Pair of candlestands

French, Paris

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 531

The inventory of the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV recorded over four hundred stands of the gueridon type. Depending on their height, they supported platters of foods and candle stands or, if more than five foot tall, decorative vases or candelabra.

The early forms of such stands were probably based on the human figure supporting a tray. By the late 17th century, the gueridon was primarily a candle stand. The stem occasionally included human figures but more commonly consisted of non-naturalistic elements with stylized ornamental carving. This kind of ornament is epitomized in the Museum’s pair of candle stands, dated to about 1710.

The upper stems are formed by three graceful freestanding scrolls carved with trailing flowers while grapevines bind three scrolls to the lower part of the stand. The bases were originally probably supported on short bun or paw-shaped feet.

Pair of candlestands, Carved and gilded walnut, French, Paris

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