Maison Denière

(1808 - 1903)


Maison Denière was one of the most prestigious French foundries of the nineteenth century with a reputation for unrivalled excellence. The initial workshop Denière et Matelin was created in 1808 by Jean François Denière (1744 – 1866) and Thomas Matelin.
Denière split from Matelin in 1820 and opened his own shop at rue de Vivienne, his workshop remaining at rue d’Orléans (currently rue Charlot). As a talented metalworker, he obtained prestigious commissions; such as the parade cradle for the young Duc de Bordeaux (exhibited today at the Arts Décoratifs in Paris), and the King Charles X’s coronation coach.
Denière's workshop employed more than 400 workers in 1834 and was at the time, amongst the most important Parisian firms. Its reputation was partly based on the quality of the metal and alloy used and partly on Denière's technique to obtain such beautiful and detailed castings.
The firm specialised in « pendules, lustres, candélabres, surtouts de table, feux etc, de bronzes des différentes styles et époques » as described in the catalogue of the Paris, Exposition Universelle of 1855.
Under The July Monarchy and the Second Empire Maison Denière delivered many pieces for the Mobilier de La Couronne. Its production intended for a wealthy clientele of royal and imperial families. In 1845 Jean François Denière was awarded the title of Officier de la Légion d'Honneur.
In 1843, Jean François Denière and his son Guillaume (1815 -1903) became associates. In 1849 Guillaume successfully took over the firm with a loyal clientele and new prestigious commissions such as the monumental group ‘Apollon et ses Muses’ decorating the dome of the Opera Garnier in Paris.
Exhibiting at the 1962 International Exhibition in London, the firm was recorded in the notes of the French catalogue, as one of the first serious competitors to Thomire. The company's work was illustrated by J.B. Waring in his treatises on both the 1851 and the 1862 exhibitions, and George Wallis of the South Kensington Museum wrote in his analysis of the bronzes and works of art for the Art Journal Supplement 1851 that decorative adjuncts in bronze ormolu formed a very striking feature of Deniere's display.
The firm remained successful until the death of Guillaume Denière in 1903, when their fonds de commerce were sold in a series of three auctions.