Impressive large pair of Empire candelabra with Victories attributed to Rabiat

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Pair of Empire candelabra with Victories attributed to Claude François Rabiat

A fine pair of gilt and patinated bronze Empire candelabra modeled by Rabiat with winged female Victory figures holding aloft horn-shaped branches. This is a well known model by Claude François Rabiat (1756-1815) who often worked together with some of Paris’ leading bronziers such as Pierre-Philippe Thomire.

Our pair of candelabra is of important size, especially the sculpture is relatively large and impressive. Further, the exquisite chiseling is befitting for this pair which is in excellent original condition with its beautiful mercury gilding. The Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris keeps a version of this pair in their collection. Also an identical pair to ours is in the Château de Valençay. Once famously praised by George Sand as “one of the most beautiful on earth”, Valençay was the residence of the d’Estampes and Talleyrand-Périgord families. Napoleon’s foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand acquired the manor at the Emperor’s behest in 1803 as a place to receive foreign dignitaries.

These French Empire candelabra portray winged Victory figures wearing classical robes holding the branches with candle holders. They balance with one foot upon a sphere supported by columns decorated with finely chiseled stylized flowers. Finally, the whole rests on a stepped quadrangular base. The personification of Victory as a winged figure was well known in Antiquity as evidenced by a Roman model showing a very similar figure upon a sphere. This figure is now in the National Art Collection, Kassel. The figure became an integral element within Empire design through the intervention of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853). Percier and Fontaine were Napoleon’s most important architects and designers.

This pair of French Empire candelabra is in an excellent state of preservation with beautiful mercury gilding.

Details of this pair of Empire candelabra attributed to Rabiat

Origin: Paris circa 1810.
Dimensions: 68 cm high, 32.5 cm wide and 17.5 cm deep. Size of the square base: 13 x 13 cm.
Weight: 10.8 kg (for the pair).

Claude François Rabiat (1756-1815)

The bronzier Claude François Rabiat began his studies under Etienne Vignerelle in 1769. Rabiat acquired his master’s title as “gilder of metals” in March 1778. He was running a large workshop on rue Beaubourg, catering exclusively to merchants such as André Coquille and Thémet, clock makers such as Bailly, Mallet, Lépine and Lesieur, and some of Paris’ leading bronze makers such as Pierre-Philippe Thomire, Pierre-François Feuchère and Claude Galle. Rabiat also worked for the imperial furniture depot. After his death, his three sons continued the running of the family workshop under the company name “Rabiat frères” until they each decided to pursue their activity independently as of 1819.

Literature

  • Colllection of Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, France.
  • Collection of Château de Valençay, France.

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