The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Candelabrum
  • Candelabrum
  • Attributed to François Rémond (1747 - 1812)
  • After Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791), Bronze figure
  • France
  • c. 1785
  • Gilt bronze and bleu turquin marble
  • Height: 97 cm
    Width: 41.5 cm
  • Inscription: '46'
  • F140
  • Boudoir
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Frequently referred to as Cupid and Psyche, the patinated-bronze figures on the candelabra (F140 and F141) are both after sculptures by Etienne- Maurice Falconet. He exhibited a large-scale plaster version of the winged boy, ‘L’Amour menaçant’ (‘Menacing Cupid’) at the Salon of 1755 and a marble version made for Madame de Pompadour’s Parisian town house, the Hôtel d’Evreux, in 1757. The following year he was appointed director of sculpture at the Sèvres manufactory and put a reduced model in soft-paste porcelain into production. Over the next thirty years the model was produced in a variety of materials, and featured in paintings by several artists, including its mischievous depiction in Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s ‘The Swing’ in the Wallace Collection (P430).
    Building on the success of the porcelain model, Falconet designed a pendant for Cupid which he exhibited at the 1761 Salon, described as ‘A little girl who hides Cupid’s bow’. It went into immediate production at Sèvres and the pair maintained their popularity well into the 1780s. The introduction of candelabra incorporating Falconet’s models dates from the 1780s, when a less austere neoclassicism reigned in the decorative art of Parisian interiors. The patinated rather than gilded finish of the figures is a further allusion to the classical past and references Ancient and Renaissance sculpture, while their juxtaposition with the gilded candle branches and flaming torches serves to underscore the fiery passions evoked by Cupid.
    The model for these candelabra was most probably supplied by the luxury goods dealer Dominique Daguerre, but it is not known who made them for him. The candle branches appear to be after a model by François Rémond, on which pairs of three- and two-light wall-lights at Fontainebleau also seem to be based.It is possible that the gilded parts and the patinated figures were handled in two different workshops. The model was evidently quite popular and several eighteenth-century versions are known; one pair was included in a sale held by Daguerre in London in March 1791.
    The candelabra were in the collection of the 4th Marquess by 1865, when they were lent to the Musée Rétrospectif. They are recorded at his house at 2 rue Laffitte in 1871, were exhibited by Sir Richard Wallace at Bethnal Green between 1872-5, and were located in the Reynolds Drawing Room – now the Small Drawing Room - at Hertford House in 1890 and 1898.