While candlesticks inspired by European metalwork were made in pairs and sets of four for the China trade, and are, indeed, very desirable forms among the Chinese export repertoire, this pair of candelabra may well be unique. D.S. Howard, writing in The Choice of the Private Trader, points out that "...candlesticks...did not survive the 18th century in any quantity" and also that "Candlesticks were comparatively rare in the later 18th century..."
The shape of the present pair is a fascinating mixture of Queen Anne period silver, as seen in the knopped standards and shaped, square, dished bases, and Baroque ornament, reflected in the scrolling candle arms and the unusual bracketed bobeches. The enameling on the candelabra is highly reminiscent in palette, painting style and motif of high quality French market Chinese export of the 1725-35 period, like the well-known French royal service (see lot 20). Very likely these candelabra were a special commission for a very highly placed East Indies Company director or investor.