These spectacular candelabra are rich interpretations of the 'Egyptian' style of the early 19th century. A renewed fashion for ancient Egyptian motifs was inspired throughout Europe by the archaeological discoveries made during Napoleon's military campaigns of 1798, recorded by Baron Vivant Denon in his hugely influential Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte of 1802. The Egyptian style played an important role in all aspects of art, architecture and the decorative arts, and was disseminated through design books published by such influential figures as Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine in France, and Thomas Hope and George Smith in England.
In Italy, the celebrated architect-designer Giovanni Battista Piranesi played a seminal role in propagating the Egyptian taste. He created a famous series of Egyptian interiors for the Caffe degli Inglesi in Rome, while his Diversi maniere d'Adornare I Cammini of 1769 featured a number of fire surrounds of extravagant Egyptian style.
The distinctively layered architectural style of these candelabra probably point to an Italian origin. The more 'antique' style of their bases, with the densely packed winged griffins and palmettes in a tripod format, feature various elements that appear on Piranesi's designs for candelabrum bases in his Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi of 1778. Their monumental scale and distinctive combination of ornamental elements relates to the work of bronziers active in Milan in the early 19th century such as Manfredini and Pier Luigi Thomas, who both created large-scale gilt-bronze candelabra of similar inspiration (see E. Colle et al., Bronzi Decorativi in Italia, Milan, 2001, pp. 356-366). One should also note a pair of candelabra after a design of the Torinese architect-designer Pelagio Pelagi, probably executed by a Milanese bronzier and featuring Egyptian motifs, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (illustrated Colle op. cit., p. 360).