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A large and extremely fine Empire gilt bronze and cut-glass twenty eight-light chandelier attributed to Claude Galle, with a circular corona decorated with rosettes and surmounted by a band of alternating palm and lotus finials suspending a ring of cut-glass drops above a smaller corona ring from which is suspended a cascade of drops to the main gilt ring cast with elaborate groups of foliage and fruit amid scrolls that alternate between fourteen scrolling foliate-wrapped candle branches terminated by vase-shaped candle nozzles with circular drip-pans, between which supported on the main ring are fourteen upright candle supports consisting of seven slightly smaller supports with scroll and palmetted bases surmounted by fruit filled baskets below foliate-wrapped vase-shaped candle nozzles, the smaller supports alternating with seven larger ones featuring a pair of outward facing winged lions amid scrolls supporting corresponding candle nozzles, the main ring hung below by further pierced palmetted mounts and issuing a concentric ring of cut-glass drops, the pendant cut-glass basket base terminating in a foliate wrapped boss Paris, date circa 1815 Height 165 cm, diameter 120 cm. This magnificent and large chandelier can be attributed to the eminent fondeur-ciseleur Claude Galle (1759-1815) on several grounds, not only due to its quality but also on account of its complexity of design, the subtle modelling, the soft gilding, the winged lions that he so often included in his work as well as the fact that Galle was known to have made a number of other similar chandeliers of equal importance. Among them was one supplied in 1807 to the Palais de Meudon which was described in the day book of 10th September 1808 as “1 lustre de 7 pieds de haut sur 4 pieds de large, de bronze ciselé et doré mat à 30 lumières, garni de guirlandes de cristaux choisis.....6,000” (cited in Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 713). Claude Galle also supplied two large and important gilt bronze chandeliers to the Dames d’Honneur at the Palais de Grand Trianon. Another with 24 lights made for the Salon des Grands Officiers at the Grand Trianons was equally elaborate being described as “1 lustre à 24 lumières, 50 pouces de diamètre sur 72 de haut; branches à gaudrons sur un large cercle, console à enroulement et à palmes rosettes, tige du milieu en chapiteau et colonne feuilles, rosace en haut; grande rosace et pomme torse dessous, panache et couronne en cuivre, ciselé doré mat, garni de cristeaux en chaînes, côtés et guirlande...prix fixé 2,500” (ibid., p. 715). On Galle’s death in 1815, an inventory was drawn up of his remaining stock; although many items were accounted for no chandeliers were included, thus indicating that all his grand chandeliers were made on commission. As in this case they would also have been made for residences of distinction. Galle was among a number of the leading Empire bronziers who made such elaborate chandeliers. Among similar designs are those executed by Galle’s contemporary Antoine-André Ravrio (1759-1814) as part of a project for the Emperor Napoleon. Ravrio’s watercolour designs, circa 1810, now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and illustrated in Ottomeyer ibid. p. 358, pl. 5.11.2 and 3, are of similar overall form, having a palmetted corona and ornamentation above the central ring with a cascade of glass drops above and arranged as a basket below. One can also compare this work to a simpler but similarly designed Empire 20-light chandelier in Hombourg Castle, Hesse, illustrated in Léon de Groër, “Les Arts Décoratifs de 1790 à 1850”, 1985, p. 259, pl. 483. Another similar eighteen-light chandelier was delivered in April 1810 by Ladouèpe de Fougerais, proprietor of the Cristallerie de Mont-Cenis for the cabinet de L’Empereur, now in the Musée National du Château de Versailles, Grand Trianon (illustrated ibid, p. 257, pl. 480).



Dorfstrasse 30
8322 Gündisau, Switzerland,

tel +41 44 212 00 14
mobile + 41 79 333 40 19
fax +41 44 212 14 10

Exhibitor at TEFAF, Maastricht
Member of the Swiss Antique Association
Founding Member of the Horological Foundation

Art Research: 
Alice Munro Faure, B.Ed. (Cantab),


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