The Musée Christofle archive records that the pattern for these candelabra was created in 1873 and they were made in 1874 (courtesy Mme Anne Gros).
They are characteristic of Emile Reiber’s time as head of design at Christofle. It is probable that they were completed for Christofle's stand at the 1874 Exposition de L'Union Centrale, the precursor of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, which won Émile Reiber a Grand Prix:
'Elles sont dues à M. Reiber, qui a su tirer très-bon parti de ses études sur le style japonais. C'est M. Reiber qui est à la tête des ateliers de composition et de dessin: les émaux cloisonnés et les bronzes incrustés sont donc en grande partie son oeuvre et lui font le plus grand honneur'.
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1874, p. 422.
Appointed in 1865 Reiber utilised Christofle’s wealth of expertise, as France's premier maker of argenterie electrochimique, to produce distinctive decorative objects in the fashionable 'Japonisme' style. Inspired by Japanese and Chinese bronzes, Christofle perfected the production of alloys, enamels and electroplating to realise Reiber’s exotic designs.
Reiber promoted the appreciation of ancient design and ornament in his ‘Albums Reiber – Bibliothèque Portative des Arts du Déssin’ of 1877, printed by the 'Ateliers du Musée-Reiber'. They illustrate the breath of his repertoire which encompassed Franco-Italian Renaissance and neoclassical designs, but show a propensity for the Orient. The fine enamel reserves of trailing pink and blue flowers against a yellow ground are the work of Antoine Tard, émailleur at Christofle. Compare a pair of closely related candelabra in the Musée d’Orsay (OAO 656 1&2), designed by Reiber with enamel by Tard. Please see Lot 32 for further information on Emile Reiber.