This room contains mainly reduced and enlarged reproductions of works of sculpture in plaster and other materials, sculptures on wood, plaster, etc., imitations of fruit, sculpture, etc., objects of fantasy.
As we enter the nave next to the trophy of Mr. Plon, we turn right and find before us a narrow display case well filled with wax imitations of fruits, from Mr. Barrois in Meaux. The baked apple, in front of the visitor, and the melon seem to us the most successful, as well as the two halves of a peach.
A panel with a wooden sculpture for architectural ornament, by Hardouin, in Paris, is next to it.
M. Thierry, next door, makes paper and cardboard frames for artists, which he calls artistic frames. The small frame to the side and on the left hand is more noteworthy, for it contains cameos and small heads serving as pins, very well sculptured, by M. Pline, engraver. A fireplace, all in wood, is then on our way, richly gilded, imitating marble in a rather imperfect manner.
Mr. Beauplan, official supplier to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and to Prince Napoleon, exhibited medallions containing the portraits of Their Majesties, Napoleon I and Marie-Louise, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and finally Prince Napoleon.
A second display of imitated fruit is made of stoneboard, a material that does not seem to lend itself as well as wax to this kind of reproduction. The pears, among others, are very well done. A medallion bearing the heads of Napoleon I and Marie-Louise, made of the same material, can still be found in the works of M. Louesse.
M. Sorly, gilder to the Minister of State and the Emperor's household and to the imperial factories of Sèvres, Gobelins, etc., exhibited, among others, a beautiful font in Gothic style, with Christ in the middle. The two chandeliers at the sides have a strange but new shape. Various beautifully crafted frames are spread out on the table below these objects.
The Virgin and the two angels, which we find continuing, are made of stone-cardboard, as are the other church ornaments which surround these objects, exhibited by Mr. Solon, who has put at the bottom of his exhibition a book full of sculptures reproduced by photography.
Mr. Heiligenthal, next door, uses a somewhat different material for similar objects; he calls it putty-stone, and makes very pretty things out of it, to which he sometimes gives the appearance of metal, as we see in the case of the little Christ placed in the middle on the table.
We pass in front of the entrance between columns 7 and 8, and we find more church ornaments; but this time the material of which they are made is even more curious than that of the previous ones. It is sawdust that makes up the paste used to form the statue of the Virgin with the Child Jesus, and the other ornaments that we find in the exhibition of Mr. Hugon-Roydor.
A large dressing room lined with wallpaper in relief of good effect and imitating woodcarving, presents itself to us in the middle of the panel we are reviewing. Two doors, also covered with arabesques and ornaments in relief, are leaning against the wall, in front of them, two chairs in the same style. All these arabesques and ornaments are made of leather, and come from the leather factory of Mr. Dulud. According to him, leather would replace carved wood, with an advantage of 200/000, presenting the same solidity: A painting forming a screen, on the left hand, made of paper and leather scissors, by Mrs. the countess of Dampierre, will attract the attention of the visitors. This landscape, with its paper trees and plants, and the frame with its garlands of leaves and grapes cut out of leather, show great skill and incredible patience.
Passing another exit, we have before us a wooden panel with a small group carved in wood, representing Bacchus as a child, of good execution, by M. Groset.
Mr. Courquin shows us his mother-of-pearl carving below. Amongst the various objects, one will notice in the middle a small medallion with the portrait of the Emperor, an eagle hovering over his head, and, at the sides, those bearing the heads of the Empress and Prince Napoleon, all sculpted in mother-of-pearl.
A large panel bearing Christ in natural size and surrounded by stone-cardboard ornaments, intended for the dome of a church, is exhibited by Mr. Tirant. After passing through the door, we find ourselves once more in front of a lady's work, which requires as much patience and perhaps as much skill as that of Madame la Comtesse de Dampierre. These are flowers in natural shells, made by Mme Rossi of Toulon. The most varied flowers, from the small daisy to the camellia, are imitated with shells picked up on the seashore, whose natural colour has been used to vary the colours of these three bouquets to infinity.
MM. Marcq and Coutan, manufacturers of moulds for gilders, exhibited beautiful samples of their industry.
