Lavori di Sibilio”, in Casa Vogue Antiques, March 1991, nr. 12, pp. 84-89.
Ciranna S. «Francesco Sibilio un pietrajo dell’Ottocento. La bottega, la casa, l’attivita e l’inventario del 1859», in Antologia di belle arti. Studi romani I, N. S. № 67-70, 2004, pp. 146-167.
Budrina, L.A., «Lapidaires parisiens aux services de Nicolas Demidoff: la collection des objets en bronze doré et malachite avec des mosaïques en reliefs des pierres dures réalisés par Thomire (d’après les documents inédits et les collections européennes)», in Les progrès de l'industrie perfectionnée. Luxe, arts décoratifs et innovations de la Révolution française au Premier Empire, actes du colloque, Paris, 13-14 juin 2014, Natacha Coquery, Jörg Ebeling, Anne Perrin Khelissa, Philippe Sénéchal (dir.). – Toulouse : Presses universitaires du Midi, 2016, pp. 136-145.
Budrina L.A., «Le somptieux surtout» (1822-1824) sur la commande de N.N. Demidoff, dans «L’etoile de Renaissance», N 26-27, 2018, Saint-Petersburg, p. 196-213. / en russe : Будрина Л.А. «Великолепный surtout de table» (1822-1824) по заказу Н.Н. Демидова // «Звезда ренессанса», № 26-27, 2018. – СПб., 2018. – с. 196-213
Budrina L.A., “Cameo on malachite, for jewelry and interior. Notes to the dating and attribution”, in Bulletin of the South Ural State University. Ser. Social and the Humanities. 2018. Vol. 18, no 1, p. 78-83. / in Russian: Будрина Л.А. Камеи на малахите, ювелирные и монументальные. Заметки к датировкам и атрибуциям. // Вестник ЮУрГУ. Серия «Социально-гуманитарные науки», 2018, Т. 18, № 1, с. 78-83.
Malachite and Demidoff
Malachite appeared on the European art market at the beginning of the 19th century through the efforts of Nicolaï Demidoff (1773-1828) – a wealthy Russian whose interests included iron works, arms contracts to the imperial armies and mines in the Urals, of copper and iron but also of the attractive malachite stone. Moving to Paris in the 1800’s, he increased his commissions to French artisans – a fireplace garniture made by the foremost bronzier Pierre-Phillipe Thomire as well as a two-tier table by Henri Auguste were presented at the Exposition des produits de l'industrie française in 1806, where they received gold medals, drawing the attention to the novel green stone.
The following year, after the signing of the Tilzit peace treaty, Napoléon I received as a diplomatic gift five pieces of malachite from Emperor Alexander I of Russia. Mounted by Jacob-Desmalter in gilt bronze, they became the centre of the Emperor's Salon at the Grand Trianon and delighted guests at Napoléon's wedding with Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810.
By the 1810’s, malachite from the Urals became a highly sought-after material in Paris. The grandiose works made on Demidoff's orders – such as the monumental Demidoff Vase, now at the Metropolitan Museum - was the striking centrepiece of the Thomire-Duterme house at the 1819 Exposition at the Louvre.
The malachite used at that time came from the two Urals deposits of Gumechki and Mednoroudianskoe, south and north of Ekaterinburg, and are of two clear types, which can be clearly seen in the present column. The first is characterized by concentric layers of small stalactites. The other – a shimmering variegated malachite - is a stone in plain dark green, whose mass is composed of a multitude of crystals.
The darker malachite used for the column relief carving recalls the patination of the bronze, whilst the concentric veins of the lighter stone used for the base, although vivid, make the understanding of the carved trophies difficult, which are meticulously carved in a vibrant arrangement, as in the original bronze model.
In the early 1820’s, Nicolaï Demidoff left Paris for Italy. At that time, he had transferred all his orders of works with malachite to the Roman workshop of the marble worker Francesco Sibilio (1784-1859). Sibilio was also well known as an antique dealer. His table tops where he combined antique glass in attractive patterns with different types of antique porphyry are quite well known.
Between 1822 and 1828 Sibilio produced many objects in malachite for the Russian aristocrat, the most famous of which are the extraordinary columns and pavement of the Rotunda Temple (The State Hermitage Museum, 1826-1834). Even more interesting are the details of a sumptuous surtout de table (1822-1824), decorated with gadroons carved in the malachite mosaic (now dispersed), and the Corinthian capitals also carved in the malachite mosaic (fig.2 - The Wallace Collection, 1825-1826).
The acanthus leaves of these capitals are formed from sections of malachite and then cut into a kind of cameo. These examples of relief and three dimensional work on malachite mosaics are exceptional, which prove the unique skill of Sibilio's workshop working with malachite - a stone as hard as it is fragile.
