These striking candelabra, with striking oviform bodies of richly grained cippolino verde marble mounted with helmeted masks and issuing intricately entwined leaf-wrapped arms, are inspired by the work of the celebrated Turinese bronzier Francesco Ladatte (1706-1787).
Their distinctive interpretation of the naturalistic rococo idiom, especially in the treatment of the arms, relates in particular to a series of wall-lights with similarly twisted arms, attributed to Ladatte in the Palazzo Reale, Turin (illustrated in V. Viale et al ., Mostra del Barocco Piemontese, exh. cat., Turin, 1963, figs. 298-301). Another pair of Turinese wall-lights, combining naturalistic foliage with a female mask centring the back-plate is illustrated op. cit., fig. 302. The broad leafy drip-pans of these candelabra, down-turned at the edges, also closely relate to a pair of wall-lights attributed to Ladatte, sold Sotheby's London, 13 June 1997, lot 27 (£32,200).
Figural masks, which feature so prominently on these candelabra, are a recurring motif in Turinese furniture and bronzes. Gilt-bronze upturned female masks by Ladatte appear on a series of stools supplied by Pietro Piffetti to the Palazzo Reale, Turin (illustrated in G. Ferraris et al., Pietro Piffetti e Gli Ebanisti a Torino, 1992, pp. 22-3, figs. 2-3).
Born in Turin, Ladatte trained at an early age as a sculptor in Paris, where he won the first prize at the Academy in 1729. After a short stay in Rome he returned to Turin in 1732 where he worked almost exclusively for the royal court and was the main supplier of bronzes to Pietro Piffetti for the latter's extraordinary furniture produced during the 1730's. After another short stay in Paris, Ladatte returned to Turin in 1744 and was appointed sculptor in bronze to the King. he remained in Turin for the rest of his career, and continued to produce bronzes in a high rococo style even long after it had gone out of fashion.