This large pair of wall sconces is made of gilt bronze and dates to the late 19th century. The design of the sconces is in the Louis XVI taste, as evidenced by the lyre-form body, tied bows, and elegant proportions. In France, during the reign of Louis XVI, there was a shift away from the extravagant decor of the previous styles of Louis XV and XIV. Artists and designers gravitated toward straighter lines and Classical design elements inspired by the recently discovered cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Several motifs of what is now known as neoclassical, can be seen on our pair of tall French gilt bronze sconces.
Each sconce has a main body composed of a five-string lyre, a symbol of the Greek and Roman god, Apollo. The lyres are adorned with additional classical fruit and foliate motifs such as lotus leaves, anthemion, and grape clusters, as well as an entablature chased with fluting. A long neck, reminiscent of hanging drapery (another neoclassical element), cascades down from a tied bow with an acanthus noix, connecting to the lyre via an open circlet.
The base of each sconce is adorned with large, curled leaves above a pair of classic motifs: Vitruvian waves on a concave protuberance and a pinecone terminal. Above the top of the leaf tips is a sprawling display of five arcing candelabra arms, each adorned with fluting, curled leaves, and grapes. The second and fourth arms have the additional embellishment of a floral rinceau on the underside of the labra. All five arms terminate in a bobeche with a molded rim beneath cylindrical capitals and cream faux candle sleeves. Our graceful pair of Louis XVI style gilt bronze sconces would make beautiful additions to the wall of any room in the house.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor rubs and surface buildup. Light damage to candle sleeves including losses, nicks, and buildup. Electrical wiring should be assessed prior to installation. Slight bend to the necks of the sconces, commensurate with years of installation.