The particular pair of small handmade candle holder (to hold in the hand) is made in chiselled and gilded bronze and it is datable to the second half of the 19th century. Stylistically it is attributable to the famous French bronze artist Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892).
The candle holders depict two greyhounds, dogs loved by the nobility for their grace, elegance and aristocratic beauty, who sit gracefully turn their heads back. From their tail departs an arm that acts both as a grip and, at the top, as a candle holder. Some decorations with geometric motifs of oriental taste are made in chisel technique.
This pair of well-executed and well-preserved candle holder is distinguished by its distinct decoration, conferred by the oriental ornament and curious and amusing subject.
Ferdinand Barbedienne was born on January 10, 1810 in Saint-Martin-de-Fresnay, Calvados (France). In 1838 he founded a foundry with his friend Achille Collas (1795-1859) and in a short time Collas & Barbedienne produced more than a thousand types of sculptures taken from ancient and contemporary models. Between 1850 and 1854 the company was well known and produced furnishings for the hotel de Ville in Paris. He won many prizes and honours at major exhibitions such as London in 1862. He produced furnishings, vases, pendulum clocks, chandeliers and decorative objects mainly in neo-Gothic and neoclassical style. In 1866 he received the Gold Medal from Jean Goujon from the Société d'encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale. When Collas died, Barbedienne became the sole owner of the company that continued to produce with high quality standards. In about 1875 he made the fusion of the magnificent four-poster bed designed by Édouard Lièvre (1829-1886) for Emilie Valtesse de la Bigne, now exhibited at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. Many important artists and founders collaborated with Barbedienne, such as David d'Angers, Jean-Baptiste Clesinger. In the 1970s he purchased 125 models from Antoine Louis Barye, which were then produced and marketed in 1876. Artists such as Auguste Rodin and Emmanuel Fremiet were trained in their workshops. Ferdinand Barbedienne died in Paris on 21 March 1892.