- Museum number
Pair of silver candlesticks in the form of a stylised bone, electroformed in fine silver (ie higher than sterling).
- Production date
1978 (designed in)
2006 (made in)
Height: 356 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The shape was intended to replicate a human femur. As a child Peretti often visited the Capuchin church of Santa Maria dell Concezione in Rome. She was fascinated by the crypt containing the bones of over 4000 friars arranged in decorative displays, as a reminder that death comes to all. Here Peretti has turned a human thigh bone into a candlestick. Candles, like bones, have always been symbols of mortality, snuffed out in seconds. Peretti wrote of her fascination for bones in 1990:
'My love for bones has nothing macabre about it. As a child, I kept on visiting the cemetery of a Capuchin church with my nanny. All the rooms were decorated with human bones. My mother had to send me back, time and again, with a stolen bone in my little purse. Things that are forbidden you remain with you forever. Later on, I was free to collect bones, so at my leisure I designed part of a world of beautiful shapes. They are still before me now.' (Fifteen of my Fifty with Tiffany & Co', exhibition catalogue, New York, F.I.T. 1990). See also J. Rudoe, 'Modern Response: Elsa Peretti's designs for Tiffany', British Museum Magazine, 63, Spring/Summer 2009, pp. 32-33.
The bone candlesticks are the result of Peretti's collaboration with the founders of D'Or Joiers, Ramon Lopez and Rafael Carbonell, perhaps her most fruitful collaboration among the mainy artists and craftsmen with whom she worked. Initially, in the 1970s, the candlesticks were hand-raised from sheet silver by silversmith Señor Abad. Production later turned to the electroforming process, used for larger three-dimensional shapes where more traditional two-piece construction is not satisfactory. The process involves covering a wax model with 999 silver, the thickness controlled by the length of time allowed. When finished the candlestick is placed in an oven to melt and remove the wax. Initially the base was made separately and soldered on, but subsequently the candlesticks were made in one piece and the wax comes out of the top, with a separate socket. (manufacturing information kindly supplied by David Lopez of D'Or Joiers, May 2009).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 Mar-Jul, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2009 1 May-2010 31 Jan, London, BM, Room 2, 'Elsa Peretti: Jewellery and objects for Tiffany & Co.'
- Acquisition date
- 2007 (18 May)
- Acquisition notes
- Given in honour of Elsa Peretti's 30 year anniversary with Tiffany & Co.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number