Spectacular pair of Empire candelabra with winged Victories
Pair of large Empire candelabra with winged Victories
A wonderful pair of five-light French Empire candelabra with winged Victories. The importance and beauty of these magnificent candelabra cannot be overemphasised. Given their superb quality and finesse as well as their large size, these candelabra would have been made for a large and important residence. They remind us of a number of very similar and closely related candelabra à la Victoire that have been made by one of the finest bronziers of the period such as Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843).
The beautiful winged figure of Victory wears a diaphanous robe with a rounded neck line which is gathered by a gilded sash with stars under her breasts. Under this robe she wears a long under skirt that splays out above her ankles. Her exquisite feathered wings flow behind her as she looks downward while holding aloft a candelabrum, formed as a vase crowned by an acanthus leaf top. From this candelabrum issues a central upright acanthus-wrapped candle branch mounted with fluted and anthemion bands surmounted by an acanthus leaf nozzle. Each figure of Victory stands on tip-toe with both feet on a plain sphere resting on a cylindrical shaft with intricate details, resting on a double square plinth.
The personification of Victory as a winged figure was well known in Antiquity. This is evidenced by a Roman model showing a very similar figure upon a sphere. This model is now in the National Art Collection, Kassel (illustrated in Ottomeyer and Pröschel, op. cit. p. 329, pl. 5.2.3). The figure became an integral element within Empire design through the intervention of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853), Napoleon’s most important architects and designers. The design for the present pair of candelabra is believed to have derived from a design by Charles Percier which was successfully exploited by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) as well as his contemporary Claude Galle (1759-1815).
This pair of Empire candelabra with winged Victories is in a perfect state of conservation with magnificent gilded and patinated bronze.
Dimensions of this pair of French Empire candelabra
Height: 77 cm.
Size of the base: 13 x 13 cm.
Weight: 11.4 kg (for the pair).
- H. Ottomeyer, P. Proschel et al., ” Vergoldete Bronzen – Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus“, Munich, 1986, Vol. I, p.392, pl. 5.17.9 illustrating similar candelabra with winged Victories by Pierre-Philippe Thomire
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