These candelabra are almost identical to a pair made by the important Parisian goldsmith Claude Ballin II, made in 1739/40 (fig. I). The only apparent difference is that the knops of the French pair are decorated with foliage, rather than tied ribbons. The Ballin pair is now in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York (acc. nos. 1949-131, A, B) and illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Silver in the Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1980, pl. 12. In an obituary published in 1754, Ballin is noted as supplying silver to Louis XV, the courtiers of Spain and Portugal, the Electors of Bavaria and Saxony, German and Italian Princes and the Czar of Russia. It seems highly probable that the pair by Ballin was made for an important Spanish courtier, or possiby the Spanish Royal family, and the present pair was made to match them shortly afterwards. This supposition is supported by the appearance of zig-zag assay gauges on the Ballin pair which are not a feature usually found on French silver but could be the result of testing in Spain.
It is also interesting to note that the Madrid maker Juan de San Fauri was the Spanish Royal Assaymaster (Ensaydor de la Real Casa); see Fernandez et al., Encyclopedia de la Plata Espanola, 1984, p. 157.