Aubert Joseph Parent, Neuchâtel Limewood, diameter (with frame) 33.5 cm
A scroll on the relief has the inscription "Unis à jamais" (joined forever) and the date 1795, and the mount bears the artist's dedication of this wedding present to the Basle couple Dietrich Forcart and Gertrud Merian. Their marriage is symbolized by the coats of arms of the two families chained together on the altar on which two flaming hearts are set, with a pair of billing and cooing doves fluttering above. The painter, sculptor and architect Aubert Joseph Parent (1753-1835), originally from Cambrai, specialised in the design of interior decoration and furniture. In 1792, as a refugee from the French Revolution, he had been commissioned by the Forcart family to furnish the Württemberger Hof and to design its garden. His success had begun in 1777 when a beautifully carved flower basket caught the attention of Louis XVI and was placed in the King's apartment in Versailles. The almost untreated surface of the limewood, relying for its life like effect on the technical perfection of the carving, corresponded to the taste of the period and gave perfect expression to the contemporary call for a return to nature. The presence in the Museum of eight works by Parent and two by his imitator, Jean Demontreuil, all with a provenance from Basle collectors, demonstrates their popularity.