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18. Early Ormoulu Ceremonial Cane -Ca. 1820 -Fire gilt bronze knob well modeled in high relief and hand chased in painstaking fine detail with five encircling putti holding hands on the side and elaborate baroque scrolls and shells on the top. Throughout superbly figured snake wood shaft and a horn ferrule. Best French Art is on display in this cane with the allure of a staff, which embodies luxury and symbolizes better than any other the spirit of the glorious Napoleonic Era. Flawless. -H. 2” x 1 ½”, O.L. 43” -$1,400-$1,800 -Ormoulou, also is also called “mercury gilding”, “fire gilding” or “amalgam gilding”. A process of applying gilt to metals used from the seventeenth century onwards and later used for ceramics as well. It is still used occasionally. An amalgam of gold and mercury is applied to the object that is then fired in a low-temperature oven so that the mercury is driven off, leaving a thin film of gold. The process is usually repeated several times until the layer of gold is thick enough to be burnished to a hard brilliance. A variation of the process, known as “matt gilding”, was invented towards the end of the eighteenth century, probably by Gouthiere. The process can only be practiced under severely restricted conditions today because of the harmful effects on the craftsmen. The mercurous oxide fumes driven off in the process are highly noxious and, in the eighteenth century, very many workers and craftsmen perished from ‘phossy jaw’, a disease caused by mercury gilding. -Putto, plural putti, a nude chubby child figure, often with wings, frequently appearing in both mythological and religious paintings and sculpture, especially of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Derived from personifications of love, or Eros figures, in Greek and Roman art, putti came to be used to portray cherubim in Italian paintings from the Renaissance onwards. With the revival of classical mythological subjects in the arts Cupid was commonly represented as a putto, and numbers of anonymous putti were frequently depicted in attendance on various immortals.