The engraved crest is that of Yorke, presumably for General Joseph Yorke, born June 1724, who was made the 1st, and only, Lord Dover, Baron of the Town and Port of Dover, County Kent, on 18 September 1788.
These candlesticks and candelabra are in the style of Robert Adam (1728-1792), one of the greatest proponents of the neoclassical style in England in the second half of the 18th century. Though largely known today for his architecture and interiors, Robert Adam and his brother James’ contribution to the design of silver is known through a series of 114 designs among the nine thousand Adam drawings at the Sir John Soane's Museum, London, which are discussed in depth by Michael Snodin (M. Snodin, "Adam Silver Reassessed", Burlington Magazine, January 1997, pp. 17-25). The design for the candlesticks offered here can be seen as derived from a drawing from this collection for a candlestick possibly designed for the Philips family of Picton Castle. The drawing shows a similar baluster form with stiff foliage decoration to the foot, stem, and sconce with beaded borders. Snodin explains that Adam’s design for this candlestick was revolutionary given that Adam’s earlier designs for silver drew more directly from ancient forms and motifs. He states that,
“The ancients did not, of course, have candlesticks, so Robert Adam, who made the sketch design, was in effect obliged to invent a new type. For the stem he reunited the bulbous baluster of the renaissance with its ancestor, the great stone candelabrum of the Romans. The spool-shaped base has no precedent in classical candelabra or renaissance candlesticks, but is directly derived from the forms of the lids and bases of cups… Also innovatory is the relief ornament which covers the whole candlestick, recalling in its scale and density that on renaissance bronzes.” (p. 23)
For two pairs of candlesticks with similar design elements owned by celebrated collector William Beckford, see D.Ostergard ed., William Beckford 1760-1844 An Eye for the Magnificent, 2001, cat.9 and 31. A near identical set of four candlesticks to those offered here was sold Sotheby’s, London, 23 May 1985, lot 108. A pair of similar three-light candelabra, mark of Sebastian and James Crespell, sold Christie’s, London, 7 June 2011, lot 312. A further similar pair of two-light candelabra, mark of John Scofield, sold Christie’s, London, 29 November 2016, lot 161.