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Candelabrum, one from a set of four candelabra

1759-1760
Origin: England, London
OH: 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm); OW: 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm); Wt. 81 oz. 3 dwt. 18 gr.
Silver (Sterling)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1954-633,4
One of a set of four two-light silver candelabra. Each has two flower-like sockets with petaled flange and fluted calyx screwed onto naturalistic, leafy branches curving from a central tree trunk which forms the stem, the base being a mound with varied flowers, insects, snails, etc., in high relief and with two figures grouped against the trunk, being the infant Psyche holding drapery over a Cupid sleeping beside his quiver, the branches of the tree bearing pears (?), with a bird on the highest branch.
Label:These remarkable rococo candelabra are apparently unique, having no mid-eighteenth-century counterparts in English silver. Even though human figures had long been used in candlestick design, they usually formed an integral part of the stem and visually supported the socket and candle. The use of a figure group on the base as a vignette without a supportive function became a characteristic treatment in nineteenth-century candelabra and centerpieces. The overall handling of these candelabra, in particular the modeling of the figures and bases, is reminiscent of porcelain figure groups, especially some French examples from such factories as Sevres, Vincennes, Mennecy, and Tournay of the third quarter of the century with similar rockwork bases. Nonetheless, no specific ceramic prototypes or print sources, either for the individual groups or the overall scheme, has been found. The closest parallel may be found in William Ince and John Mayhew’s 1762 Universal System of Household Furniture, which features a large wooden candle stand in the form of a naturalistic tree with a figure group at its base.
Provenance:George Nathaniel Curzon (1859-1925) 5th baron and 1st viscount Scarsdale and 1st marquess Curzon of Kedleston, Derbyshire; Richard Nathaniel Curzon (b. 1892), 2nd viscount Scarsdale, Kedleston, Derbyshire (sold at Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 1930; purchased by S.H. Harris Ltd., London);
Vendor: Garrard & Co. Ltd. London.
Mark(s):Marked in relief on edge of base: 1) date letter "D" for 1759/60; 2) leopard's head crowned; 3) lion passant; and 4) "T•P" in rectangle for Thomas Pitts I (Grimwade 1990 #2875). Marked in relief on each socket: 1) lion passant and 2) "T•P" in rectangle for Thomas Pitts I (Grimwade 1990 #2875)