These extremely rare candelabra demonstrate the unique creative involvement of the marchands-merciers in Paris in the 18th century, discussed by Carolyn Sargentson in Merchants and Luxury Markets: The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth Century, London, 1996. The combination of French porcelain flowers and old Japanese porcelain cockerels held together by contemporary ormolu mounts forming candelabra are a brilliant assemblage of distinct elements of the marchands stock. They represent the innovation of design and combination of materials which only they were uniquely allowed to execute, as the guild regulations further prohibited production by the marchands-merciers to only the sale, embellishment or finishing of goods.
According to C. Sargentson, Japanese and Chinese porcelain was distinguished from one another in most inventories of the 1720's and 30's, and the marchand Thomas-Joachim Herbert stocked a particularly large proportion of the more valuable Japanese porcelain. In addition to the relative scarcity of Japanese porcelain, according to the 1724 inventory of Hebert's porcelain, Chinese porcelain was on average less highly-valued. Japanese objects were valued at an average of 12 livres each, and Chinese objects at an average of 8 livres each. (C. Sargentson, pp. 70-72).