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A VICTORIAN SILVER SIX-LIGHT CANDELABRUM CENTREPIECE
A VICTORIAN SILVER SIX-LIGHT CANDELABRUM CENTREPIECE

MARK OF STEPHEN SMITH, LONDON, 1869

Details
A VICTORIAN SILVER SIX-LIGHT CANDELABRUM CENTREPIECE
MARK OF STEPHEN SMITH, LONDON, 1869
On triform wood base, each corner applied with a cast dragon, tiger and lion, the base applied with three cast figures representing Manchu China, Mughal India and South Africa, the central palm tree with a receiver for a glass bowl, and six sockets, marked on base, each figure and animal
30 ¾ in. (78.1 cm.) high

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Matilda Burn
Matilda Burn

Lot Essay

The custom of presenting prominent figures with gifts of presentation plate was fuelled by the manufacturers of the day. The Illustrated London News ‘enthusiastically reported’ on testimonials and challenge cups and manufacturers confidently displayed ornamental centrepieces for customers at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and The International Exhibition of 1862 (J. Culme, Nineteenth Century Silver, London, 1977, p. 107). A comparable example by Stephen Smith is the La Trobe Testimonial of 1854 in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (accession no. D102.a-h-1986). It was presented to Joseph La Trobe, the first Lieutenant Governor of the colony of Victoria. In common with the present lot, it features three figures with further attributes applied to the base. Each figure and attribute is representative of a people and region of Australia, just as the figures and animals on present lot are representative of realms of the British Empire.

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