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Pair of Wall Lights
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Unknown
French, Paris, about 1700
Gilt bronze

85.DF.383

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The figures of Flora and Zephyr, two characters from classical mythology, form the bodies of these gilt bronze wall lights. Flora, the goddess of flowers, is wrapped in a cloak that billows behind her; while Zephyr, the god of the west wind, is shown with wings attached to his shoulders. Each god turns to face the other while raising twisting branches that each terminate in a candle holder and drip pan. Their bodies rise out of shafts wrapped with garlands of flowers, and curling acanthus leaves form the base of the lights.

Wall lights and chandeliers were the main sources of illumination at night in elegant interiors. Elaborate fixtures such as these would have hung in a small room on either side of a mirror so that the flames of the candles were reflected in the mirror glass, thereby increasing the amount of light.