Lot Content

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The Property of the late LADY RHYL Sold by Order of the Executors
A PAIR OF GEORGE III GILTWOOD TORCHERES designed by Robert Adam, each with eared circular top on tripartite acanthus-carved supports and central turned spreading shaft, the platform edged with flowerhead-filled guilloche and mounted with lion-masks, on panelled rectangular tripod supports filled with bell flowers and joined by an undertier, on eared spreading circular plinth mounted with draped ram's-masks, one with typewritten cloth labels MAS/282/DAB and M.H./257/14, re-gilt

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE III GILTWOOD TORCHERES designed by Robert Adam, each with eared circular top on tripartite acanthus-carved supports and central turned spreading shaft, the platform edged with flowerhead-filled guilloche and mounted with lion-masks, on panelled rectangular tripod supports filled with bell flowers and joined by an undertier, on eared spreading circular plinth mounted with draped ram's-masks, one with typewritten cloth labels MAS/282/DAB and M.H./257/14, re-gilt
12¾in. (32.5cm.) diam.; 46¼in. (117.5cm.) high (2)
Provenance
Almost certainly supplied to John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (d. 1792) for the drawing room of Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Literature
R. Adam, Works of Architecture, London, 1822, vol. III, plate XI

Lot Essay

These stands, designed by the architect Robert Adam (d. 1792) in the 'antique' manner, were intended to support ormolu vase-shaped candelabra. With their 'altar' plinths, embellished with 'bacchic' drapery-festooned rams' masks and their bowls wreathed by flowered guilloche and supported on a husk-festooned tripod with 'bacchic' lion-masks and feet, their form derives from a Graeco-Roman tripod, known as an Athénienne. Their prototype appears to have been the altar-tripod in Joseph Vien's painting La Vertuese Athénienne, executed in 1763 and engraved two years later. When writing ot a related stand which he designed for the 6th Earl of Coventry in 1767 and published in his Works in Architecture, 1773, plate VIII, vol. I, No. I, Adam acknowledged his source as being 'A tripod altered from a French design'. This pair of stands was designed about 1772 for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (d. 1792) and formed part of the Drawing Room furnishings of Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire, illustrated (plate XI) in his Works, vol. III, published posthumously in 1822 (see: S. Eriksen and F. J. B. Watson, 'The Athénienne and the Revival of the Clasiical Tripod', Burlington, March 1963, pp. 108-112).
Another pair, of later date, was sold by Pearl Assurance, High Holborn, Christie's house sale, 1 November 1990, lot 137
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