EUGÈNE EMMANUEL VIOLLET - LE - DUC (Paris 1814 - 1879 Lausanne), with
PLACIDE - BENOIT - MARIE POUSSIELGUE - RUSAND (Paris 1824 - 1889)
Pair of Altar Candlesticks
Height: 16 ⅞ inches (42.86 cm)
Base: 8 ¼ inches (20.95 cm) 1862
Private collection, France
Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1890
Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, inv. nos. PM043361
Catalogue commercial. Manufacture d’orfèvrerie, de bronzes et de chasublerie, Maison P. Poussielgue-Rusand, Paris, 1893.
FAVIER Gaël, “Viollet le Duc et l'orfèvrerie religieuse,” Finance L. de, Leniaud J.-M. (edited by), Viollet-le-Duc, les visions d’un architecte, Paris, Norma, 2014, p. 118-125.
BERTHOD Bernard, FAVIER Gaël, HARDOUIN-FUGIER Elisabeth. Dictionnaire des arts liturgiques: du Moyen-âge à nos jours. Ed. Frémur, Chateauneuf-sur-Charente, 2015.
VIOLLET-LE-DUC, Eugène. Dictionnaire raisonné du mobilier français de l’époque Carolingienne à la Renaissance, Vol. I. Paris, A. Morel et Cie Editeurs, 1872.
Each candlestick rests on a tripod consisting of aquiline claws topped by a bouquet of acanthus leaves laden with pinecones. This supports the stem’s base, which is decorated with eight ovoid designs. The cylindrical stem is topped by a capital in the form of foliated scrolls, which support the drip tray.
Our pair of candlesticks is particularly significant as Viollet-le-Duc designed them in 1862 for Notre-Dame de Paris. They were cast by Poussielgue-Rusand, the goldsmith who was commissioned to produce most of the objects for the restored choir of the church. Originally they were part of an ensemble consisting of four altar candlesticks and a cross placed above the tabernacle. They were located in one of the cathedral’s apsidal chapels (the original locations have been forgotten and the objects moved over time). The cross, one candlestick and a foot—without the upper element—are all that remain at Notre-Dame.
The Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine own a watercolor and graphite drawing by Viollet-le-Duc dated 1862 (PM043361) that he entitled “small altar candlestick in gilt copper.” It shows a partial frontal elevation of the foot decorated with foliage and pinecone motifs and a plan of the capital.
Both candlesticks were formerly in a French private collection.