An exceptional pair of French Empire candelabra “Retour d’Egypte”, attributed to Claude Galle (1759-1815), consisting of a pair of gilt bronze candlesticks surmounted by a detachable crown of four lights. The large gilt bronze candlesticks have a ball-shaped candle holder resting on three Egyptian female heads wearing a traditional Egyptian headdress. The tapering fluted stem is supported by three pairs of human feet upon a circular base. This base has refined decorations of water leafs and contrasting mat and shiny gilding.
On top of these candlesticks we see the candelabra with four lights. The central light is vase shaped with geometrical and mesh patterns while the other arms of light are made in the shape of cornucopias. Each of the arms of light has decorations of leaves on the cornucopia which ends in a candle holder with annular bands and a drip pan.
This magnificent pair of French Empire candlesticks with Egyptian figures is attributed to Claude Galle, who supplied variants of this model to Château de Fontainebleau in 1804. This wonderful pair was probably made after a design by the leading Empire designer Charles Percier (1764-1838) as we can see in a drawing which is preserved in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. This drawing is contained in a small album that served as a catalog for a Paris bronzier.
Several similar candelabra and candlesticks were made during the first decade of the nineteenth century. By about 1810 candlesticks of this style were very fashionable among Parisian society, when their popularity was enhanced by publications for similar designs appearing in catalogues of the period which were used by the Parisian bronziers like Claude Galle.
This pair of French Empire candelabra has been executed with mat and shiny mercury gilding. They are in a very good condition.
France, Empire period circa 1805-1810.
Dimensions: 44 cm high, 25 cm wide, 25 cm deep, candlesticks 30 cm high, diameter of the base: 13,5 cm.
- Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 326 #5.1.7.
- Christie’s Paris, 23 October 2003, where a pair of this model of candlesticks appeared in auction.
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4 000 €