On my list of things I’ve always wanted to own, a Fornasetti candle is right up there. Or ‘was right up there’, I should say, because I now own two. Now, the reason I have lusted after one of these candles so desperately is down to the simple fact that they are just so darn beautiful and dare I say, a little bit kitsch too. Fornasetti candles are as much ‘objet d’art’ as they are vessels for home fragrance, meaning that they can make one’s home smell beautiful whilst drawing the eye to something decorative too. They do what many candles don’t, which is smell good whilst also creating a talking point, adding a touch of something unique to any room.
Piero Fornasetti was a Milanese artist who painted, made sculptures, designed interiors and engraved books, amongst many other things. He is arguably one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, having created over 11,000 decorative products within his lifetime. Following Fornasetti’s death in the 1980s, the artist’s son, Barnaba has continued the brand, reviving and reinterpreting his father’s designs, placing them on a number of items, ranging from plates to umbrellas and of course, candles too.
Fornasetti’s signature design centres around the artist’s muse: opera singer, Lina Cavalieri. The classical features of her distinctively beautiful face have been reproduced in over 350 designs, showing her in range of guises, many of which have been abstract, whimsical and humorous, to say the least. Fornasetti candles boast numerous designs, many of which see Cavalieri’s form presented as a range of characters, or simply focusing on her features. The designs also verge on the wacky with candles printed with sardine and fountain pen designs. Yup, that’s right, Fornasetti certainly knows how to make the sublime out of the ridiculous!
The Fornasetti L’Eclaireuse Candle is the brand’s latest offering and it shows the muse as a dual personality of half princess, half corsair. One one side she rocks beautiful gold jewellery in her hair and nose, whilst on the other she opts for a simple eye patch, which is also in gold, of course. The candle is scented with the new fragrance ‘Mistero’, which is something much more subdued than the other fragrances in the line, namely Otto, Fornasetti’s signature, which is an enveloping wave of warm amber. Mistero is something entirely more subtle, opting to be coloured in muted shades of silver and grey.
When lit, the L’Eclaireuse candle sends up silvery strands of pepper and incense, supported by the warm tones of cypress, laurel, geranium, patchouli cedar and sandalwood. The fragrance is dry and fuzzy, but it has a simplistic elegance to it that gives the impression of grey silks and bleached woods. It’s one of those fragrances that doesn’t necessarily make itself known whilst one is sat there next to it, but is noticeable when a room is reentered after a period of time. Whilst I burned my L’Eclaireuse Candle, i kept getting little clouds of it every now and then, almost as a reminder that it was there, which is the perfect volume for a candle, I find. I appreciate the art of the subtlety that Mistero presents and paired with the duality of the L’Eclaireuse design, it creates a complex experience that is bold in design and paired back in fragrance which, in itself is a strong juxtaposition.
At £115, it’s hard to deny that Fornasetti candles are on the pricey side but (and that’s a big but) they smell utterly luxurious and whilst the Mistero fragrance may be more subtle, it does leave a lasting fragrance that scents the room in a manner that is far from loud and oppressive. What’s more, the candles are absolutely beautiful to look at and create a focal point in any room they occupy. I’ve already thought of a use for each of my candles once they burn out because, let’s face it, those jars are far too gorgeous to throw away.
Fornasetti’s L’Eclaireuse Candle is available for 300g/£125 and 1.9kg/£440.
Sample and quotes via Fornasetti. Images are my own.