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A PAIR OF GEORGE III ORMOLU-MOUNTED FLUORSPAR AND MARBLE CORINTHIAN COLUMNS
A PAIR OF GEORGE III ORMOLU-MOUNTED FLUORSPAR AND MARBLE CORINTHIAN COLUMNS
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A PAIR OF GEORGE III ORMOLU-MOUNTED FLUORSPAR AND MARBLE CORINTHIAN COLUMNS

ATTRIBUTED TO MATTHEW BOULTON, CIRCA 1770

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE III ORMOLU-MOUNTED FLUORSPAR AND MARBLE CORINTHIAN COLUMNS
ATTRIBUTED TO MATTHEW BOULTON, CIRCA 1770
Each on a square plinth with stiff-leaf frieze and inset with green-backed fluorspar panels, on a berried laurel foot and stepped base of chamfered white marble and Ashford black marble, restorations
20 ½ in. (52 cm.) high
Provenance
Probably those sold at the sale of Boulton and Fothergill's stock at James Christie's saleroom in Pall Mall, 13 April 1771 (Third Day's sale), lot 61 - 'A pair of large sideboard alabaster candle-sticks with corinthian capitals and other ornaments in or moulu' - for £9 19s 6d to Mr Duntze.
Probably Mr John Duntze (1735-1795), MP for Tiverton (1768-1795), created Baronet in 1774, possibly at Rockbeare Manor, Devon.
Charles Orr Stanley (1899-1989), 3 Lowndes Place, Belgravia, and subsequently Lisselan House, County Cork, Ireland, and by descent.

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Benedict Winter
Benedict Winter

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Lot Essay

These columns, combining luxurious Derbyshire stones with jewel-like neoclassical ormolu mounts, correspond to the pair listed in Messrs. Boulton & Fothergill’s sale at Christie’s on 13 April 1771 as lot 61 – ‘A pair of large sideboard alabaster candle-sticks with corinthian capitals and other ornaments in or moulu’. No other large column candlesticks by Boulton are known to exist and it is possible that these were a unique creation, most likely produced as a result of fortune – the lapidary works produced a pair of polished columns in fluorspar (a crystalline quartz in this instance misidentified as alabaster) and approached the Soho Manufactory for mounting – rather than as a specific commission; their appearance in the stock sale of 1771 would reinforce this theory. 
 
The quality and design of the mounts, coupled with the presence of the Derbyshire stones, point to Matthew Boulton. The chasing and gilding of the ormolu mounts are typical of works produced by Boulton, and the design of plinth with foliate frieze mounts to the upper and lower edges echo those found on other documented pieces – particularly designs which incorporate figures from mythology with an obelisk, such as the Narcissus clock case, Urania watch stand and Venus clock case (N. Goodison, Matthew Boulton: Ormolu, rev. ed., London, 2002, pp. 220-1, figs. 173-5, pp. 236-8, figs. 189-190, p. 239, fig. 192). The small leaf of the upper frieze is particularly close to that of the Urania watch stand (figs. 189-190) and the berried laurel lower frieze can be seen in both square and circular form on candle vases and on the King’s clock case in the Royal Collection (ibid., pp. 213-4, figs. 162 & 164). Boulton and Fothergill produced a number of candlesticks and candelabra of various designs and a drawing for a wreathed Corinthian column candlestick exists in the Manufactory's Pattern Book I (ibid., p. 191, fig. 142). In the 1771 sale, in addition to lot 61, the Corinthian capital was a notable feature of three or four pairs of ‘wreathed Corinthian columns with branches for two candles’, including lot 45 on the same day’s sale as this pair of columns. It would appear, therefore, that these columns and those sold by James Christies in 1771 are almost certainly one and the same.   

One of the two known copies of the Christie’s 1771 sale catalogue listed the buyer of these columns as Mr Duntze, who bought them below the Margin/reserve price of £10 10s for £9 £19 6s. Mr Duntze was also the purchaser of lot 75 ‘A pair of candle vases radix amethysti and or moulu on a square pedestal of a curious composition’ for £5. Duntze was probably Mr John Duntze (1735-1795), MP for Tiverton (1768-1795), created Baronet of Tiverton in 1774. John Duntze was the grandson of a German merchant from Bremen who settled near Exeter and the family had owned Rockbeare Manor from the mid-18th century. Duntze continued in his father’s mercantile footsteps as well as branching into banking whilst simultaneously serving as the local member of Parliament. Shortly after taking his seat he expanded Rockbeare by adding a dining room which featured a curved niche. The recently rediscovered curved serving-table and pair of pedestal urns en suite that were made specifically for this room bear close similarities to the dining-room suite supplied by Thomas Chippendale for Paxton House in Berwickshire, and although no documentary evidence of Chippendale having worked directly for Duntze has yet been traced, it seems likely that the Rockbeare suite was a Chippendale commission. John Duntze was clearly a man of good taste exposed to the latest fashions through his links to London and fellow MPs, as well as possibly through Saltram House, also in Devon, a documented Chippendale commission and for which works by Boulton were also acquired. It is highly likely that Duntze purchased these columns for his country seat, indeed they would have been appropriate adornment to sit atop or alongside his Chippendale furniture, in addition to the armorial service that he would go on to commission from Josiah Wedgwood in the 1780s.   

We are very grateful to Sir Nicholas Goodison for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.

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