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Russian Candelabras, end of th XVIII century. – Louis XVI

Two three-armed candelabras manufactured in the tula arms plant.
Tula Imperial Manufactory.

Cleveland Museum of Art.


These two outstanding candelabras were manufactured in the Imperial Tula Arms Plant, in Russia. There, a number of steel pieces were fashioned by weapon manufacturers. The Tula Arms Plant was founded in 1705 by the emperor and became a major centre for the production of weapons in Russia. Empress Catherine II was very fond of pieces such as this one, which were labelled as “rare and precious”. She commissioned more and more pieces from the Arms Plant to use them as diplomatic gifts.

These two candelabras are very rare; there are the only ones that we know outside of Russia. Their small, faceted steel beads, which are meant to imitate diamonds and crystal, are characteristic of Tula’s manufacturers. They are a testament to the popularity of neoclassicism in Russia in the late 18th century; Russian-style craftsmanship reached a peak in those years.