This model for a four-light candelabrum in the form of scrolling arms terminating in ram's heads and supported on a tripod sphinx base (girandoles à sphinx et têtes de beliers) is traditionally attributed to Louis XIV's court cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle, after a design by the architect and ornamental engraver Jean Bérain (see Jean Nérée Ronfort, 'André-Charles Boulle: die Bronzearbeiten und seine Werkstatt im Louvre', H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich 1986, Vol.II, p.459-520, and Vol.I, p.57 fig.1.7.3). The model proved extremely successful and is recorded in the inventories of several important 18th-century collectors, including the wife of the marchand-mercier Hebert, the Duc d'Antin, and Blondel de Gagny.
One pair is conserved at Warwick Castle, another is at Waddesdon Manor (ill. G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddeson Manor, Fribourg 1974, Vol.II, p.684-685), and a further pair is now at the Getty Museum. The model has also appeared regularly at auction, including the sale of the Baroness Cassel van Doorn, Paris, March 9, 1954, lot 58, and the Greenberg Collection, Sotheby's New York, May 21, 2004, lot 14. Like much of Boulle's best work, the model was also reproduced in the 19th century, often to extremely high quality, as in the case of the present pair.
This lot was formerly in the collection of Mr and Mrs Robert Tritton at Godmersham Park, Kent, near Canterbury [Fig.1]. Godmersham was built in 1732 for the politician Thomas May, and it was later inherited by his cousin Edward Austen, brother of the novelist Jane Austen, who was a regular visitor between 1798 and 1813 and based her novel Mansfield Park on the house. After passing through various owners it was eventually purchased by the Trittons in 1935, who extensively restored the house and gardens using 18th-century material recovered from historic properties across England and filled the property with an extensive collection of antiques. Following Mrs Tritton's death in early 1983 the collection was auctioned by Christie's at the house on June 6-8, 1983.