On the topic of tricky attributions:

A friend of ours from Virginia unearthed these beauties:

A pair of carved marble and gilt bronze column torchieres, circa 1910.

After cleaning and putting them back together I had a hunch they were made by the New York maker E. F. Caldwell Co. I spent few days searching through their archives and came up with a very close match to the base, in form and subject. Here you can see the lions holding up the main column of a torchiere:

And those same smiling lions on the base of our torchieres:

Some time later, I came across a brochure from one of Caldwell’s biggest competitors, The Sterling Bronze Co.

Inside we find a page highlighting their custom fixtures, including some familiar torchieres:

So close! But not exact – same bellflower motif along the column, but you’ll notice the frieze of theatrical masks at the top:

Whereas ours have a foliate detail:

So we changed the attribution to share equal likeliness between the two of them.
A mystery until further developments, if ever…


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