Monthly Archives: June 2012

Item Of The Month, In Depth – Louis XVI Candlesticks By Etienne Martincourt c.1780


A pair of French Louis XVI gilt bronze candlesticks of exceptional quality. They have been verified as one of a handful in existence after the model by Etienne Martincourt. There are traces to the base of each of a wax seal, suggesting they were part of an important collection. . .

c.1780. . .

Provenance: Private Collection. . .

Literature: Wallace Collection, British Museum

Measure: 31cm tall. . .

 

These candlesticks are based on the celebrated model by the bronzier Etienne Martincourt and recorded related examples include a pair in the Wallace Collection, formerly in the collection of Léopold Double, a pair in the British Museum, two pairs in the Huntington Museum, California, and another pair formerly in the collection of Mrs. Meyer Sassoon, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. This model was much copied in the 19th century from the Restauration period onwards, and it is thought that the bronzier L-F Feuchère might have owned models of the candlestick, as his sale of stock in 1829 certainly included bas-reliefs by Martincourt. Among the 19th century versions are a pair supplied circa 1845 to the duc d’Aumale for the château de Chantilly

Etienne Martincourt (- 1791)

Scholars know little about the life of Étienne Martincourt. Like many other bronze casters, he worked on the Right Bank of Paris, north of the Louvre, in a quarter that had been home to many bronze workers since the Middle Ages. After becoming a master in 1762, he was admitted to the Académie de Saint-Luc, a guild of decorative painters and sculptors. Membership in the guild of bronze casters and the Académie allowed Martincourt to design as well as to produce objects in gilt bronze. To do so without this dual membership would have brought stiff penalties from the guilds. His work is to be found in museums and private collections throughout the world.