French Iron Candlesticks
8" x 3" x 3"
Humans have always needed fire for safety, food, and light. Due to this, candles have played an important role in our history, with artifacts made from animal fat, olive oil, and beeswax in antiquity appearing throughout the Middle East and Asia. The invention of a vessel to make candles more mobile was only logical, with candlesticks becoming a commonly produced item by the Middle Ages. Until the mid-18th century candlesticks typically had large drip pans attached to them. These vertical planes would be fixed to the middle of the candlestick to ensure hot wax did not drip onto the user. Once it became common for candles to be made from tallow – a rendered beef fat that is structurally sound – the necessity of this protrusion lessened. This pair of adjustable French candlesticks was produced in the mid-19th century. The adjustable French candlesticks feature a classic spiral design, and both have small, sliding tabs located on their bodies. This allows users to adjust the candle’s height as it burns, which also acts as a time keeping measure. The candlesticks are made from hammered iron and have chestnut bases. This mixing of materials is unique, and offers additional visual interest to a classic design.
At this time in France, the Barbizon School of Painters was active from roughly 1830–1870. Taking influence from 17th-century Dutch masters, the Barbizon painters favored working en plein air, sketching out-of-doors in front of their subjects, and foregoing the idealized landscapes of the classical period. Important artists of this school include Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867), Jules Dupré (1811–1889), and Charles-François Daubigny (1817–1878).