Monumental pair of finely chiseled bronze candelabra, gilded with mercury and patinated.
The rectangular bases have an antique patina and rest on pedestals decorated with friezes of lotus flowers.
Each side is decorated with a mercury-gilded bronze ornament representing wreaths of flowers intertwined with ribbons and trophies with quivers and torches intertwined in a lyre.
Above, a winged fame dressed in a large diaphanous dress which floats in the air stands on a half-sphere.
Hair styled in the antique style with beautiful wavy hair held by a ribbon, she gazes fixedly at the horizon and holds at arm's length a crown from which springs a large bouquet of seven lights.
It is composed of a straight central part simulating a quiver ending with a brandon in the lower part and a bobèche with lotus flowers in the upper part.
All around, six scrolled arms of lights are highlighted with acanthus and decorated with central scrolls of palm leaves; they support cups with artichoke leaves in the center of which are placed the six bobèches decorated with strigils.
Exceptional quality of carving and mercury gilding, original patina.
Some of the reverses of the bronzes on the base are signed “Chiboust” for the bronzier Pierre Chiboust, active in Paris between 1779 and 1824.
Parisian work from the Empire period attributable to Claude-François Rabiat and Pierre Chiboust.
Height: 124cm; Width :
The original design that inspired our candelabra is the work of architects Percier and Fontaine.
Made for the boudoir of Empress Joséphine at the Palais de St Cloud around 1802, it is today preserved in a collection of drawings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (Inv. No. 63-535-20)
-Metropolitan Museum New York (Inv. No. 26.256.2)
-Christies Paris, June 25, 2008, lot 195 (72,500 euros)
-Sotheby’s Paris, April 6, 2011, lot 182, (108,750 euros)
Our opinion :
The pair of candelabras that we present are particularly rare on the market.
The purity of the line corresponds to the quintessence of the empire style, with a sublimated vision of antiquity, revisited by the architects Percier and Fontaine for the imperial family in the years 1805-1806.
After the victories of Austerlitz and Jena, the theme of victorious fame standing on earth enjoyed great success.
Many examples were made by the great Parisian bronziers such as Pierre-Philippe Thomire, Claude Galle and Claude-François Rabiat, for the military elite of the empire.
The average size of this type of piece is between 60 and 90 centimeters while our pair extends to 124 cm, which is rare and exceptional for candelabras from this period, even within national collections.
This special order required an ingenious design, with a renamed into two parts assembled by a key system.
If the original sponsor is not known to us, we can easily imagine the opulence of its interior which must have rivaled the grand decorations of the imperial palaces.
The model is attributable to Pierre-Philippe Thomire with certainty (several signed pairs are known and the model appears in his album) but it is possible that another bronzier working for the imperial furniture storage like Claude-François Rabiat could also have produced this type of large candelabra.
The signatures on the reverse of the elements indicate to us that they are the work of Pierre Chiboust, a Parisian bronze maker of whom we do not know much other than who he was active between 1779 and 1824 and that he worked for Rabiat whose he took over the workshop after his death in 1815.
The presence of a handwritten signature on the reverse of a removable element rather than a visible mark on the base probably indicates that he is only the author of this element.
This type of marking is often the work of workers who marked their work to get paid in large workshops which had hundreds of employees; which suggests that our candelabras came from Rabiat's workshop, at the time when Chiboust worked with him, between 1806 and 1815.
But we must remain careful because his signature is found on certain pieces signed Thomire, which proves a collaboration between the two workshops, or at least a subcontracting for certain pieces.
In order to meet deadlines and to satisfy as many people as possible, it often happened that large furniture storage orders were distributed among the best craftsmen.
4 000 €