A rare pair of gilt bronze Louis XVI four light candelabra cassolettes, each with a central removable swagged covered vase with pinecone finial lifting to reveal a stiff leaf and gadrooned vase-shaped nozzle, the three surrounding and conformingly designed vase-shaped nozzles with scrolled squared laurel leaf wrapped branches issuing from the top of the tapering fluted stem, hung with berried laurel pendants, the wreath and foliate cast foot of the stem upon a shaped circular base with an entrelac frieze and floral rosettes upon squared projections above three lion paw feet
Paris, date circa 1765
Height 44 cm, diameter 27 cm. each.
Characteristic of the goût grec, which was developed in Paris during the mid 1760’s and continued until the early 1770’s, this pair of candelabra demonstrates the strong influence of the Parisian ornamentalists during the second half of the eighteenth century. In particular they relate closely to the work of the Parisian architect and ornamental designer Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-89). Many of Delafosse’s designs for trophies, cartouches, furniture, vases and light fittings were engraved in two volumes entitled “Nouvelle Iconologie Historique ou Attributs Hiérogliphiques”. The publication played an essential role in spreading the taste for Neo-classicism and the goût antique throughout all of Europe. Also of relevance one should note that in turn Delafosse influenced certain projects of Jean-Louis Prieur (b. 1725 d. after 1785) in particular a console table surmounted by a pair of eagle candelabra and supported by three bold lion paw feet, which is preserved at Varsovie Castle (illustrated in N. Ladyka, “Inventaire General des Meubles et Effets Mobiliers qui sont dans le Château de Varsovie, fait en Mars 1795”, 1997, pl. 15).
Prieur’s influence was also clearly in evidence in the Neo-classical works made by his cousin, the eminent bronzier Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-91), particularly in the creation of a lion paw candelabra (documented and discussed in Jean Dominique Augarde, “Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain bronzier (1719-1791)”). Prieur’s influence is also detected in certain works by Caffiéri. There are also another set of candelabra of similar style to the present pair that were listed in 1866 by Charles Mannheim in the collection of the duchesse de Talleyrand in her Parisian hotel in rue Saint-Dominique, which were sold at Sotheby’s Monaco, 23rd February 1986, lot 907.