A Rare Pair of Finely Chased Gilt Bronze Four-Light Candelabra with Matte and Burnished Finishing, Transition period

A Rare Pair of Finely Chased Gilt Bronze Four-Light Candelabra with Matte and Burnished Finishing
Paris, Transition period Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1775
Height 40 cm; width of the light branches 29 cm
M
ade entirely of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, these neoclassical candelabra feature a tapering stem adorned with acanthus leaves, swags suspended from roundels and interlace friezes that are centered by rosettes. The stem supports a candleholder in the form of a vase with molded pedestal, which issues the removable bouquet of light branches, made up of three curved arms that are decorated with leaves and terminate in drip pans and candleholders that are gadrooned and are linked by a shaped motif adorned with a matted reserve and suspended seed motifs, as well as a fourth candleholder in the center of the bouquet. The round base is decorated with corolla motifs, with three slightly protruding sections, which are adorned with acanthus leaves terminating in protruding rectangles that are centered by textured panels and are further embellished by ribbon-tied reed toruses.
 
T
he inspiration for this rare and remarkable pair of candelabra may be traced to several Parisian designs of the second half of the 18th century, including certain designs by the ornementalists Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789) and Jean-François Forty (1721-circa 1785), as well as the goldsmith Robert-Joseph Auguste (1723-1805), to whom is attributed the preparatory drawing for a neoclassical candelabrum illustrated in J. Bourne and V. Brett, L’art du Luminaire, Editions Flammarion, Paris, 1992, p. 109, fig. 348. The style, founded on the desire for a “return to antiquity”, grew out of the archeological discoveries that had recently been made in the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, near Naples. These discoveries had a profound effect on the European decorative arts; in France, their major repercussion was the decline of the rocaille style, which had been encouraged by some of the most influential connoisseurs of the first half of the 18th century, including King Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour. Thus, under the patronage of powerful collectors of the 1760s, the decorative arts in Paris came progressively to reject curves and sinuous lines, and to embrace a new esthetic vision that was based on the desire for perfectly symmetrical designs, and to favor ornamental motifs based on models from Greek and Roman antiquity.

The present candelabra, which are especially noteworthy due to their exceptionally fine chasing and gilding, were made within this particular context. Today, among the small number of comparable candelabra known to exist (featuring many variations in their design and chased motifs), one example was formerly in the well-known collection of Monsieur David-Weill (illustrated in G. Henriot, Le luminaire de la Renaissance au XIXe siècle, Paris, 1933, plate 177). Two other examples are pictured in G. and R. Wannenes, Les bronzes ornementaux et les objets montés de Louis XIV à Napoléon III, Editions Vausor, p. 238. One further comparable pair of candelabra is in the former summer residence of Czar Paul I  - Pavlovsk Palace near Saint Petersburg (see The State Culture Preserve Pavlovsk, Full Catalogue of the Collections, Tome X, Metal-Bronze, Volume II, Candelabra, candlesticks, girandoles, Saint Petersburg, 2016, p. 42, catalogue n° 23-24).
 

CA68


A Rare Pair of Finely Chased Gilt Bronze Four-Light Candelabra with Matte and Burnished Finishing, Transition period