Impressive pair of gilt and patinated bronze candelabra with three branches. The stem of each candelabra is decorated with the winged goddess Victory, who holds a gilt bronze torch in each hand. Her head is topped by a gilt bronze vase that transforms into the candelabra branches, which is embellished with griffins and rosettes. At the top of each candelabra is a peacock standing on a globe, symbolizing the sun and immortality. Victory is standing on a cruciform-shaped base, which has a winged Cupid on two sides and a caduceus on the other two sides. The intertwined snakes of the caduceus are a symbol of the Greek god Hermes (or the Roman god Mercury), and is a symbol of peace, eloquence, and negotiation. Empire period.
Dim: W: 8,3 in – D: 8,3in – H: 29,9in.
Dim: L:21cm, P:21cm, H:76cm.
In perfect condition.
Our model is inspired by the projects of Charles Percier and François-Leonard Fontaine, famous architects of the Emperor. Their most important work, entitled Recueil de decorations intérieurs (Collection of interior decorations), was published in France at the end of the 19th century. The winged Victories, caduceus, and griffins are some of the motifs present in this piece that demonstrate the adoption of Percier and Fontaine’s decorative vocabulary by the artisans who crafted it. Several pairs of similar candelabras are known today. One pair is at the British Embassy in Paris and previously belonged to Pauline Borghese. The Duke of Ellington purchased it in 1815. A second pair is in the collection at the castle of Hombourg and is featured in Leon de Groeber’s book, Decorative Arts in Europe, 1790-1850 (p. 171). Finally, three other pairs are in the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, the castle of Nymphenburg, and the Palace of Quirinal. The bronze founder who kept the original model is unknown; however, our candelabras are very similar to Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) and Claude Galle’s (1759-1815) works. These two remarkable bronze founders worked for the most important dignitaries of their time.