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Each on a stepped circular base cast with woven base rims, the fluted well rising to a tapered cylindrical stem emerging from paired feet and rising to three stylized Egyptian female busts, with central hearaldic finial and two acanthus-capped scroll branches terminating in dolphins and sconces formed as lobed sconces formed as Roman lamps, marked throughout, base rims engraved RUNDELL BRIDGE ET RUNDELL AURIFICES REGIS ET PRINCIPIS WALLIAE LONDINI FECURUNT
24 3/4 in. (63 cm.) high
283 oz. 9 dwt. (8,815 gr.)
Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, (1764-1819), by descent to his son,
Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, (1791-1860), by descent to his son,
Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, 1st Duke of Gordon (1818–1903), by descent to his son,
Charles Gordon-Lennox, 7th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, 2nd Duke of Gordon (1845–1928), by descent to his son,
Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 8th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1870-1935), by descent to his son,
Frederick Charles Gordon Lennox, 9th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, and Aubigny, 4th Duke of Gordon (1904-1989),
His Grace The Duke of Richmond and Gordon; Sotheby’s, London, 4 July 1946, lot 164 (part).
With Lewis & Kay Limited, London, by 1951,
Acquired by the father of the present owner at the 11th Antique Dealer's Fair and Exhibition, Grovernor's House, London, 2-21 June, 1951 (four two-light candelabra).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983-2020.

Lot Essay

The arms are those of Charles, 4th Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1764-1819).

Born as Charles Lennox in 1764, the 4th Duke was the third child and only son of Lt.-Gen George Henry Lennox (d. 1805), second son of the 2nd Duke, and his wife Lady Louisa, daughter of William Kerr, 4th Marquess of Lothian. Croker remarks that this celebrated peer appears to have been born, just as he died, in a barn: "his mother Lady Louisa, was taken ill when on a fishing party, and there was only time to carry her to a neighboring farmyard, where the Duke was born" (The Croker Papers, vol. 1, p. 150). He entered the army in 1788 and achieved notoriety by his duel with the Duke of York on Wimbledon Common on 26 May 1789. The Duke of York, the second son of George III, coolly received his fire and then fired into the air. A short time later, Lennox was involved in another duel, this time with one Theophilus Swift, the author of a scurrilous pamphlet about him. Swift was hit but the wound proved not to be fatal.

Despite this penchant for dueling, Lennox appears to have been a popular soldier and later served as a MP for Chichester. In 1806 he succeeded to the dukedom and the year following was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a post he held until 1813. The present pair of candelabra may have been part of the prodigious service of plate the Duke took with him to Dublin. Contemporary writers speak of the almost regal state he maintained there; indeed he spent so much as Viceroy that on his return to England he could not afford to live at Goodwood, the main family seat, and was forced to take up residence in Brussels. It was there, in a coach maker's depot in the Rue de la Blanchisserie, that his Duchess gave the famous ball on the eve of Waterloo. The Duchess’s ball has been immortalized repeatedly on-screen and in beloved sources of literature including William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and Lord Byron’s poem “The Eve of Waterloo.”

In 1789, Lennox married Charlotte, daughter of Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon. It was said that she loved pomp "even more than her husband did". In 1818 he was appointed Governor General of Canada and while his personality endeared him to the populace, his extreme views seemed likely to force a clash with the French-Canadian Party. His term of office, however, was cut short the following year, when he died suddenly of rabies, apparently as a result of a bite from his pet fox. Rumors current at the time suggested that the fox had been a gift from the Iroquois. He was buried in Quebec Cathedral on 4 September 1819.

The present pair of candelabra were commissioned by the 4th Duke of Richmond during an ambitious period of restoration and rebuilding at Goodwood House, the family’s seat in Chichester since 1697. The original rectangular brick house was constructed by the 9th Earl of Northumberland in 1616-17 and purchased at the end of the century by the 1st Duke of Richmond as a hunting lodge. Goodwood was expanded throughout the 18th century until a catastrophic fire in 1791 destroyed much of the house. In rebuilding Goodwood, the 3rd Duke employed famed architect James Wyatt, who designed two great wings, angled back from the existing house, to display the extensive art collection amassed by the 2nd and 3rd Dukes. Wyatt worked at Goodwood between 1800-1806 before John Nash, who later designed the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, was brought into the project around 1807. It is unclear if the exceedingly in-demand Wyatt was overstretched or if the new 4th Duke preferred the work of Nash to his uncle's architect.

