• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5366

    Christie's Interiors- Style & Spirit

    23 September 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 92

    A PAIR OF WEDGWOOD BLACK BASALT CANDLESTICKS

    CIRCA 1785, IMPRESSED MARK

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF WEDGWOOD BLACK BASALT CANDLESTICKS
    CIRCA 1785, IMPRESSED MARK
    Each modelled after a design by Sir William Chambers as a griffin supporting a sconce on its head, a garland wreath to the neck suspending a medallion, the acanthus-scroll tail projecting through the front legs, seated on a rectangular base moulded with egg-and-dart border
    11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm.) high (2)


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    The partnership of Wedgwood & Bentley created some of the most inventive and celebrated pottery of the late 18th Century - the unrivalled potters of the neoclassical taste. Designs were heavily influenced by and copied from well-known sources, but only the best aspects of the style selected. The form of these candlesticks bears close semblance to a design attributed to Sir William Chambers (1723-1796), architect to George III and major exponent of British neoclassicism along with Robert Adam. Published in his 1791 third edition of the 'Treatise on the Decorative Parts of Civil Architecture', it is thought that the design was most probably adapted from a seated sphinx that he had seen on an antique Roman sarcophogus whilst on Tour between 1750 and 1754. Wedgwood too was inspired by ancient works of art - black basalt was developed in response to Etruscan wares being recovered in Italy and was one of the firm's most expensive creations.

    Cf. Robin Reilly, Wedgwood, Volume I (London, 1989), p. 473, pl. 680

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage