Exceptional Pair of Large 19th Century French Three Branch Ormolu Wall Lights or Appliqués

GBP 9,800.00

Contact Dealer To Purchase

Object Description

An exceptional pair of grand scale 19th century French gilt bronze wall lights after the Rococo Model by Jean-Claude Duplessis of c.1749.

French – Paris Circa 1880

These outstanding wall lights of wonderful scale and colour with asymmetric scrolling fruiting acanthus leaf arms and corresponding urns, nozzles and pierced collars, issuing from matching slender leafy backplates are made after a model which is datable to 1745-49.
The 18th century model is attributed by Ottomeyer and Pröschel in their landmark work Vergoldete Bronzen Vol. I p. 143 fig. 2.II.17 to the great designer Jean-Claude Duplessis, one of the masters of the French rococo. The pair of wall lights illustrated in the link below are a pair now in the Metropolitan Museum New York, having been donated in 1971 by Mrs Charles Wrightsman, one of the 20th century’s most important collectors.


Upon close examination of the images, it is evident that our pair of lights, which are similarly grand in scale, closely follow the Duplessis design. The gilding on our lights is excellent, but the chasing (engraving or embossing) is even better, with a superb crisp finishing throughout. The asymmetrical naturalism of the original design is preserved in these lights also, paying great homage to the work of earlier craftsmen, whilst being outstanding works of art in their own right. Being of such fine quality it is almost certain the wall appliqués were made in one of the leading Parisian workshops towards the end of the 19th century. Metalwork produced in Paris at that time was of the finest quality leading to it to be exported worldwide, making it highly probable that these lights were made for a wealthy client with America, France and England being the most likely destinations for the original order.

Jean-Claude Duplessis (1699-1774)

Born in Turin as Giovanni Claudio Ciambellano, Duplessis moved to France along with one of his best early clients in Italy the Prince de Carignan in 1718. When the Prince fled back to Turin, Duplessis was able to practice in the workshops of the galeries du Louvre outside of the requirements of the Parisian guilds which would not have allowed him to work in the city as he was not a French national.
Duplessis enjoyed a truly multi-faceted career, working as a model maker for the Vincennes and later Sèvres porcelain factories from 1748 onwards. In 1758 he was also appointed official goldsmith to the King and is known to have executed models in ormolu (or gilt bronze) as well. Many luxurious pieces of porcelain from the Sèvres factory were given ormolu mounts in the manufactory there and the factory books reveal that Duplessis was the man who designed many of these masterpieces.

These wall lights are of outstanding quality, extremely heavy bronze casting and wonderfully decorative measuring over 3 feet in height. A fascinating fusion of 18th century design and 19th century workmanship at it’s best. They have expertly cleaned and re-wired ready for use.

Width 23 inches – 58.5cm
Height 39 inches – 99cm
Depth 9inches – 23cm

Object Details

  • dimensions
    W:58.5 x H:99 x D:23 centimeters
  • period
  • country
  • year
    Circa 1880

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)1438 869 819

Dealer Location

Benington, Hertfordshire, UK

View Map