Rare pair of early French Empire candlesticks “Retour d’Egypte”

Pair of early French Empire candlesticks “Retour d’Egypte”

Excellent pair of gilt and patinated bronze French Empire candlesticks “Retour d’Egypte”. These candlesticks are a rare and interesting testimony of the beginning of the 1st Empire, of what will be called the style “Retour d’Egypte”. We see Egyptian female figures who are presented in a strongly frontal manner. They wear a classical long skirt and the Nemes (the typical Egyptian headdress) and stand on a circular raised base. The base has several concentric rings with decorations of pearls and leafs. On top of the heads of the Egyptian women we see floral leaves from which sprout the richly decorated candle holders.

When general Bonaparte embarked on the military campaign of Egypt (1798-1801), he asked that a large number of scientists accompany the army. Based on their research in 1802 followed the publication of “La description de l’Egypte”.  The resulting fashion of the “Retour d’Egypt” style will extend over a fairly short period before being replaced by the formal style of the Empire. This short period is probably the reason why we rarely see these models in the market.

This pair of French Empire candlesticks in the “Retour d’Egypte” fashion has been executed in an excellent quality with mat and shiny gilding and nicely chiseled details. They are in an exceptional condition.

Details of this pair of French Empire candlesticks

France, Consulate or early Empire period ca. 1800-1805.

Dimensions: height 27.5 cm, diameter of the base: 10 cm.
Weight: 1.7 kg (for the pair).

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