A letter from Sibilio to Nicolai Demidoff from 1828 reveals the volume of his work for his Russian patron, and besides the previously mentioned columns for the Rotunda Temple, it refers to a comò veneered of malachite and 4 colonnette di bronzo impelliciatte di malachita. When referring to the commode, it is interesting to note that he was sourcing the bronze mounts from the “pressiani”, or the Prussians, Wilhelm Hopfgarten and Ludwig Jollage, preeminent bronziers in Rome. They were well known for high quality reproductions of ancient sculptures but also for bronze Grand Tour objects, such as the Trajan column, and are possibly responsible for the bronzes in the present lot.
There are two further columns – modeled after the Trajan and Antonino Pio’s columns – signed and dated, one in malachite, the other in lapis lazuli, with gilt-bronze mounts, both are in a Roman private collection. These have plain shafts but have elegant carvings to base and capitals, and each is embellished with a bronze gallery to top and door to base, as well as with an emperor’s figure as finial, in the Roman tradition (fig.3).
Interestingly, the catalogue of the San Donato sale of 17 March 1870, the collection of Anatole Demidoff, two further columns of the same size as the above are mentioned: lot 1125 - "Lapis-Lazuli - modèle de la colonne Trajane, avec tore, oves, festons de lauriers et aigles finement sculptés en relief. La statuette qui la surmonte, la galerie et la porte sont en or. La colonne proprement dite est d'un seul morceau et evidée. Haut., 52 cm”. And lot 1126 "Malachite - colonne faisant pendant a celle qui précède. Elle est aussi surmontée d'une statuette d'empereur romain en or très-finement ciselé. Haut., 52 cm”
The lack of examples of carved malachite of relevant scale by makers other than Sibilio  reinforces the idea that this exceptional column comes from the workshop of this Roman lapicida. The fact that the very fine bronze mounts are of Italian manufacture and not French, further suggests Italian production. The relationship of Sibilio with the Demidoff family together with the easy access to malachite, allow us to suggest a firm attribution to Francesco Sibilio.
Francesco Sibilio was “uno dei più abili artefici italiani del Primo Ottocento” but also a dealer, collector (the Vatican purchased his collection of over 400 coins) and a true marble specialist. Further to his relationship with Nicolai Demidoff, he catered to the international tourists but also to knowledgeable stone collectors such as Faustino Corsi, the brothers Tommaso and Francesco Belli and Edward Dodwell who had important specimen marble collections. When Francesco Belli sold his collection to Count Stefano Karoly, the catalogue named three stones after Sibilio: Granito Mischio di Sibilio (Belli 1842, no.10 - from a column fragment acquired by the ‘valente petrajo Signor Francesco Sibilio’ from the river bank by the Porto di Trajano), Porfidi Bigio di Sibilio (no.63) and Lumachella Rossa di Sibilio (no.286).
If marble models of Roman monuments had been sold to travellers doing the Grand Tour and passing through the Eternal City, this present malachite model, through its material, scale and richness, is an outstanding example of a "room-monument", as is the impressive Trajan Column model made by Valadier, acquired by Karl Theodor, Prince Elector of Bavaria circa 1780.
Anatole Demidoff (1812-1870) -fig.1-, was the second son of Nicolaï, heir to his father’s collection, and despite the fact that no documentation is known so far regarding commissions from him to Sibilio, he was certainly very aware of Sibilio’s work through his father and it is very tempting, and reasonable, to associate the present lot to the young Demidoff.
An extraordinary collector and with an obsessive fascination with Napoléon, he was educated between Paris and Italy. In 1840, recently raised to Prince of San Donato by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he married Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, daughter of Jerôme Bonaparte, former King of Westphalia, and niece of former Emperor Napoléon I. It should have been a good marriage for both; Demidoff had been obsessed with Napoléon for years and marrying his niece must have been an extremely attractive proposition to him. Even if the marriage utterly failed after five years, Anatole was able to accumulate artifacts pertaining to the life and activities of Napoléon I, which he first exhibited in his Florentine villa. In 1851 he bought the villa San Martino on the island of Elba where, in addition to the restoration work on Napoléon's residence during his first exile, Anatole Demidoff had a sumptuous gallery built – open to the public - for a large collection of souvenirs and works of art related to the Emperor's memory and which included a large bronze model of the Vendôme Column.
As a collector, the role of Anatole Demidoff should not be underestimated. He was one of the most significant, influential and eclectic collectors of the 19th Century. His collection included some of the most important paintings of the 19th Century as well as great Old Masters, important arms and armour, French furniture of the 18th Century, and objects of vertu. Demidoff was one of the primary taste makers of the mid-century, and his lead was followed by such internationally famous collectors as the Rothschild family. In fact, his style of collecting set the stage for the great collectors of the late 19th and early 20th Century and his lavish Villa at San Donato became one of the greatest artistic showcases of the age.
