Stunning large pair of Empire period candlesticks with griffins
Large pair of Empire period candlesticks with griffins
This rare pair of gilt bronze Empire candlesticks has tapering stems, chiseled with spiraling bands of scrollwork depicting griffins and lyre motives. The unusually large circular bases show putti riding in carriages drawn by griffins and winged horses.
These French Empire period candlesticks have been executed in an excellent quality with remarkable detailed carving and mat and shiny gilding. They are in an perfect state of conservation.
France, Empire period circa 1805.
Height 30 cm, diameter of the base: 14 cm.
Weight: 1.8 kg (for the pair).
Mythology of griffins
The griffin is a beast with an eagle’s head and lion’s body. It is an imaginary mythical creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion. Further it had the head and wings of an eagle, and sometimes an eagle’s talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts, and the eagle the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Since classical antiquity, griffins were known for guarding treasures and priceless possessions such as gold. In ancient art, the griffin symbol is often shown as the guardian of the gold. Griffins were believed to be sacred to the sun and also they were sacred to Apollo.
- Sotheby’s Amsterdam, 30 September 2008