These magnificent candelabra bear the imperial inventory stamps for the château de Saint-Cloud, and were almost certainly supplied to Napoleon himself who made Saint-Cloud his principal residence after the Palais de Tuileries in Paris. The decoration of the interiors was supervised by court architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François- Léonard Fontaine in 1802.
The design of these majestic candelabra, with winged figures of Victory holding aloft the candlearms, probably derives from the celebrated drawing in an album of designs by Percier and Fontaine in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (illustrated in M.L. Myers, French Architectural and Ornament Drawings of the Eighteenth Century, New York, 1992, cat. 98, pp. 157-8). One particular sheet features a closely related winged Victory candelabrum, and an inscription indicates that this and other pieces on the sheet were destined for Empress Josephine's boudoir at Saint-Cloud, thus establishing a strong connection between Percier and Fontaine and the design of these candelabra from Saint-Cloud.
The model of Victory candelabrum is most closely associated with the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), perhaps the most important bronzier of the Empire period who produced an unparalleled oeuvre spanning ormolu mounts for furniture, sculpture and bronzes d'ameublement, much of it destined for the Imperial court. Two other pairs of Victory candelabra attributed to Thomire are in the château de Fontainebleau (illustrated in J.P. Samoyault,Pendules et bronzes d'ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, Paris, 1989, p. 156, cat. 133). A further pair of Victory candelabra with Saint-Cloud marks, but of smaller size (36 ins., 93 cm), was sold Christie's, London, 4 June 2014, lot 647 (£56,250).
Built for Monsieur, the brother of Louis XIV, and later gifted to Queen Marie-Antoinette by Louis XVI, Saint-Cloud remained a favoured palace of the French kings following Napoleon's reign, and was where Napoleon III chose to invest himself as Emperor in 1852. Other than some changes to the interior decoration, much of Napoleon's furnishings remained intact during this period and were thankfully removed from the château before it was burned down during the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. .