Wall Light

Object Details


Wall Light






about 1700


Carved fruitwood (perhaps bois de Sainte-Lucie)


43.2 x 29.5 x 12.7 cm (17 x 11 5/8 x 5 in.)

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In 1689 and again in 1709, Louis XIV ordered his subjects to turn in their possessions made of precious metals so that they could be melted down to finance his numerous war debts. Seeking suitable replacements for their lost goods, wealthy patrons turned to objects made of a hard, dense variety of cherry wood known as bois de Sainte-Lucie. Valued for its deep reddish-brown color, the wood was very hard and developed a lustrous surface when polished.

With its elaborate rinceaux and lush bunches of grapes, the wall light copies contemporary metalwork designs. Although the carver is unknown, the fluid design and intricate pierced border suggest the work of César Bagard, one of the most important artists in this medium. As the candle branch is a later addition, the backplate may once have served as part of a holy water font, an item often made in this wood.


"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 242, no. 190.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 82, no. 125.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 65, no. 126.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence, Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008) pp. 274-77, no. 29.