With its seamless marriage of both Egyptian and Classical motifs, it is possible that this extraordinary pair of candelabra were designed specifically for the new Egyptian Dining Room at Goodwood. Designed by Wyatt between 1803-1806, this dining room would have one of England’s first Egyptian-schemed rooms; the taste for Egyptian iconogaphy sparked the previous year with the 1802 publication of Dominique Vivant Denon's drawings composed during his expedidition of Egypt at the invitation of Napoleon. Unfortunately little is known about Wyatt’s original vision, as the room was never depicted in watercolor or captured on film. An 1839 catalogue raisonné of the pictures at Goodwood provides a brief description of the room, suggesting that it would have been understated and elegantly appointed. The publication notes that the “The general design of which was suggested from the drawings of Denon, the French antiquary, who accompanied Napoleon and his army to Egypt” and that the room had scagliola walls resembling polished Sienna marble. The walls and marble chimney piece were further accentuated with bronze ornaments cast in Classical and Egyptian motifs (Mason, William Hayley, Goodwood its House, Park and Grounds with a Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures in the Gallery of His Grace The Duke of Richmond K.G., London, 1839, p. 38). A century later King Edward VII reputedly did not care for the dining room’s Egyptian theme and thus the fixtures were removed and the rare scagliola painted-over. Extensive efforts to restore the Egyptian Dining Room were undertaken from 1996-1998. Visitors to Goodwood are able to now enjoy one of the largest expanses of scagliola intact in England (Baird, 2004, pp. 16-20).

Additional works in silver and bronze that can be connected to the Egyptian Dining Room at Goodwood include a silver-gilt tea urn in the collection of Rosaline and Arthur Gilbert on loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum and a suite of four gilt bronze candelabra made by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell between 1802-1806. While the rather imposing bronze candelabra is composed of overt Egyptian motifs (a pair is illustrated Hartop, Christopher, Royal Goldsmiths: The Art of Rundell & Bridge 1797-1843, John Adamson, London, 2005, pp. 54-55, fig. 43), the tea urn displays a similar weaving of Classical and Egyptian themes as seen in the present candelabra. Marked for Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith, London, 1805, the tea urn includes three maiden busts similar to those on the upper stems of the 1808 silver candelabra, but with the addition of eagle wings flanking each bust. The design of the tea urn has been attributed to Jean-Jacques Bolieau, a French artist who worked in England from 1787 and provided a number of sculptural designs for metalwork, in both the Egyptian and Greek styles, that were executed by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell in the first decade of the 19th century. Along with Vivant Denon’s 1802 publication of “Voyage dans Basse et la Haute Egypte,” Bolieau’s bold designs helped to establish the fashion for the union of Egyptian and Classical themes. A fellow proponent of this mixed style was Thomas Hope, who in 1807 published the groundbreaking design guide “Household Furniture and Interior Decoration” (See Snodin, Michael, "J. J. Boileau A Forgotten Designer of Silver", The Connoisseur, June 1978, pp. 124-133).

Through their rich design elements, the Richmond candelabra are related to a group of extant candelabra made by Benjamin Smith in the early 19th century for a number of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell’s most influential patrons. A nearly identical pair of three-light candelabra applied with the Royal Arms and Royal duke's coronet for a son of George III was sold as part of the Chen Collection at Lyon & Turnbull, London, 23 November 2008, lot 163. Marked for Benjamin Smith, London, 1807-08, this three-light model includes a central sconce instead of the heraldic finial, which features prominently on the Richmond candelabra. The Chen sale included a pair of similar silver-gilt seven-light candelabra (lot 158) made for Sir Charles Henry Coote, 9th Bt. Slightly later in date, this pair is marked for Benjamin Smith, London, 1812-13 and features nearly identical stems and branches as the Richmond candelabra but with engraved heraldry, central sconces and additional leafy scroll branches terminating in spewing dolphins. The Coote candelabra are supported on tripod bases with couchant winged sphinxes; their design has been attributed to Bolieau based on similarities found within a collection of Bolieau drawings at the V&A, which include a design for a wine cooler with couchant sphinxes and a centerpiece featuring a patera enclosed within the scroll of a foliate branch. This design element is incorporated in the Richmond candelabra as well. A suite of three candelabra marked for Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith, London, 1805, 1805 and 1807, made for the Earls of Caledon are illustrated in The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, Christie’s, London, 1989, p. 156, no. 118. A pair of 1804 silver-gilt four-light candelabra by Scott and Smith, supported on three lion monopodia supports and engraved with the arms of the Prince of Wales were included in Koopman Rare Art's exhibition Royal Goldsmiths, the Art of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, 14 June – 1 July 2005, and are illustrated in the accompanying catalogue (Hartop, 2005, p. 60, fig. 48).

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