A pair of finely chased ormolu candlesticks with twisted stems of swirling, asymmetrical Rococo form, the three-sided stems with three figures of children each of elongated, graceful and refined posture, sitting on large cartouches representing the coats of arms, the arts and architecture; flanked by scrolls, above eared circular bases finely chased with intricate shellwork. Sockets with straight sections and the detachable nozzles conforming with the eared circular base.
The original pair of candlesticks was designed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695-1750) on the occasion of the birth of the Dauphin in 1729: therefore it is assumed that the figures of the children should represent the three daughters of Louis XV and hence sisters of the Dauphin.
In the mid-18th century, a playful taste prevailed in France: the ‘Gout Nouveau’, a style that sought to distinguish itself from the previous strictly symmetrical shapes of the Regency period. ‘Goût Pittoresque’ might even be a better descriptive caption of this very picturesque style. The innovative shift of this period was based on the very fact that the artists and designers were seeking to completely dispense with symmetry and straight lines. The 19th century reveled again in this fashion, felt inspired by its past and produced high quality items in the same style.
An important pioneering role in the 18th century development can be credited to the silversmith and ornamentist Juste Aurèle Meissonnier (1695-1750), who dared to break with all previously known forms and to enter a new, abstract world. It was said about him in 1755: ‘Meissonnier began to destroy all the straight lines, which until then were common in the traditional way; He turned and blew the friezes by all kinds; […] It was he who put lovely contours in S-shape into this world.’
Collection catalogue Museum Calouste Gulbenkian, Lissabon, cat.-no. 103/Inv.Nr. 332 A/B
Ottomeyer, H., Pröschel, P., Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Vol. I, München 1986, ill. 2.1.5, S.104.
Condition: excellent, min. wear consistent with age and use, min. fading – detailed condition report on request