Pair of candlesticks

Charles Petit

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 522

In the era before gas lighting and electricity, candles played a principal role in illuminating the interior of a house. The number of candles lit was an indication of the wealth and status of the owner: beeswax candles burned clean, had a pleasant smell, but were quite expensive compared to those made of tallow.

Stamped by the Parisian silversmith Charles Petit, the tapered stem and sockets of these candlesticks are decorated with strapwork and reeding while their round foot has a gadrooned border.

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 as illustrated by this pair of candlesticks.

Pair of candlesticks, Charles Petit (master 1659, registered new mark 1680, recorded 1695), Silver, French, Paris

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