The Column of the Grand Army of Austerlitz
The column on the Place Vendôme was built between 1806 and 1810 by the architects J.B. Lepère and L. Gondoin under the direction of D.V. Denon. The monument, whose composition is inspired by the column of the Roman Emperor Trajan, was intended to commemorate the victory of the Napoleonic army in the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The column was covered by bronze reliefs, made of metal from Russian and Austrian cannons, that had been taken on the battlefield. The reliefs of the base are composed of images of military trophies: cannon, swords, armours and flags. The spiral relief surrounding the column section represents the history of the military campaign in episodes.
The dome of the column; with the relief in the shape of scales is crowned by the sculpture of Napoléon I (fig.4). This sculpture underwent several transformations during the 19th century. Originally designed by Chaudet, it represents Napoléon as a Roman emperor (1810-1814). During the Restoration it was replaced by the Bourbon flag, whilst after 1833, under the reign of Louis-Philippe, the column was topped by a sculpture of Napoléon in redingote by Charle Emile-Marie Seurre, having remained there until 1864. The same year, by the order of Napoléon III, the figure was brought back to its original form. Destroyed during the Commune, the column was rebuilt identically in 1875.
Sotheby's thank Dr. Ludmila Budrina for her assistance with this cataloguing note.
 Budrina, L.A., «Lapidaires parisiens aux services de Nicolas Demidoff: la collection des objets en bronze doré et malachite avec des mosaïques en reliefs des pierres dures réalisés par Thomire (d’après les documents inédits et les collections européennes)», in Les progrès de l'industrie perfectionnée. Luxe, arts décoratifs et innovations de la Révolution française au Premier Empire, actes du colloque, Paris, 13-14 juin 2014, Natacha Coquery, Jörg Ebeling, Anne Perrin Khelissa, Philippe Sénéchal (dir.). – Toulouse : Presses universitaires du Midi, 2016, pp. 136-145.
 Guy et Christiane Ledoux-Lebard, «Les malachites montées par Jacob pour le Grand Cabinet de l’Empereur aux Tuileries», in Recueil des travaux et documents de l’Institut Napoléon, 1944, pp.1-5.
 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. nr. 44.152a, b.
 Brard C.P. Minéralogie appliquée aux arts... , Paris, 1821. P. 389
 Gonzáles-Palacios A. L’Armadio delle meraviglie. Personaggi, vicende, oggetti : un invito all’arte, una lezione di stile, Milan, 1997, pp. 97-100; Ciranna S. «Francesco Sibilio un pietrajo dell’Ottocento. La bottega, la casa, l’attivita e l’inventario del 1859», in Antologia di belle arti. Studi romani I, N. S. № 67-70, 2004, pp. 146-167.
 Budrina L.A., « Le somptieux surtout » (1822-1824) sur la commande de N.N. Demidoff, dans « L’etoile de Renaissance », N 26-27, 2018, Saint-Petersburg, p. 196-213. / en russe : Будрина Л.А. «Великолепный surtout de table» (1822-1824) по заказу Н.Н. Демидова // «Звезда ренессанса», № 26-27, 2018. – СПб., 2018. – с. 196-213
 Russkij Gosudarstvnnyj Archiv Drevnych Aktov, RGADA, fond 1267, opis’2 delo 400, apud Ciranna S. op.cit., p.166
 González-Palacios, A., “Marmi, Pietre e Vetri: Lavori di Sibilio”, in Casa Vogue Antiques, March 1991, nr. 12, pp. 84-89. and González-Palacios, A. (coord.), Fasto Romano: dipinti, sculture, arredi dai Palazzi di Roma, 1991, cat. nrs. 170-171, p.209, ill. LXXX.
 Budrina L.A., “Cameo on malachite, for jewelry and interior. Notes to the dating and attribution”, in Bulletin of the South Ural State University. Ser. Social and the Humanities. 2018. Vol. 18, no 1, p. 78-83. / in Russian: Будрина Л.А. Камеи на малахите, ювелирные и монументальные. Заметки к датировкам и атрибуциям. // Вестник ЮУрГУ. Серия «Социально-гуманитарные науки», 2018, Т. 18, № 1, с. 78-83.
 Newby, Martine S., “Francesco Sibilio and the reuse of Ancient Roman Glass in the Nineteenth Century”, in Annali 16 Congresso AIHV, London 2003, p.401.
 Musée de San Martino à l’ile d’Elbe, Catalogue des objets de souvenir et d’intérêt historique réunis dans le monument érigé par le prince Anatole de Demidoff en 1856 et dans la villa habitée par l’empereur Napoleon Premier en 1814. Florence, Le Monnier, 1860.
 Tardieu, A., La colonne de la Grande Armée d’Austerlitz ou de la Victoire, Paris, 1822.
 Garnier des Cassagnac, A., Histoire de la colonne Vendôme, Paris, 1876.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.