Important French Empire ormolu and patinated bronze palace sized candelabra from the early 19th century, one of a few known to exist.
The plinth is solid Rouge Royal Marble on a gilt bronze base. Mounted on all sides are detailed ormolu reliefs, one cherub each on front and back, and a single lyre on both left and right sides. The marble is topped with a gilt bronze pedestal featuring beautiful leaf detail. Perched on the pedestal is a serene neo-classical maiden in rich patinated bronze. She has fine features and billowy draping fit for a goddess. She stands proudly, holding aloft exquisite ormolu candelabra with eight lights. Each light stem curves out gracefully from the center and culminates in a stylized floral motif. At the pinnacle is the original and removable flame shaped candle snuffer.
The ormolu work on this rare piece is outstanding and brilliant. Candelabra is signed by famous Napoleon's bronzier Rabiat, please see the last picture.
This candelabra is based on the original drawings of Charles Percier (1764-1838). The underside of its base is signed "RABIAT", whose name is included in an inventory of the business of M. Disenmartin, taken on 24 December 1790 under the heading of 'Flambeaux argentes de diff modeles were'Quatre paires de grand uni Rabiat...a 16 64' (H. Ottomeyer, P. Proschel et al, Vergoldete Bronzen, 1986, vol. II, p. 700).
A pair of wall-lights signed Rabiat is at Fontainebleau (see Musee National du Chateau de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des Collections de Mobilier, vol.1, Pendules et bronzes d'Ameublement entres sous le Premier Empire, p. 149, cat. 127). A pair of very similar candelabra with the same figures, bases, and branches but only in one tier, on differing plinths is the Residenz, Munich in the Salon of Queen Caroline of Bavaria (op. cit., vol.1, p. 332, fig 5.2.11). There is another pair of the same model in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England (North Drawing room).
Condition is great, a few small chips to marble corners- commensurate with age, nine holes drilled into gilt base for electrification- all but one filled, and some light marble cracking on the back of the pedestal.
France, ca 1805
Size: h. 52", w. 17", base is 8.75" square, weighs 100 pounds.