The BMA has recently added this stunning pair of candlesticks to its permanent collection. Made in 1872, the candlesticks reflect the 19th-century interest in past cultures and styles and the unique way in which stylistic elements came together during this period to create an eclectic array of objects that were a testament to new consumer tastes and patterns of consumption.
These candlesticks were made in the Neo-Byzantine style—one of many revival styles of the period, which itself was comprised of elements drawn from ancient Greek and Roman art combined with Egyptian and Islamic motifs. Made of gilt bronze, the colorful mosaic enamel decoration on the candlesticks was created using the cloisonné technique, which originated in the ancient Near East and was used in ancient Egypt and the Byzantine Empire before spreading to China in the 13th and 14th centuries.
The candlesticks prominently display the names of the manufacturer, designer, and chaser, an unusual feature that no doubt indicates the importance of the collaboration required to create such high quality and innovative examples of 19th-century industrial art. Examples of this pair of candlesticks were featured at both the London International Exhibition of 1871 and the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876.