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Pair of candelabra

Pair of candelabra

  • Place of origin:

    France (It has also been suggested that these candelabra were made in Italy, made)

  • Date:

    1850-1881

  • Materials and Techniques:

    The production of such decorative bronzes was directed by a <i>fondeur-ciseleur</i> who cast the object and then with the use of chisels and stamps finished the modelling by chasing, giving a judicious contrast of highly polished and textured surface areas, providing a lively play of light and shade. The surface was then gilded by the<i> doreur</i>. Mercury gilding was extremely dangerous as the burning off of the mercury from the amalgam produced noxious fumes resulting in eventual brain damage. Bronze-workers are mostly anonymous, and the maker of this pair of candelabra is not recorded.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    971-1882

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 2a, case CA2 []

The two children that gaze up at the candelabra they hold in the form of branches of bay leaves recall the late 1760s works of French sculptor and bronze founder Jean-Louis Prieur (c. 1725 - after 1785). Examples of Prieur's design of candelabra supported by infants are not uncommon: a pair is in the Wallace Collection, and other examples have appeared for sale on the market. Despite this echo of late-eighteenth-century iconography, the wealth of decorative ornament on the V&A candelabra date from the second half of the 19th century. Their tripod stands, their tapering vases embellished with female heads, grapes and vine leaves, and the term-like children whose lower bodies dissolve into scrolling acanthus ornament incorporate stylistic elements derived from Baroque, Rococo and Neo-classical sources and as such are typical of 19th century revivalist taste. The taste for richly decorated furnishing bronzes characterised the collection assembled by John Jones in the second half of the 19th century.

Physical description

Pair of candelabra, ormolu, each for six lights. Each candelabrum in the shape of a vase on which are three demi-figures of boys supporting diverging twin branches of bay leaves with foliate nozzles for the candles. The base of each candelabrum is triangular with claw feet emerging from acanthus fronds separated by festoons of flowers tied with ribbons. The tripod base supports three urn finials matching the finial on the lid of the vase. The vase stands on a bell shaped pedestal with a twisted gadrooned surface. The body of the vase is decorated with acanthus scrollwork interspersed with female masks; the fluted neck is further adorned with vine leaves and grapes.

Place of Origin

France (It has also been suggested that these candelabra were made in Italy, made)

Date

1850-1881

Materials and Techniques

The production of such decorative bronzes was directed by a fondeur-ciseleur who cast the object and then with the use of chisels and stamps finished the modelling by chasing, giving a judicious contrast of highly polished and textured surface areas, providing a lively play of light and shade. The surface was then gilded by the doreur. Mercury gilding was extremely dangerous as the burning off of the mercury from the amalgam produced noxious fumes resulting in eventual brain damage. Bronze-workers are mostly anonymous, and the maker of this pair of candelabra is not recorded.

Dimensions

Height: 560 mm

Object history note

The pair of candelabra and their stone column plinths were bequeathed to the Museum by John Jones in his will of 1882. The Handbook to his collection, published in 1883, appears to show one of the candelabra in the drawing room of Jones' house at 95, Piccadilly, set to the side of the room beside a cabinet. Each candelabrum stood on a gilded metal capital above a stone column on a square, green marble base. (These columns are now separately numbered in the Museum inventory as 1141-1882 and 1142-1882.)

Descriptive line

Pair of candelabra, ormolu, each for six lights. Each candelabrum in the shape of a vase on which are three demi-figures of boys supporting diverging branches for the candles. The base of each candelabrum is triangular with claw feet and festoons of flowers.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Handbook of the Jones Collection in the South Kensington Museum. London: Published for the Committee of Council on Education by Chapman and Hall, 1883
Hughes, Peter. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Furniture. 3 vols. London: The Wallace Collection, 1996. ISBN:090078556X (set)
Christie's London, Catalogue of ... French Furniture chiefly of the eighteenth century, Porcelain and Objects of Art formed by H. M. W. Oppenheim, Tuesday 10 June, 1913
Messrs Foster, Inventory of the Collection of Pictures, Miniatures, Decorative Furniture, Porcelain, Objects of Art, Books, &c. formed by the late John Jones, Esq. London: Dryden Press, 1882

Materials

Bronze; Gold leaf

Techniques

Casting; Gilding

Categories

Lighting; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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