Painted Limoges enamel candlestick; copper; holder, large pan and base decorated with twelve oval bosses; the pan painted with triumphal procession ?, two horsemen linked by the group of four figures and another of three figures, including a woman with a triangle. On the bosses a standing figure, possibly Hercules, Jupiter with his thunder-bolt and eagle, Hercules with the Nemean Lion, Venus and Cupid, Hercules and Hydra, Juno and the peacock, Hercules with Antaeus, Minerva, Hercules with the pillars, Mars with his dog, Hercules and Cacus, Diana with crescent moon and dog. Painted in semi-opaque enamels over a white preparation, translucent enamels over coloured foils and grisaille of grey-white with pink flesh tones; details in enlevage and gilding; all on black ground, powdered minutely with gilding.
- 1560 (circa)
- Made in: Limoges
- Diameter: 20.9 centimetres (of base)
- Diameter: 4.3 centimetres (of top)
- Diameter: 15.3 centimetres (pan)
- Height: 18.2 centimetres
- Weight: 0.5 kilograms
Provenance: Probably from Soltykoff Collection sold in Paris, 8th April 1861 lot 514 for 29,900 francs, and by 1862 owned by Samuel Addington who exhibited them that year at the South Kensington Museum. Subsequently acquired by Baron Anselm von Rothschild, Vienna, between 1866 and 1872 (cat no. 479), by inheritance to his son Baron Ferdinand Rothschild (d. 1898).
Commentary: The form of the candlesticks is unusual and the closest comparison is a pair of candlesticks also attributed to Jean de Court, formerly in the collection of Mr and Mrs Germain Seligman, now in the National Gallery of Canada (inv. no. 23409-1-2). These have a similar bulbous base and also the same shaped top as the British Museum examples, but with an urn-shaped element forming the bottom part of the stem. Other partial comparisons are a pair of candlesticks depicting the Labours of Hercules in the Louvre (MR 2504 & 2505, unattributed), a similar pair to these in the Metropolitan Museum (inv. no. 39.66.1, unattributed), and a pair in the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. BK-17219-B, circle of Jean de Court). Two examples exist in the Walters Art Gallery with a similar top to the British Museum pair, but on a much longer and straighter stem, and without the bulbous base (inv. nos. 44.51 & 44.52 attributed to Jacques Laudin I, and 44.354 & 44.355 attributed to Joseph Limosin).
Bibliography: 'Catalogue des Objets d'Art et de Haute Curoisite...du Prince Soltykoff', Paris, 1861, lot no. 514; J. C Robinson (ed.), 'Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods, on loan at the South Kensington Museum', London, June 1862, nos. 1846 & 1847; Charles Hercules Read, 'The Waddesdon Bequest: Catalogue of the Works of Art bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild, M.P., 1898', London, 1902, no. 32; O.M. Dalton, 'The Waddesdon Bequest', 2nd edn (rev), British Museum, London, 1927, no.32; Sophie Baratte, 'Les émaux peints de Limoges', Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 2000, p.358.
On display: G2a/dc2
- Representation of: Antaeus
- Representation of: Nessos
- Representation of: Ares/Mars (?)
- Representation of: Hydra
- Representation of: Hippolyta (?)
- Representation of: Hermes/Mercury
- Representation of: Herakles/Hercules
- Representation of: Hera/Juno (?)
- Representation of: Dionysos/Bacchus
- Representation of: Demeter/Ceres (?)
- Representation of: Deianeira
- Representation of: Artemis/Diana (?)
- Representation of: Apollo
- Associated Event: Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra
- Associated Event: Labours of Hercules
This collection is known as the Waddesdon Bequest under the terms of Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s will.
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Group of Objects
Painted Limoges enamel candlestick; copper; holder, large pan and base decorated with twelve oval bosses; stem decorated with bearded man in armour and woman dressed like Diana in a chariot; two horses ahead led by a woman; behind chariot a train of musicians and dancers; foot: bosses show: Mars; Hercules and Antaeus; Mercury; Hercules and the Lernean Hydra; Apollo; Hercules rescuing Deianeira from Nessus; Juno?/Ceres? with thunderbolt; Hercules with the world on his shoulders; Bacchus; Hercules killing Nessus; ?The Rape of Hippolyta; Hercules subduing the hind of Ceryneia; painted in semi-opaque enamels over a white preparation, translucent enamels over coloured foils and grisaille of grey-white with pink flesh tones; details in enlevage and gilding; all on black ground, powdered minutely with gilding.
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Object reference number: MCN8328
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