Pair of thirteen-flame candelabra
France or Russia
Second quarter of 19th century
Cast, chiseled and gilt bronze
Height 40.95 in (cm 104), diameter 17,7 in (cm 45)
They weight 4.8 lb (21.8 kg) each one
State of conservation:
very good: three wax cups (bobèches) have been replaced
The triangular plinth is composed of a foundation with concave sides surmounted by a similarly configured base decorated with protomes of winged lions and Persian palm motifs. Above this, a sheaf of acanthus leaves wraps the base of a fluted column that tapers slightly upwards to a capital, which reproduces the acanthus leaf decoration. A calyx stands atop the capital and supports the first order of arms, which alternate with extended palm leaves and are adorned with twining acanthus shoots. Each candle holder is decorated with palm leaves and has a wax cup or bobéche. The second order of arms continues the same decorative motif.
The model for these candelabra, characterized by shafts enwreathed in palm leaves and an animal-claw base, draws inspiration partly from ancient marbles and also from early 19th-century drawings by Charles Percier. A later variant, crafted by the famous French bronze-smith Pierre-Philippe Thomire and placed in the State Apartments of the Grand Trianon in April 1837, is described as une paire de Candelabres […] sur pieds à griffes [a pair of candelabra with animal-claw feet].
If we compare our exemplars with other candelabra from the same period found in the principal European courts and noble palaces, we find a large number of variations on the theme. On the basis of the style, technique and taste, it is reasonable to suppose that these important candelabra are the work of French or Russian artisans working in the second quarter of the 19th century.
Photo: Giorgio Majno
H. Mosè, Vasi, altari, patere, treppiedi, candelabri, sarcofagi, London 1814, pp. 85-86
C. Percier, in Fontaine P., Recueil de Décorations Intérieures, 1801
D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le Grand Trianon: meubles et objects d’art, Paris, pp. 128-129
Filippo Thomire 1751-1843, exhibition catalogue, Leningrad 1984
S. Pietroburgo: arte di carta al Museo dell’Ermitage 1703-1825, Milan 1991
A. Ceneviere, Il mobile russo, l’epoca d’oro 1780-1840, Milan 1989
E. Ivanova, (ed.), Russian Applied Art, Leningrad 1976