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Candelabra (one of a pair)

A work made of gilt silver and gilt bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gilt silver and gilt bronze.


c. 1795-1819


Martin-Guillaume Biennais (French, 1764-1843)
Probably designed after Charles Percier (French, 1764-1838) and
Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (French, 1762-1853)
Paris, France

About this artwork

This object for the dining table is part of a vast service made for Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Pauline on the occasion of her marriage to the Roman nobleman Camillo Borghese, Sixth Prince of Sulmona.

In the years after the French Revolution, architects and designers adopted the visual language of ancient Greece and Rome to express the new imperial order. Napoleon, hoping to promote Paris’s luxury trades, commissioned several silver dinner services as gifts to be sent abroad. The slender outlines and smooth surfaces of the objects in the Borghese service contrast with the rich decoration.


Currently Off View


Applied Arts of Europe


Martin-Guillaume Biennais (Silversmith)


Candelabra (one of a pair)


Paris (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Gilt silver and gilt bronze


MARKS: “[lozenge with seated monkey and two pellets above B, maker’s mark],” below candlesocket on right branch (mark partially defaced) and on left side of rear branch; “[head of Apollo in oval shield with P, unofficial Paris assay mark 1794-97],” on shaft (mark partially defaced), below candlesocket on right branch (mark partially defaced), on left side of rear branch, and on left side of left branch; “[cock with 1 in right corner in horizontal octagonal shield, Paris assay mark 1809-19] / [helmeted dexter head of Minerva in round punch, Paris excise mark 1809-19],” below bobeches on outer surface of right candlesocket (both marks partially defaced), rear candlesocket, and left candlesocket INSCRIPTIONS: “Biennais, Orfre de S. M. l’Empereur et Roi, à Paris,” engraved on underside of foot; “[Borghese armorials surmounted with Napoleonic Crown],” embossed on shaft


H.: 54.6 cm (21 1/2 in.); 52.8 × 24.8 cm (20 3/4 × 9 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Charles V. Hickox

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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