This pair of candlesticks is a perfect illustration of the antique-inspired “Egyptomania” that enflamed artists and ornamentists alike.
Already apparent during the reign of Louis XVI, this trend informed the drawings of monuments and sculptures produced by Dominique Vivant Denon and published in his Description de l’Égypte [Description of Egypt] (1802). Denon accompanied Bonaparte on his Egyptian campaign (1798–1801), and his revelations certainly helped to transform a doomed military operation into a victory of propaganda through the lens of arts and culture.
The candlesticks are decorated with three heads adorned with the Pharaonic nemes topping a hexagonal socket adorned with incised florets. The sockets stand on three triple-clawed feet. The ensemble is attached to a circular base decorated with griffins facing scrollwork and palmettes. The bobeche, in which the candle was placed, is also decorated with palmettes.