FRANCE, ÉPOQUE EMPIRE
PAIR OF FOUR LIGHT SCONCELS Paris, circa 1809
Gilt bronze and enamel
H. 50 cm, W. 32.5 cm, D. 25.5 cm
Each light is composed of a winged female allegory, arranged in terms of a term, in patinated bronze, draped with the chiton, a linen tunic from Ancient Greece, with a fine pleat, sewn on the sides, belted at the waist, short and sleeveless, and worn directly on the body. This bust emerges from a gilt bronze console with acanthus leaves and finished with a scalloped scroll with rosette, attached to a diamond-shaped plate with a moulded border from which falls a fl euron fl anked with acanthus leaves. The allegory, whose arms are raised, holds in each hand a pair of intersecting gilt bronze cones decorated with lanceolate water leaves arranged in scales, each supporting a flared bobbin and a circular tap decorated with a band with a latticework motif.
This sconce model was created around 1809 by Claude Galle, one of the greatest bronze manufacturers of the Empire period. On December 23, 1809, Galle delivered a pair of sconces similar to ours for use in the Emperor's private study at the Grand Trianon in Versailles (fi g. 1). These sconces with some variations were ordered with another pair of three lights of a very similar model. They are still preserved today in their original location. A second pair of these light arms by Galle, corresponding in every respect to our lights but entirely gilded, adorns the Charlottenzimmer of the Residenz in Munich (fi g. 2).
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