H: 53 cm W: 14 cm

Pair of candelabras in patinated and gilt bronze representing women draped in the antique style carrying on their head an oil lamp from which three wicks leave. The candelabras rest on an octagonal granite base decorated with a chased and gilded bronze rod.

The motif of the oil lamp appeared at the beginning of the 1780s, a motif that can be seen on a preparatory drawing attributed to P.P Thomire (collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs - Paris)

This motif will be used on torches present in the palace of Saint-Cloud in 1805 then in the inventory of 1807: two pairs of torches, triangular feet, decorated with sphinxes, carrying on their head a round sheath decorated with figures surmounted by an antique lamp, the whole gilded in matt gold . (1)

There were many bronzemakers during the Empire period: Thomire, Galle, Ravrio, Feuchère, Lefèvre, to name only the main ones. They manufactured for the French market, but since the end of the 18th century the demand in Russia was very important. The Russian nobility called on intermediaries such as the merchants Lesage and Ruspini to buy the bronzes they needed to furnish their palaces. But the prohibitive customs duties on imports led to the creation of bronze factories such as Bergenfeldt's, which competed with the best French bronze makers.

Claude Galle (1759-1815), one of Thomire's competitors under the Empire, was a source of inspiration for Russian bronze factories, as can be seen on a pair of candelabras in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

This oil lamp motif is present on some of Cl. Galle's work, as this description of objects he presented in 1819 attests:

Galle - manufacturer of bronzes and gilding, rue Colbert n°9 - objects presented at the 1819 exhibition:

A pair of candelabras with figures carrying on their heads an antique lamp with three spouts and horns with old men's heads in each hand. The bases decorated with mouldings and ornaments are in Italian cherry. Height 29 p° Price: 850 francs

This pair of candelabras can be attributed to the bronze maker Claude Galle and was made for the Russian market in the early 19th century.

1- Marie-France Dupuy-Baylet, l'heure, le feu, la lumière, les bronzes du mobilier national 1800-1870, éd. Faton, 2010, n° 117, p.212. These candelabras are given to the bronze maker Lefèvre