The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wall light
  • Wall light
  • Attributed to Louis-Gabriel Feloix (1729 - 1812)
  • France
  • c. 1788
  • Gilt-bronze and brass bolts
  • Object size: 93.5 x 39 x 28.7 cm
  • F376
  • Study
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Two of a set of four gilt-bronze wall-lights (the other two are in the Study) of sophisticated neo-classical design in the arabesque style that was fashionable in Paris in the 1780s. Each has three branches radiating out from above a central satyr’s mask. Above is a vase, mounted with two lions’ heads and filled with flowers and fruit, and a thyrsus (the staff of Bacchus, the god of wine), entwined with olive foliage, while below the mask is a trophy of musical instruments and ivy. The candle branches end in eagles’ heads.

    The wall-lights may part of a set provided for the bedroom at Versailles of one of Louis XVI’s aunts, Madame Adélaïde, in 1787. Alternatively, they may be the four wall-lights supplied for Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom at the palace of Saint-Cloud in the same year; the similarity of the descriptions in the relevant bills makes it difficult to tell. The quality of the casting and chasing is certainly worthy of such a royal provenance. Feloix’s workshop was responsible for the casting of both sets, but the gilding was carried out by different contractors. The inventory of Saint-Cloud taken in 1788 shows that the wall-lights there were originally even more richly mounted, with chains linking the lions’ heads to the eagles’ heads and beaks. These wall-lights show signs that they too may have had this extra decoration, suggesting that they are the set delivered for Marie-Antoinette’s use the year before.