Exceptional pair of Louis XVI period candlesticks / cassolettes with rams

Rare pair of Louis XVI period candlesticks / cassolettes with rams

Superior pair of 18th century Louis XVI period chiseled and gilt bronze French candlesticks / cassolettes, in the shape of a tripod with ram’s heads. These candlesticks are covered by a flame topped dome, allowing the candlesticks to also be used as cassolettes or incense burners. The design of this magnificent pair of candlesticks shows many similarities with the work of Étienne Martincourt, master bronzier in Paris from 1762.

The tripod in Athenian style has flared relief pilasters standing on rams’ feet and ending in rams’ heads. Further, in the centre we see a spiraled column which supports the candle holder. Also, interconnecting the heads of the rams there is a rich ornamentation of oak leaf festoons. The covering dome with openwork openings is crowned with a flame. This pair of  candlesticks / cassolettes rests on an ornate base with a running circular decor of interlacing patterns. They are in an excellent state of preservation with their original mercury gilding.

Etienne Martincourt (1735-1791)

Etienne Martincourt worked on the Right Bank of Paris, north of the Louvre, in a quarter that had been home to many bronze workers since the Middle Ages. After becoming a master in 1762, he was admitted to the Académie de Saint-Luc, a guild of decorative painters and sculptors. Membership in the guild of bronze casters and the Académie allowed Martincourt to design as well as to produce objects in gilt bronze. Examples by Etienne Martincourt (active 1763-1791) can be seen in the Wallace Collection, the Huntington Collection, the British Museum and the Getty Museum. The “athénienne” shape of this model is really connected with the production of Etienne Martincourt. His most famous model shares this shape and is kept at the Wallace Collection in London.

Details of this pair of French Louis XVI period candlesticks / cassolettes

Paris, Louis XVI period circa 1775-1780.

Height 28 cm, diameter of the base: 11 cm.
Weight: 2.1 kg (for the pair).


  • Artcurial, Paris December 2017, where an identical pair appeared in auction.

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