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“Egyptian Bust” Candlesticks

Pair of gilt and patinated bronze candlesticks with Egyptian busts


Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810

Height31 cm WidthBase 11 x 11 cm

Made of chased gilt and patinated bronze, this pair of candlesticks has stems sheathed in patinated bronze decorated on each side with a low relief (bas-relief). Two sides feature winged torches, and the other two show a décor made of an owl with spread wings, two female busts from the side and stylised palmettes.

Above the stems, there are two addorsed female busts of Egyptian women with nemes headdresses. They are topped by nozzles shaped as vases whose handles are formed as lion masks holding flaming oil lamps in their mouths, and drip pans with stylised leaf friezes. The lower portion of the stems, from which issue the feet of the figures, rest on square sloping bases decorated with winged male torsos and serpents.

This pair of candlesticks was probably inspired by models created in Paris during the same period by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot. Several similar models are recorded, however they present variations: one pair was formerly in the René Fribourg collection (sold by Sotheby’s, London, 25 June – 25 October 1963, lot 643); a second pair is illustrated in J. Bourne and V. Brett, L’art du luminaire, Paris, 1991, p. 146, fig. 494. Two identical pairs are known: the first was previously in the collection of Baron Fould-Springer and then that of Nathaniel de Rothschild (pictured in Souren Melikian, La décoration, Volume I, Hachette, Paris, 1963, p. 245); the second pair is illustrated in I. Sychev, The Russian Chandeliers 1760-1830, Editions PVBR, 2003, p. 134, fig. 633-634.