Pair of Ormolu Wall Candelabra
This pair of candelabras are made of blackened iron, and feature ormolu, which refers to a bronze object that has been ‘gilt’ or covered in a fine layer of gold, something commonly found on European objects of the 18th and 19th centuries. This pairing of finishes was popular during Napoleon III’s (r. 1851–1870) time and creates a visually striking object. Undoubtedly, this item captures the opulence of Napoleon III’s interior design style. Large, relief acanthus leaves form the backplate of the candelabras, while an ormolu band with a relief pattern of roses, and what seem to be daisies and sunflowers, holds the three arms of each candelabra in place. Each arm bends to form a soft S curve and is accentuated with fluting, scrolls, and more acanthus leaves. At the top of each arm is a wide, vase-like, opening where a candle can be inserted. Here, a delicate pattern of flowers and sinuous, weaving lines can be seen, adding another layer of detail to these elegant candelabras. The vase is capped and supported by two ormolu collars, with the bottom collar sporting shapes reminiscent of flower petals. These lovely candelabras are sure to illuminate and add a sense of opulence to any space.
At this time in history Paris experienced pivotal changes both artistically and architecturally. In response to an increased desire for leisurely space in the city, and improvements of basic amenities, such as water supply and housing, Napoleon III brought in Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809–1891), to re-design the city. Among a plethora of changes, Haussmann designed and put in place the city’s iconic wide avenues and apartment buildings, which form the Paris we know today. Artistically, the 19th century also saw the development of Impressionism, a style of painting which focused primarily on capturing a fleeting moment of light – such as a sunset – and modernity, where subjects are often enjoying Haussmann’s new Paris.