These impressive wall lights embody the sober, architectural style of the first wave of neo-classicism of the 1760's known as the goût grec. They derive from a drawing by Jean-Louis Prieur (illustrated here) for a wall light similarly centred by a putto.
Prieur, who became maître sculpteur in 1765 and maître-fondeur en terre et sable in 1769, was an influential ornemaniste in the new classical style. He is perhaps best known for a series of drawings he supplied for the execution of furniture and gilt-bronzes for the Polish Court at Warsaw in 1766, one of the most important neo-classical commissions of the time. Interestingly, the same distinctive pink tone to the gilding, a result of an imbalance in the mixture of mercury and gold in the process of mercury gilding, is also present in a series of architectural gilt-bronzes supplied by Prieur to Chartres Cathedral.
Other examples of this distinguished model include a pair sold from the collection of Mme C. Lelong, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 27 April-1 May 1903, lot 334 and a pair sold from the collection of Joseph Bardac, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 9 December 1927, lot 80.