Designed in the Louis XIV 'antique' manner, with its gadrooned and acanthus-wrapped vase stem, rams' head masks and remarkable arms in the form of female caryatids, this remarkable and rare chandelier is inspired by the designs of the influential ornemanistes Jean Bérain (1640-1711) and Daniel Marot (1661-1752). Designs for related chandeliers by Bérain, who was appointed dessinateur de la chambre et du cabinet du roi to King Louis XIV in 1674, appear in a series of engravings published in 1690- one in particular featuring female caryatid arms (illustrated here and in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 56, fig. 1.7.1), while a console design by Marot, with caryatid supports emerging from very similar lush acanthus, is illustrated in T.A. Strange, An Historical Guide to French Interiors, Furniture, Decoration, London, 1903, p. 132. Further designs by Bérain feature fluted and gadrooned vases of similar form to the central stem of the chandelier offered here (see Ottomeyer/ Pröschel op. cit., p. 48, fig. 1.5.1).
The overall form of this chandelier and several of the ornamental details, particular the volutes capped by ram’s masks wrapping the central urn and the faceted outline of the lower part of the stem, all feature in a series of chandeliers attributed to the celebrated cabinet-maker André-Charles Boulle (1641-1732), who was made ébéniste, ciseleur, doreur et sculpteur du roi to Louis XIV in 1672 ( see Ottomeyer/ Pröschel op. cit.,pp. 52-5). His privileged position allowed him to produce works in gilt-bronze, such as chandeliers, wall-lights and mounts for his own furniture, exempting him from the strict guild rules separating the various métiers and indeed some of his finest creations were in gilt bronze.
Certain details of the casting and modeling, such as the relative thinness of the cast, and the unusual design of the arms, point to this chandelier having been produced outside France, although further research will be required to pinpoint which artistic center created it, undoubtedly directly influenced directly by the latest, most refined fashions of early 18th century Paris.