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Candelabra were usually placed in pairs on the mantelpiece and on the console table against the opposite wall. This three-branch candelabrum’s ornate gilt bronze decoration is characteristic of both the Louis XVI style and the new interest in Antiquity that emerged in the 1790s and triumphed under the Empire.
The firedogs were an integral part of the fireplace’s decoration, with the mantel mirror, the lamps on either side and, as here, the pair of candelabra on the mantelpiece. The ornamental gilt bronze fronts of the firedogs support the bars maintaining the logs in the hearth. The lionesses resting on their draped bases are guarding the fire. The work of their unknown creator is an example of the mastery of the founders, gilders and chasers active in the last third of the 18th century, who, like Pierre Gouthière, Pierre-Philippe Thomire and Pierre-Auguste Forestier, elevated the art of gilt bronze to its greatest heights.
These decorative vases matched the decorative fittings on the mantelpiece and furniture. Here they complement the other chased and gilt bronze pieces. Often the work of several artisans, they were produced from drawings by an ornamental sculptor or architect. The bronze founder commissioned a sculptor to execute a wooden model, which he then reproduced in wax to cast the bronze. When the piece had been cast, the chaser accentuated the detail of the decoration and the piece was gilded.