A 19th Century, Louis XV Style Statuary Marble Rococo Chimneypiece.
Each canted jamb is festooned with carved foliage ranging from great curls of acanthus to prim flowers. It is likely this chimneypiece is a celebration of conjugal love and unity, the bearded bust the husband and the female bust, wearing a bridal band, his wife. The bride and groom are sheltered beneath a canopy of acanthus.
The ornate rococo tablet that commands the frieze contains
a pair of putti each holding their own shield in one hand and a shared crown in the other, the crown declaring allegiance to the French monarchy. This scene of heraldic unity takes places within a scallop shell; a safehold from demons thanks to the grotesque beneath the frieze, snarling into the fire. From either side of the tablet a fluting tendril is caught delicately in the marble and the border of the opening is carved with highly unusual grotto work.
Throughout the chimneypiece the decadence of rococo foliage is contrasted with a diamond cross- hatch in low relief both on the frieze and the jambs. The sensual curves of the acanthus leaf can be taken to be the incarnation of bodily love whereas the geometric, Apollonian quilt, the expression of spiritual love.