The design for these candlesticks is closely related to those executed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonier (1675-1750) and illustrated in his Chandelier de sculpture en argent inventés par J. Meissonier of 1728, one of which is reproduced here. Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier was one of the greatest proponents of the genre pittoresque, now known as the Rococo. The son of a silversmith and sculptor, he moved to Paris in 1718 and went on to succeeded Jean Bérain II as dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi.
It is clear that Meissonier developed several versions of this model as a candlestick and a candelabra are visible in the background of Nicholas de Largillière’s 1736 portrait of Meissonier and his wife which is now in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich 1986, vol. I, p.102, fig.2.1.2). Although several pairs of the candlesticks are recorded, including those in the Wallace Collection (London F.J.B. Watson, Wallace Collection Catalogues, 1956, p. 21, nos. F78-79), and most recently a pair that sold anonymously at Christie’s, London, 9 July 2015, lot 133 (£68,500, including premium) candelabra versions of this model are rare. One of the few known examples is a three-light candelabrum with two putti that were part of the dowry of Louis Elisabeth, daughter of Louis XV, upon her marriage to the Duke of Parma in 1739 now at the Pitti Palace, Florence (ibid, p.103, fig.2.1.3).