Sunday, December 9, 2012

Unusual Artifacts: The Neptune Candelabrum, 1818-1819

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Known for its triumphant depiction of the god Neptune, this magnificent candelabrum is adorned with a figure of the Roman god of the sea, depicted kneeling on a sea horse or hippocamp, on a rocky base cast and chased with shells and a host of other sea creatures. Neptune, as usual, bears a trident in his left hand and supports, with his right, a shell from which a hydra (that wacky mythical many-headed snake) springs out to form the branches which hold the candles.

Made between 1818-1819, this was just one part of a massive table garniture ordered by the Duke of York. In 1827, when the Duke of York’s silver was auctioned, the catalog listed the candelabrum as attributed to the antiquarian and silver retailer Kensington Lewis, whose trade card described him as “Silversmith and Jeweller to his R. H. the Duke of York.”

And, certainly, The Duke of York was Lewis’ most important patron.  Lewis’ business suffered enormously after the Duke’s death.

No comments: