10292 A pair of Viennese Louis XVI gilt bronze candlesticks au carquois (‘quiver’) in the style of Etienne Martincourt, the fluted bodies supported by tripods on a circular base decorated with laurel leaves, the plinth with a milled edge and studded with marguerites, and on raised feet.
Height: 7.5 ins (19 cms) £7,500
A model for these candlesticks can be found in the extensive designs of Jean-Francois Forty, published in Paris, 1788. Variations of his designs for tripod candlesticks can be found in the Wallace Collection. One pair, part of a group with the makers stamp of Etienne Martincourt, have given this name to generic design of this tripod support. Models of these designs continued to be made throughout the Empire period, the Feuchere family of bronzeurs are known to have had models of Martincourt’s work and could have worked in his style from 1790-1825.
The fine quality and finish of this pair of candlesticks point to a Viennese maker influenced by the current Paris taste. The establishment of a School for Manufacturers in Vienna in 1758 initiated a project to found a cultural and economic centre which could counter the influence of Paris and London.
Strengthened by Empress Maria Theresa in 1768 with the creation of the Imperial and Royal United Academy of Fine Arts, an extensive library and collection of prints and plaster casts of sculpture inspired a new generation of student artists and designers. The notable goldsmith, Mathias Domanock established a school of extremely highly finished silver, gold and gilt bronze which became the standard of Viennese decorative arts. Unlike the restrictions of the French and German guild system, Viennese court craftsmen were allowed to work across all materials and disciplines, resulting in a unique transfer of design and quality to the manufacture of gilt bronzes. Perhaps the most well known example of his work is the exquisite gueridon of gilt bronze mounted petrified wood for Marie Antoinette in 1770 as well as a group of Royal vases in the same material by Joseph Wurth, a colleague of Domanock’s, who left the largest body of work in both silver and bronze.
Our model has the finely chased supports holding a fluted quiver or torch as the body of the candle holder, a reference to the attributes of Eros and the golden arrows of desire, a popular theme during the neoclassical period. The quality of chasing and gilding is extremely high, extending to the gilded underside of the base, a part not usually highly finished at this period. This level of finish encourages the impression that these candlesticks are not worked in bronze but in silver-gilt or gold.