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? Dutch

Stand c.1670

Chased and engraved silver | 101.0 x 45.0 x 39.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 35298

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A pair of silver candlestands. Each with the top engraved with crowned interlaced 'C's (for Charles II). Stem of baluster shape, chased with foliage, garlands of fruit, etc, springing from triangular hub. On three foliate S-scroll shaped legs. On his accession in 1760 George III inherited three late seventeenth-century suites of silver tables, mirrors and stands. They had been displayed in the State rooms in Windsor Castle since the reign of Queen Anne and in the early years of the King’s reign they were regularly cleaned and repaired. A further set was in the collection of Frederick, Prince of Wales, at Leicester House in the 1740s. These were the remnants of far larger suites of silver furnishings, which had been displayed throughout the royal palaces during the reigns of the later Stuarts. The popularity of silver furnishings had however diminished in the first half of the eighteenth century and in February 1764 ‘three silver tables and six stands’, together with numerous old sconces, chandeliers and firedogs ‘which are not English Standard’, were ‘Delivered to be melted . . . to be reduced into English Sterling to complete his Majesty’s Gift of 8000oz of old Plate to the Duke of Gloucester’ - part of a generous gift for the King’s brother, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester. Thereafter the three sets disappear from the Jewel House records. However in February 1805 an account of ‘their Majesties’ Fete at Windsor Castle’ noted ‘the novel and grand appearance of four silver tables, between each window [in the Queen’s Ballroom]. The magnificent effect of the tables was considerably heightened by four most elegant pier glasses over each with silver frames’. In addition five silver chandeliers were hung in the Ballroom and the Queen’s Drawing Room next door. This magnificent arrangement was recorded in a view of the Queen’s Ballroom in 1817. It would therefore appear that elements of at least two of the sets of silver tables, mirrors and stands were spared the melting pot in 1764. One composite surviving set includes two stands, a table and a mirror decorated with the cipher of Charles II. The stands are marked with an assay scrape, which might indicate a continental, perhaps Dutch origin; the design, however, is of markedly French inspiration and reflects the influence of Parisian silversmiths such as Claude T Ballin and Nicolas de Launay, who supplied silver furniture for Louis XIV at Versailles in the early 1680s. It would therefore appear that by 1805 George III had had a change of heart, and that these examples of high baroque furnishings were now deemed suitable for his newly refurbished apartments at Windsor Castle. One stand marked with an assay scrape; one tripod base an electrotype replacement Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004