A Pair of Appliques
A Pair of Appliques

A Pair of Appliques

Paris, about 1780 

Bronze with original gilding

Height 41 cm, width 27 cm, depth 13 cm


Flat ornamental pieces, no matter in what material context, very often are called „appliqués“ or (now) appliques. But the term also describes a special form of sconce. An applique (=sconce) may have one or more arms, and these may be traversable. A special form was used to light the notes when playing the concert piano. Illuminants were candles, later light bulbs, too. The form of the applique still exists today.


The appliqués originated in the gothic period, and it can be seen as a further development of the torch-holding basket or eyelet (lug). The development of an own functional form also created possibilities of a typical language of forms and a typical decoration. They were applied to the wall by discs or rosettes, wall plaques and cartouches, less often by plastic figures.


Appliques had their heyday in the rococo (Louis XV period). Usually they were produced from base metals and then fire gilt. They could possess two or three arms coming out of a common sub or socket, like bizarre, gently rolling branches, or develop into a totally asymmetrical composition.


The appliques on offer show a symmetrical design and are fixed to the wall by a fluted (channelled) pilaster strip, accompanied by leaf volutes changing into the arms and decorated with festoons. They are crowned by a so-called nestoris or  trozella with a lid. The brackets for the illuminants are designed as a fluted segment of a pillar with a Tuscan capital (ring-shaped rim) on an inverted bell-shaped foot. The elaborate bracket should prevent the illuminant from toppling over.


The decoration is of the rococo type, but already shows some classicist influences.




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