9811

VERY RARE PAIR OF NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD AND BRONZED CANDELABRA

Almost Certainly English. Last Quarter Of The Eighteenth Century.

Measurements

Height: 36 ¼” (92.1 cm)
Width: 12” (30.5 cm)
Depth: 12” (30.5 cm)

Research

Of giltwood with faux bronze decoration and gilt-brass candleholders. Each candelabrum with an elegantly modeled draped female classical full-length figure holding aloft a spirally-carved cornucopia from which issue three inverted voluted supports on which rest three downswept acanthine candle arms ending in brass ribbed cup-shaped candleholders. The foliate carved shaft ending in carved foliate plumes from which are suspended three gilt-brass chains which carry a carved giltwood wreath. Each candelabrum raised on a laurel carved giltwood fluted cut column base resting on a square faux bronze plinth base. Gilding and bronzing original.

Provenance:
A Prominent New York Fifth Avenue Collection
An Important German Collection
Jeremy Ltd., London

The present pair of candelabra, although almost certainly English, due to their lightness of modeling, gilding technique, and typically English vase-shaped brass candleholders, are based on a French prototype (figure 1) dating from the late 18th century.  It is likely that the pair, which are most unusually carved in fine detail from wood, were produced as special commissions, or as maquettes for the plaster sculpture industry that flourished in Britain from the mid-18th through the mid-19th century.

The sculptor John Cheere (1709-87) appears to have been the first to sell plaster casts as decorative art,  after becoming owner of a sculpture yard at Hyde Park Corner around 1738.  Having developed methods of bronzing and gilding plaster, and of painting it to imitate marble, Cheere was able to mass-produce busts and statuettes of high-quality appearance.  The rising demand for neoclassical statuary in private homes in England made Cheere’s work very popular, and soon numerous competing plaster shops sprang up in London.

The plaster sculpture movement never spread to the Continent, although a very influential set of French statuettes were first produced in plaster for a grande fête at the home of Madame du Berry in 1771. These four figures of Abundance held cornucopias from which issued candlelight. Marble versions of the du Barry lamps were shown at the Paris Salon in 1773, inspiring a new taste in neoclassical figural candelabra throughout France and England.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.