This tripod torchere is conceived in the antique manner promoted by the Rome-trained architect C.H. Tatham's Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Architecture, 1799, and derives in part from a marble antiquity from Hadrian's villa illustrated by the Italian architect G.B. Piranesi in Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi..., Rome, 1778. This pattern reappeared amongst the 'most admirable productions of antiquity' published by Henry Moses in 'A collection of Antique Vases, Altars, Paterae, Tripods, Candelabra...', 1814, pl. 90. The pattern was invented in 1806, and a pair was described two years later in Vulliamy's 1808 Day Book as: 'Very large bronze Candelabras ... designed from the Antique...'. It relates to a number of similar examples, in particular the 'Kinnaird' bronze candelabra, which were designed in 1806 under the direction of Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (d. 1854), the celebrated London clock-manufacturer who served as 'bronzier'and 'furniture man' for the Carlton House palace of George, Prince of Wales, later George IV (R. Smith, 'Benjamin Vulliamy's Library', Burlington Magazine, June 1999, pp. 328-337, and figs. 11 and 10).
The 8th Lord Kinnaird (1780-1826) had succeeded to the title in 1805. He married the daughter of the second Duke of Leinster and embarked on a series of commissions which saw him become one of Vulliamy's most important cusomers for a time. Among the work was a pair of ornate candelabra, inscribed : 'Designed and executed by Vulliamy & Son', and claimed to be 'by far the largest ever executed in bronze' in England. The candelabra were subsequently delivered to the Prince Regent and are now at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton (Roger Smith, 'Vulliamy and the Kinnaird Candelabra, Craftsmanship and patronage in Regency London', Apollo, April 1997, pp. 30-34.
The pair to the present lot, though with the oil reservoir removed and the pedestal decorated in imitation of marble, was previously with Edward Medlicott Esq., Sacombe Park and later sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 13 November 1997, lot 61.
A related candelabra, probably commissioned by John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (d.1839), was sold by his descendant, His Grace The Duke of Bedford, Christie's house sale, Woburn Abbey, 20-21 September 2004, lot 15 (£19,120).