The elegant arrangement of two maidens is based on a drawing by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (Paris, 1761) as illustrated in O. Pröschel et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, pl. XXVII. Aubin’s drawing is based on a plaster model by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, director of Sculpture at the Sevrès Manufactory, which he exhibited at the Grand Salon du Louvre in the same year. The model was intended to be cast in silver by Thomas-Francois Germain (‘Deux Grouppes de femmes en platre ce sont des chandeliers pour être exécutés en argent’).
There are a number of candelabra based on the same Falconet design but with variations to the bases and candlearms. These include pairs in the Residenz Museum, Munich, originally acquired by the duc des Deux-Ponts for the Hotel de Deux-Ponts, Strasbourg (op.cit., pp. 254-5, figs. 4.7.2), the Wallace Collection, London (F136 and 137) and four in the Warsaw Royal Palace, probably acquired by King Stanislas Auguste Poniatowski (d. 1798) (ibid., fig. 4.7.3). A pair virtually identical to the present model but with bronze figures can be traced to the celebrated Kann collection and was most recently sold from the collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson; Sotheby’s, Paris, 15 October 2003, lot 98 (€49,750).