French. Circa 1930.


Height: 17 3/4" (45 cm)
Diameter: 7" (18 cm)


Of statuary marble with gilt-bronze mounts.  The shaped marble body of double gourd form mounted with handles cast as laughing donkeys.  The front centered by a classical tambourine mount.  The six candle arms naturalistically cast as rose plants.  The whole raised on a fretted chinoiserie-inspired circular base.

These candelabra display a most intriguing and unusual blend of imagery derived from a variety of cultures.

The double gourd form of the body has its origin in Chinese porcelain and this is underlined by the Chinese derivation of the pierced fretted gilt-bronze base.

The naturalistically cast gilt-bronze roses bearing the candleholders issuing from stiff laurel leaves are a classical reference.

The gilt-bronze handles in the form of braying donkey heads are without known precedent and could have a variety of meanings: A donkey may represent humility, honor or “Royalty” in disguise, as it was ridden by Christ on the Entry into Jerusalem, as well as by the Emperor Heraculis, divested of his robes, on entering the same city.

The donkeys are tethered by a rope, which extends up towards and twists around the mouth of the gourd and then down to encircle its waist. From the rope at the waist hang a tambourine and a flute, and there is a further reference to the donkey in the representation of two hooved feet on either side of the musical instruments.

Both instruments are attributes of muses.  Euterpe, muse of lyric, poetry and music plays the flute.  Erato, muse of lyric and love poetry, the tambourine.  Both instruments are also the attribute of vice personified.

Full research report available on request.