This impressive pair of candelabra exemplify the Russian taste in bronze: the Naval theme pervades every aspect of the design. The Rostral column hails back to antiquity, the Ancient Greeks and Romans erected these columns to celebrate naval victories. The shell shaped central nozzle, the dolphin arms, the river god flanked by swan's and the stream godess, all water divinities and motifs of flowing water which were the distinguishing features of the products made by Bergenfeldts firm.
FRIEDRICH BERGENFELDT (1768-1822)
Bergenfeldt was born in 1768 in Westphalia, and like so many German craftsmen, came to Russia to seek his fortune in the 1790s. He worked first in the atelier of the bronzier Yan Aoustin and then with Charles Dreyer. He then seems to have left St. Petersburg, possibly for Paris. He returned to Russia after the death of Paul I in 1801 and established his workshop on the Fontanka Embankment. His advertisements in the local newspapers announce the sale of all manner of bronze ornaments such as - vases, candelabras, cassolettes, girandoles, chandeliers, veilleuses etc. in the antique taste and of a quality equal to that of French bronzes. He collaborated with Heinrich Gambs, supplying many of the gilt-bronzes for Gambs' furniture, but eventually disappeared from view. Towards the end of his life, he successfully petitioned the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna for a position restoring and cleaning her bronzes. He died in poverty on May 17, 1822, leaving behind a large and destitute family (Sytchev, op.cit.).