A showcase filled with busts is next to it. The busts are made of white and pink sulphate of lime. The exhibitor has placed a sample of natural lime sulphate next to the busts, to show the variations it underwent before replacing plaster or marble. Below, we see engravings on metals reproduced by electroplating, by Mr. Gruaz.
We now come to the Société des Arts Industriels. For the last fifteen years or so, we have known the means of reproducing works of sculpture in any desired size, i.e. increased or reduced, but always mathematically, i.e. without changing either the details or the proportions, using very simple processes invented by Messrs Collas and Sauvage. The Société des Arts Industriels exhibits these reproductions. We see among others the plaster busts of Mansard, the architect of the Louvre; Lebrun, painter; Corneille, Crébillon and others, after the originals, most of which are in the foyers of our theatres. A beautiful bas-relief suspended above these busts shows a very successful reduction.
The mirror next to it shows by its frame the ornamentation process of M. Dupin, at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. This frame, as well as the small plates for the doors underneath, looks like a painting on porcelain. The small dome next to it, with the Virgin in the middle, by M. Boucarut, is in gilded plaster. Samples of engravings, half of which are cleaned while the other half is left in its poor condition, show the exhibitor's skill in cleaning old engravings.
The large suspended bouquet under glass by M. Crière, of a very beautiful and skilful execution, seems to us to be made of red wax. A small showcase below and close to a door contains some pretty wood carvings by M. Planson. The small mirror, the boxes, the binding, all do credit to this artist.
Samples of bronze and religious plastic by Mr. Pillioud, and a large display case, are in front of us as we continue our tour. This one is filled with woodcarvings familiar to anyone who has travelled in Switzerland. Simple peasants of the Bernese Oberland transform by their great skill pieces of wood into delightful groups of chamois, goats, etc., build small models of chalets, and make statuettes and other carved objects, which are taken by travellers to all parts of the world. It is this industry, of which the Wirlh house, in Brienz, Switzerland, exhibits the most beautiful samples. Of particular note in the middle is the beautiful frame surrounding the glass, with the Last Supper from the famous fresco by Leonardo da Vinci underneath, and the two deer cut from a single block of wood at the sides.
From the glass frames of M. Mercier, we come to a small collection of plaster mouldings of natural history objects, made by M. Stahl, moulder at the Jardin des Plantes, consisting of three busts from the anthropology gallery and reproductions of molluscs and their parts. On the right hand side, as a sample of the precision of his moulding, one will notice the plaster reproduction of watermarked paper and pieces of linen, of which one can see each thread, so to speak.
A moulding of a different kind comes next, that of Mr. Vincent, who has exhibited pretty little mouldings of paintings in embossed silver and other materials.
M. Marchi shows us plaster reproductions of works of sculpture, the Leda by Pradier and others.
Mr. Dufailly exhibits beautiful plaster reproductions of works by Mène and Cain (animals); Vuillièrme, fantasy objects in alabaster, among which we will notice a beautiful small toilet, a clock, and a group of two dogs.
The middle of the square is occupied by a reproduction of the Venus de Milo in the Louvre, by M. Sauvage, the inventor of one of the reproduction processes mentioned above. This Venus is enlarged by half, while the same statue is greatly diminished on the front. The exhibitor informs us that the equestrian statue of the Emperor Napoleon we mentioned earlier, which is at the eastern entrance to the Palace, has been reproduced by the same process at a height of 3.20 metres, after the model at the Beaux-Arts, which is only 1.45 metres high.
On the right hand side, one should stop in front of a beautiful jewellery box, sculpted in bone. Eight artistically carved caryatids support the lid, which is richly decorated with arabesques also carved on the bone, and surmounted by a beautiful group representing a woman making her toilet. This chest, as well as the beautiful medallion below, is by M. Moreau, sculptor.
M. Deaure has exhibited, next to it, his medals reproduced by electroplating.
The gilder of the crown furniture, M. Dumont Pettrelle, follows with some samples of gilding and a painting carved on wood and prepared to be gilded with water.
This stoup, also carved on wood, by M. Froyer, is distinguished by its simplicity and perfect execution.
Mr. Blaid, from Dieppe, exhibited a Christ of beautiful workmanship, worth 4,000 fr., and of an unpublished composition, and other objects in ivory. Mr. Wolf, from Paris, also has a Christ and a Descent from the Cross and the handle of a whip, very artistically sculpted on ivory.
