This extraordinary pair of antique French candleabras in bronze dore with pietra dura ornamentation were cast by Victor Paillard. His incised stamp, VP surmounted by a crown is on each circular base of the urn portion. The urns issue forth floral and foliate stems, five of which have open flowers as candle cups. The urns have incised decoration, gadrooned lobes, gadrooned scoop ornamentation, patinated bronze putti positioned in the stylized shape of handles and rams’ heads on the opposing side. Both urns rest atop a square base adorned on all sides with Pietre Dure ornamentation (we are not sure of the stones, but other examples of Paillard’s work had jade and carnelian on a square black marble sometimes onyx ground – Chateau Compiegne Console), reed and rope decoration, and four floral and foliate margent inset into the corners. Extremely fine incised chasing of a floral border bridges the base and the plinth which rests upon four scrolling acanthus leaf feet. The overall chasing on both urns is magnificent.
Victor Paillard (1805-1886) was one of the most distinguished bronze ciselers and fondeur (foundry owner) in Paris during the second half of the 19th century. He was taught chasing by Denière, then opened in the 1830’s his own workshop making “Art and Furnishing bronzes”, settled n°105, boulevard Beaumarchais in Paris. He executed first small objects, then cast statuettes, candelabra, clocks as well as impressive sized torcheres. He appeared to the public for the first time at the Industrial Products Exhibition of 1839 and worked for the greatest French sculptors, such as Pradier, Barye , Feuchere, Preault, Kraggman, and Carrier-Belleuse. He exhibited extensively with great success being mentioned for the quality of his work at the famous 1851 and 1862 London Universal Exhibitions, and the 1855, 1867 and 1878 Universal Exhibitions then held in Paris. Paillard was said to be a celebrity at these exhibitions. Appointed a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the French Government, Paillard employed since the 1850’s a hundred workers and proposed to his wealthy clients about four hundred models, cast in bronze not only after famous sculptors’ works, but also after his own creations. His cherub figures were particularly singled out for their charm and popularity by commentators at both the 1862 and 1867 Universal Exhibitions. It was noted that they portrayed the “happy and innocent moods of childhood.” Many of Paillard’s bronze pieces are now displayed in private collections as well as in renowned fine arts museums, such as the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York, in Paris at the Quai d’Orsay and in the Main Hall, the Congress Hall and the Salon of the Ambassadors. He died in 1886 at the age of 81.
CONDITION: Minor brownish black marks on both; minor rubbing to bronze dore in areas, central stem needs tightening on one urn; old surface grime on Pietra Dura black ornamentation consistent with age.