The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Pedestal
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1770
  • Oak, ebony, brass, pinewood, walnut and gilt bronze
  • Height: 140.8 cm
    Diameter: 60 cm
  • Inscription: 'F. FESER 1937'
    Inscription: '1843'
  • F421
  • Grand Staircase
Further Reading
  • This pedestal and its pair (F422) appear to date from c. 1770 although their mounts have been electro-gilded in the nineteenth century. The mounts on this one include laurel-leaf chandelles in the lower part of the column's flutes, and laurel swags on the top part framing a portrait medallion of the Grand Condé, while on its pair the medallion depicts Turenne, another of Louis XIV's great generals. The columns display bronze busts of Condé and Turenne respectively (S163-4).

    Truncated columns such as this were perhaps first used on gilt bronze clocks and on the centrepiece of chimneypiece garnitures in France in the mid-1760s. The form proved popular, evoking as it does the ruins of Ancient Rome, and Sèvres porcelain column clocks of the same model as these pedestals were made from 1771, remaining in fashion for at least 15 years. The heavy swags on these pedestals also resemble those on a truncated column design by the architect and designer Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-89), from which a medallion also hangs.

    The design of these pedestals seems to have been popular and several other extant versions are known, including two pairs in the Royal Collection and two more at Belvoir Castle. Similar pedestals to this pair were in the Fonthill Abbey sale in 1823.