Your share link is...

Copy to clipboard

Robert Smythier

Sconce (part of The Grand Service)  c.1670

Silver gilt | 54.0 x 35.4 x 24.2 cm | RCIN 51539

Ballroom, Buckingham Palace

  • A set of six cartouche-shaped silver-gilt sconces, each embossed with a scene of the Judgement of Solomon, surrounded by scrolling acanthus, national emblems and swags of husks, and surmounted by a crowned WMR cipher. Each sconce is fitted with two acanthus scroll branches.

    Silver sconces were an essential part of the fashionable baroque interior; the Jewel House inventory of 1721 lists 191 in the royal palaces. These six sconces were almost certainly the 'six silver chaced sconces' weighing 881 ounces troy 15 pennyweights delivered to the 'deputy keeper of his Maj.s Councell Chamber' at Whitehall Palace on 26 November 1686. The Jewel House Accounts and Receipts Book reveals that the total cost came to £396 11s 3d. The new Council Chamber formed part of Sir Christopher Wren's substantial rebuilding of Whitehall Palace for James II. There the King would have met the Ministers of his Privy Council; the Judgement of Solomon, symbolic of wisdom, embossed on the back of the sconces was therefore a particularly appropriate subject.

    The ciphers of William and Mary were added later. In 1742 the sconces were noted in the State Bedchamber at Hampton Court. In 1812 the set was shown to George IV; they were subsequently restored and gilded by Rundells for use at Carlton House.

    Provenance

    Supplied to James II, 1686; restored and gilt by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, 1812; new nozzles added 1816.
  • Creator(s)

    Robert Smythier (goldsmith)

    Paul Storr (1771-1844) (goldsmith)

    England (place of production)

    Acquirer(s)

    James II, King of Great Britain (1633-1701)

  • Medium & Techniques

    Silver gilt

    silver, gilt

    cast, relief, chased, metal decoration, embossed

    Dimensions

    54.0 x 35.4 x 24.2 cm (whole object)

  • Object categorie(s)