The design for these figural candelabra is based on drawings for a pair of candlesticks attributed to Corneille van Clve (1646-1732), now in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek, and executed by himself or his brother-in-law, the goldsmith Nicolas de Launay. In 1702, de Launay is, indeed, recorded as having supplied six silver-gilt candlesticks, incorporating the design of the male figure, for Louis XIV's bedroom at Versailles ("six grands flambeaux d'argent vermeil dor reprsentans par le corps un homme nud assis sur un balustre...et portant sur son paule un Enfant tenant sur sa teste la bobche, le tout poz sur un pied rond...").
A pair of candlesticks after Clve's design and executed in gilt-bronze by the royal silversmith Claude Ballin II, now in the Wallace collection, London, was recorded at Hertford House at the end of the nineteenth century (Peter Hughes, The Wallace Collection, London, 1996, vol. III, p. 1195-1202).
Related designs for figural candlesticks proved to be a popular source of inspiration for several prominent English silversmiths, such as John Hugh Le Sage, Parker and Wakelin, George Wickes, and Paul Storr, who either directly copied or adapted models executed by French goldsmiths. Thomas Germain's figural candelabra, for instance, depicted in the portrait of the royal goldsmith and his wife painted by Nicolas de Larguillire in 1736 (now in the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon), was one of the most popular designs. A pair of candelabra by Germain recorded at Ham House, Richmond, in the eighteenth century (now in the Detroit Institute of Arts) may have served as the original source for the design utilized in England.
Robert Garrard's firm produced several figural candelabra throughout the 1820s. A pair dated 1819 and 1826 sold in these Rooms, April 18, 1991, lot 365. A similar pair of 1826-7 is in the Jerome and Rita Gans collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (Joseph R. Bliss, The Jerome and Rita Gans Collection of English Silver, New York, n.d., no. 69, p. 200-203).