France, attributed to Jean Raux, Paris
First half of the 18th century
The figures 9.8 to 10.3 cm high without plinths
Mounted on a mahogany base 36.6 x 12.8

These four glass lampwork figures from the Commedia Dell’Arte or La Comédie italienne are closely related to the ensemble preserved in its theatrical setting in the Château d’Écouen.

La Comédie italienne by Jean Raux, Paris, 18th century, Château d’Écouen, Musée National de la Renaissance

The art of lampworking was developed in Venice in the 16th century and introduced into France by Italan artisans from Altare, near Savona, in the late 16th century. Nevers was the centre of production and in 1769-1770 the future Interior Minister Roland de la Platière reported “I stopped to visit the ateliers in Nevers, where they make primarily small decorative figurines; the enamel is heated with a lamp that is strengthened by the air from the bellows that are activated by the worker’s foot”. [i]

However, the Ecouen Comédie italienne has been associated since the 19th century with another rather different group in the museum which is titled ‘Le Triomphe de Jupiter sur les bords du Tibre’ which bears a label that reads ‘RAUX EMAILLEUR DU ROY’ resident in the rue Saint- Martin, Paris. Evelyne Merigot, in a paper on the three generations of the Raux family attributes these to Jean Raux (1673 – 1750). The inventory taken after the death of Jean Raux lists a “piece depicting the Carnival of Venice”.[ii] Jean Raux’s son Jean-Baptiste was émailleur du Roi and celebrated for his artificial eyes, scientific instruments, jewellery and figures. 

The right arm of the left hand figure is a porcelain replacement. Further restorations are itemised in our conservation report. 


Rothschild Collection, then by descent
Christie’s Paris, 21 November 2023, Les Greniers de Ferrières, lot 449

References:Zecchin 2018
Sandro Zecchin, Il vetro a lume – Lampworking, Glass items up to the 19th Century, (2018), vol. I

Price: £9,500