We find again the remarkable works of Mme de Dampierre as we continue; for we find ourselves again in front of her scissor cuts in paper and leather. It is a pleasure to see the small medallion of flowers, admirable in its finesse and execution. Cut-out screens and leather hangings imitating Cordoba leather cover the sides of the box in which Mr. Massonet has placed the medals struck in honour of the exhibition, and which are sold inside.
Opposite this box, there are engravings for buttons and seals which testify to the great skill of the engravers of Paris. Amongst these engravings, one should note a large first communion medal, composed by Father Martin and engraved by M. Oudiné, engraver of the Imperial Mint.
The medal is of large module.
On the right side, the Saviour of the world is standing under a tabernacle. He holds the chalice in one hand and the Eucharistic bread in the other. Two young children have just knelt at his feet. The smallest of the children has an angel who sees the face of the heavenly Father. Above the young boy and girl, large palm trees. At the bottom, two doves are drinking from a spring.
On the reverse side, a throne on which the open Gospel can be seen.
On both sides of the book, torches symbolise the light that the Gospel spreads in souls.
Next to it is a reproduction of a bas-relief in Roman cement, made by Messrs Rozel and Menisson. This cement is suitable for architectural construction and restoration. On the other side, a Descent from the Cross in relief, after the famous painting by Rubens, of the same cement.
The jewellery box, made of ebony wood, by Mr. Menisson, will stop the visitor for a moment, by its elegance and its beautiful layout. The vine borders on the feet are chiselled in silver. The group which surmounts it, representing a child fighting a dragon, is carved in pear wood, and the panels are in etched steel and inlaid with gold. The price of this box is 2,000 francs. Another box next to it, made of mosaic and marquetry in wood and inlaid mother-of-pearl, is of a very nice effect. Inside, one will notice some very well made flowers in aeolian. M. Gamet, head of the workshop, made this box, as well as the small model of a woodwork altar, composed, designed and executed by him in 1845, when he was only seventeen years old.
We now find ourselves, continuing, in front of M. Carrelle's imitated marble fruits, to be used as paper-ends and shelves. A large temple in paste at the corner is exhibited by Mr. Linder-Geofrien, manufacturer of pastillage. Columns support a dome, topped by an allegorical figure representing France standing on the globe. On the frieze, we read these inscriptions: To the arts, to agriculture, to trade and to industry. Small paintings corresponding to these inscriptions are found underneath. At the bottom of the columns, medallions contain these names: Homer, Arétin, Raphael, Phidias; Smith, Parmentier; Lafitte, Ternaux; Guttemberg, Papin; Archimedes, Pythagoras. A wooden altarpiece with a small statue of the Virgin, by M. Knecht, is next to it. This is followed by a large display case of imitated fruits, in a new composition, and small models of cathedrals and of a village near Bourg and Toul, very well executed in shells. M. Carette's marble fruits complete the Venus de Milo surround. Opposite the altarpiece of M. Knecht, we see a fireplace made entirely of glass, except for the hearth, which is the invention of M. Luce. This glass naturally resists the action of the fire, and should increase its brilliance. On the right hand side of this fireplace, we notice a very beautiful model of a large piece of silverware, known especially as a tableware, and which is an allegory of Peace. Peace is standing on the globe, holding a broken sword in her left hand and raising the palm of peace in her right hand. In the four corners are charming figures representing Commerce, Architecture, Art and Industry. Below, on the four sides, four pretty groups of children representing Fishing (in front), Harvesting (on the left hand), Harvesting (on the right hand) and Hunting (behind). This beautiful piece is made by M. Vidal, modeller.
The small church model, by M. Vincent, next to it, is a fine piece of work, as are the alabaster objects by M. Evrard, among which is a sculpted toilet with very graceful figures, priced at 800 fr. two small statuettes and the flower basket will be noticed. One will stop in front of the beautiful embossed shield and the carved wooden flowers of Mr. Lagnier.
Then comes the pomological museum, i.e. again imitated fruits, this time in wax-stone, by Mr. Montels, a retired captain in Toulouse, among which the melon, cherries and some apples seem to be the most successful. Messrs. Boulet and Durand show next to them some very nice inkwells and boxes in carved wood, and Mr. Faure ends our tour in this square with some very well executed Christs in bronze and wood.
©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855