Rare Louis XVI Carved and Turned Ivory Candlestick


the leaf-carved nozzle raised on a pierced, husk-filled fluted column draped with chains of beads, the rectangular base pierced as fluting and centred on each side by a stylised flowerhead; elements lacking

Height 31 cm (12 1/4 inches)
France or Russia, circa 1785

All the young princes and princesses of the royal court of France were taught ivory-turning and carving. Louis XV and his daughters were taught by the tourneuse du Roi, Jeanne-Madeleine Maubois, and at least three of the princesses continued with the hobby all their lives, Mme. Adélaïde, Mme. Victoire and Mme. Sophie. Louis’ grandsons, the future Louis XVI and the Comtes de Provence and d’Artois, were taught by Michel Voisin (1729-86) and after by his son, François Voisin. There were several ivory vases and other objects, some with elaborate gilt-bronze mounts, in the revolutionary inventories of Royal Palaces, and there was a particularly rich haul at the Château de Bellevue, home to the Princesses Adélaïde and Victoire. It’s tempting to imagine that the present candlestick was made by one of these talented royal turners.

The present candlestick’s similarity in design to items made in steel at the Tula factory in Russia also lays open the intriguing possibility that it is of Russian origin and was made at the Archangelskoye workshops, especially with its unusual steel armature