Exceptionally large pair of Empire candlesticks attributed to Claude Galle

Rare large pair of Empire candlesticks attributed to Claude Galle

Truly magnificent pair of gilt bronze Empire candlesticks of a royal and imposing size, attributed to Claude Galle (1759-1815). The vase shaped candle holder rests on three classical female caryatid heads, each wearing a classical headdress with a floral band and a string of beads around their neck . Further, the tapering stem, with a sumptuous decoration of quilloche patterns separated by annular bands, rests on three pairs of human feet upon a circular base. This base has a refined guilloche pattern and contrasting mat and shiny gilding.

This sumptuous pair of French Empire candlesticks with female busts is attributed to Claude Galle, who supplied variants of this model to Château de Fontainebleau in 1804. Probably this wonderful pair was made after a design by the leading Empire designer Charles Percier (1764-1838) as we can see in a drawing which is preserved in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. This drawing appears in a small album that served as a catalog for a Paris bronzier.

Several similar candlesticks, featuring female busts, were made during the Empire period. In that time candlesticks of this style were truly fashionable among Parisian society, when similar designs appeared in catalogs of Parisian bronziers like Claude Galle.

This large pair of French Empire candlesticks has original mat and shiny mercury gilding. They are in an excellent state of preservation.

Details of this pair of Empire candlesticks

France, Empire period circa 1805-1810.

Dimensions: 35 cm high, diameter of the circular base: 14,5 cm.
Weight: 3,0 kg (for the pair).


  • Hans Ottomeyer & Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus”, München 1986, p. 326.
  • Jean-Pierre Samoyault, “Pendules et bronzes d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire”, 1989, p. 175.

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