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1990

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Surtout De Table (Table Centerpiece) (France)

This is a Surtout de Table (Table centerpiece). It was made by Pierre-Philippe Thomire. We acquired it in 1990. Its medium is cast and gilt bronze with hand engraving, cut glass, silvered-mirrored glass. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Stated to have been a present from Napoleon to his stepson Eugène de Beauharnais, possibly at the time of the latter’s wedding, a surtout de table by Thomire appears in the inventory of Eugène’s possessions he shipped to Munich after the fall of Napoleon. Thomire produced this large, complex work meant to dazzle with reflected light and candlelight while including classical references that would have been recognized by the important heads of state. The motifs including swans—popular with Eugène’s mother, Josephine—appear in Eugène’s house called the Hôtel Beauharnais, suggesting the surtout de table might have been intended for use there. It undoubtedly accompanied Eugène when Napoleon appointed him viceroy of Italy.

This object was bequest of Reverend Alfred Duane Pell and transferred from National Museum of American History.

  • Mount, ca. 1810
  • cast and gilt bronze.
  • Gift of Mrs. George B. McClellan.
  • 1907-3-13

Cite this object as

Surtout De Table (Table Centerpiece) (France); Made by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (French, 1751 - 1843); cast and gilt bronze with hand engraving, cut glass, silvered-mirrored glass; 1991-31-1-a/ww

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18636423/ |title=Surtout De Table (Table Centerpiece) (France) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 May 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>