Jean-François Denière (1774–1866)

At the end of the 18th century, Jean-François Denière (1774 - 1866) founded a workshop in Paris with François Matelin, at n°15, rue Vivienne in Paris. The company prospered significantly under the Empire and the reign of Louis Philippe, employing nearly two hundred artisans. His association with Matelin ended in 1820.

Along with Pierre-Philippe Thomire, Jean- François Denière was one of the main proponents of Egyptian taste in the decorative arts, influenced in part by Baron Vivan-Denon. In 1822, he received the title of Supplier to the King and counted amongst other clients the Duchess of Berry and the King of Spain.

He was joined in the business by his son Guillaume Denière (1815-1903) from 1844, the company being renamed ‘Denière et fils’. Guillaume studied art under the direction of the renowned French ornamentalist Aimé Chenavard (1798-1838) and the architect Henri Labrouste (1801-1875).

Guillaume produced bronzes for furniture, candelabras, clocks, and table centrepieces, expanding the business to employ over 400 workers. He collaborated with numerous artists of the day including Carrier-Belleuse (1848-1913) and Constant Sévin (1821-1888).

He delivered several clocks (Genius of the Arts, Woman reading with a dog) for the Tuileries Palace in 1852 and in 1854 delivered a spectacular bronze centrepiece to the Russian Ambassador Kisselef, as well as decorative bronzes for the viceroy of Egypt, Saïd Pacha, in 1862.

Renowned for the quality of its production, Denière et fils exhibited at many of the great exhibitions of the period, including the London International Exhibition of 1862 where they exhibited a flower stand of grand proportions, illustrated in J. B Waring, Masterpieces of Industrial Art & Sculpture, 1863, and a mantel garniture at the 1867 Paris Exhibition Universelle, purchased by Napoleon III.

Two mid-19th century clocks by Denière are in the Royal Collection Trust.

Tardy cites the firm as being active until 1890.

Tardy, 'Dictionnaire des Horologers Francais', Paris 1972.