Pair of Appliques Paris, c. 1780


Pair of two-light wall sconces made of chased and gilded bronze. Two arms with leaf volutes take their shape from a central shaft, composed of a tapered semi-column, on which geometric elements alternate with phytomorphic motifs; the pilaster is embellished in the centre with a blowing cupid, Zephyrus, and is surmounted by a flaming bi-anchored vase; on the two arms rest the bobeches, decorated at the base with a tuft of acanthus leaves and culminating in fluted candleholders. The effect of depth is accentuated by the typical alternation of shiny and matt gilding. In the course of time, some screws have been replaced and the candle holders have been drilled for electrification.

Dimensions: cm. 37 x 31 x 13


Historical stylistic analysis:

Our pair of wall sconces belongs to the new Louis XVI taste whose creative paternity is commonly attributed to the aesthetic sense and stylistic theories of Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1791), a distinguished French architect, painter and decorator who contributed to the formation of the ‘Louis XVI’ style and the so-called ‘Greek taste’, publishing collections of engravings such as his ‘Nouvelle Iconologie historique’ (1768) and who was particularly renowned for his originality in ornamentation.

Delafosse provided a repertoire for decorative elements that was made available to the best French craftsmen and decorators of the time, including bronze craftsmen, who in many cases took full advantage of Delafosse’s proposals by declining them in their own artefacts. This is therefore not a literal transposition from a drawing.

Jean Charles Delafosse, Nouvelle Iconologie Historiques

In comparison with the drawings, a common stylistic language is also recurrent and recognisable in these wall lamps, especially in that ornamental alternation that contrasts the arms in the form of somewhat ‘old-fashioned’ leaf volutes with the classical vases and ‘Greek-style’ architectural elements on the shafts.

Finally, the figure of the blowing cupid in the centre of the shaft is unusual, coming from the Greek and Roman mythological tradition, a favourite theme in the decorative arts of the 18th century. A similar model can be found at the Château de Fontaineblueau.

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