The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Fire-dog
  • Fire-dog
  • Attributed to Philippe Caffiéri (1714 - 1774)
  • France
  • c. 1765
  • Gilt bronze
  • Height: 45.5 cm
    Width: 40.5 cm
    Depth: 21.7 cm
  • Inscription: 'P R'
  • F279
  • Dining Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • An important element of fireplace furniture in the 18th century was a pair of andirons or firedogs (iron bars that supported the logs), and along with other aspects of interior decoration these assumed a more obviously decorative function. Highly sculpted and ornamented fronts were added, cast in brass and richly gilded, which reflected the artistic style of the moment. On this pair (with F280), two naked infants represent Literature and Sculpture, identifiable from the attributes of a book and a mallet which they hold and, along with the two globes, suggest the erudition of their owner that would have been most appropriate for the Age of Enlightenment.
    The same model of infants had also been used on a pair of wall-lights made 20 years earlier by Jacques Caffiéri (1678-1755) and on other firedogs in the rococo style dating from the middle of the century, presumed also to have been by Caffiéri. We know that he left various master models after his death, including some of children, and it is assumed that his son Philippe utilized his father’s models here in an updated design that incorporated more fashionable, neo-classical motifs.