Pair of candlesticks

French, Montpellier

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 522

The relatively small size of this pair of candlesticks may be an indication that they were part of a toilet set or would have been used in private domestic quarters. Supported on a round foot, the shaft and candle holder are decorated with incised lines. The simple clear design is typical of late 17th century French silver.

In the era before gas lighting and electricity, candles played a principal role in illuminating the domestic interior. Beeswax candles burned clean, had a pleasant smell, but were quite expensive compared to those made of tallow.

Daughter of one of the founders of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, Catherine D. Wentworth (1865–1948) was an art student and painter who lived in France for thirty years. She became one of the most important American collectors of eighteenth-century French silver and on her death in 1948 bequeathed part of her significant collection of silver, gold boxes, French furniture, and textiles to the Metropolitan Museum. The collection is particularly strong in domestic silver, much of it provincial such as these candlesticks made in Montpellier, and includes a number of rare early pieces.

Pair of candlesticks, Silver, French, Montpellier

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