• The Ismail Merchant Collection auction at Christies

    Sale 5980

    The Ismail Merchant Collection

    7 October 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 99

    A PAIR OF EMPIRE GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE THREE-LIGHT CANDELABRA

    CIRCA 1810

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF EMPIRE GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE THREE-LIGHT CANDELABRA
    CIRCA 1810
    Each with a classical maiden supporting a fruiting basket issuing foliate scroll branches and a central stem with eagle finial, on a marble base mounted with winged sphinx
    31¾ in. (80.5 cm.) (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The caryatid bronze-figured candlebra, designed in the early 19th century antique/Egyptian manner, comprise vase-bearing Isis priestesses, whose pearl-wreathed and plinth-supported marble altar-drums are garlanded with ribbon-tied swags suspended from winged sphinxes. The torch candle-nozzles issue from the fruit-filled vases and are guarded by Jupiter's eagle perched on palm-wreathed and orb-capped pillars.
    The pattern corresponds to a pair, less richly decorated, in the dining-room at Malmaison (see Nietta Apra, Il Mobile Impero, Novara, 1970, p.25.). The figures relate to those of 'nike' victories invented in 1802 for Empress Josephine's Château de Saint-Cloud apartments by the architect Charles Percier (d.1838). They reflect the antique or 'Empire' fashion popularised by Percier and Fontaine's Recueil des Décorations Intérieures, 1801 (see E. Hassling, le Luminaire; Documents de Style Empire, Paris, nd. fig. 5; and H. Ottomeyer and P. Proschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, vol. 1, 1986, pp. 332-333.).
    Among the most celebrated bronze manufacturers of such figurative candelabra was Claude-Franois Rabiat (d.1815), Maítre in 1778. He had a thriving business and regularly provided candelabra to other accomplished bronziers including Thomire, Feuchère and Claude Galle.
    A similar set of four candelabra was sold, The Peter Zervudachi Collection, Sotheby's, London, 10 June 1998, lot 352; another pair, Sotheby's, London, 13 June 2001, lot 355; and a further pair, A View Over Eaton Square A Private Collection, Christie's, London, 10 November 2005, lot 324.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.