The taller Height 21 inches Width 9 inches
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A pair of Egyptian porphyry and bronze candelabra after Charles-Antoine Bridan, each comprising a bronze figure and two candle branches set on a cylindrical porphyry base with ormolu mounts, one showing the figure of a young girl crying over an empty bird’s nest and the other a boy holding a bird. French circa 1840.
Provenance: The Private Collection of Jean Louis Chameroy (1946-2020)
Footnote: these fine two-branch candelabra incorporate bronze reductions of a famous pair of sculptures created by the sculptor Charles-Antoine Bridan in 1759, consisting of a girl crying over her empty bird’s nest and a boy with bird – presumably stolen from her. The original sculptures were produced for the Cardinal de Luynes in marble and terracotta models of the same subjects from the artist’s studio are in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chartres. The subjects were very popular at the time that they were first created and, perhaps due to Bridan residing in Italy for several years whilst studying at the French Academy there, they became very sought-after by English grand tourists of the period. Marbles of both subjects were acquired on his grand tour by William Constable of Burton Constable Hall in Yorkshire and were shipped home to England in 1771.
Although sculptures after Bridan’s originals are encountered fairly frequently, pairs are rare and it is even more unusual to find the sculptures incorporated in to candelabra as with the present pieces. The ormolu candle arms and sconces are finely cast and chased, as are the mounts to the bases, and it is very telling that Egyptian porphyry has been used to create the cylindrical drum bases. This stone, reserved for the imperial families in Egypt and then in ancient Rome would have been very costly.
Charles-Antoine Bridan (1730-1805)
Born in Ravières, Bridan studied under the master sculptor Jean-Joseph Vinache before winning the Prix de Rome at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in 1754. The fame and prize money afforded to Bridan by this victory allowed him to move to Rome for several years to study at the French Academy there and he returned to Paris a more well-rounded sculptor in 1762. He was appointed professor of Sculpture in 1780 and trained his son Pierre-Charles to succeed him.
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A pair of Egyptian porphyry and bronze candelabra after Charles-Antoine Bridan