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On stepped square bases with incurved corners, the circular wells rising to conforming square baluster stems and urn form sockets, the wells engraved with the Royal arms, five fully marked on undersides, one apparently unmarked, undersides with scratch weights and numbered X52-57
8 7/8 in. (22.7 cm.); 164 oz. 6 dwt. (5,110 gr.)
Almost certainly six from a set of ‘3 dozen chamber candlesticks of square shape’ from the Royal and Electoral Court of Hanover of King George I.
By descent in the Royal family of Great Britain and Hanover until the death of King William IV in 1837, at which time the two kingdoms became separate under different monarchs.
Ernest Augustus, 1st Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover (r.1837-1851), fifth son of King George III of Great Britain and brother of King William IV.
By descent to his grandson the Duke of Brunswick (1845-1923).
Sold privately to the Vienna dealers Gluckselig, 1924.
Acquired by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller from Frank Partridge, London, June 1924.
By descent to David Rockefeller, 1960.
The Inventory of Silver of the Royal and Electoral Court, Hanover, 1747, British Library Mss. ADD. 42227, p.79, section 10 as ‘3 Dozen chamber candlesticks of square shape 126 lbs [sic] 2 loth'.
Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller Inventory, p. 47, no. 1.
D. Fennimore et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Decorative Arts, New York, 1992, vol. IV, p. 390, no. 435 (illustrated).
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Lot Essay

At the time of the partial distribution of my parents' 740 Park Avenue possessions in 1960, Peggy and I asked Edward Munves, Sr., to look at the antique silver. He indicated that this set of six George I candlesticks were by far the most important pieces available. Accordingly, we placed them very high on our list and were fortunate to acquire them. We have used them frequently at dinner at 65th Street ever since. - David Rockefeller. (D. Fennimore et al., p. 390).


While it is exceedingly rare to have such a complete and accurate early record of any collection of silver, let alone a Royal collection, we are lucky to have such a listing for the Royal Plate of Hanover. The document, known as the Inventory of Silver of the Royal and Electoral Court, Hanover, 1747 (British Library Mss. ADD. 42227), offers a 'Complete inventory of the court silver comprising all his Royal Majesty our most gracious Lords utensils of Gold and Silver, at present in the Royal and Electoral Silver-Chamber at Hanover From the Inventory of 1728, the Additional Inventory of 1730 and the Inventory of the year 1739, Brought together and made up with the additions and alterations to Midsummer 1747, by the Grand Court Commissary Fredrick August Bartels, Hanover and was compiled in German by the Grand Court Commissary Frederick August Bartels and signed by him, along with Christian Schultz and John Henry Mecklenburg, the Silver Keepers. The document was later translated to English.

In addition to descriptions of the various services and individual items of plate from the Hanoverian court, the inventory also notes weights, recorded in the German measure for precious metals, namely the pound, mark and loth. As the pound weight given does not correspond the weight of those extant items, it would appear as though the German word for “mark” had been mistranslated into “pound.” The vast quantity of plate documented in the inventory provides a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the Hanoverian court with, for example, at least five distinct silver services, each heavier and more extensive than the previous, with a combined weight of 86,000 troy ounces.

As befitting such an important Royal court, the collection also included an array of silver furniture. The inventory lists nine various tables weighing 5,200 troy ounces and eight mirrors weighing over 3,500 troy ounces as well as chairs, guéridons and andirons. Additionally, lighting featured heavily in the collection, and included five magnificent silver chandeliers, made to the designs of William Kent by Balthasar Friedrich Behrens in 1737 (see Christie’s, London, 7 July 2011, lot 52 for one).

Although the exact number of candlesticks in the collection is unknown, it is thought that approximately 300 were likely in use at the Royal court at any one time. Another set of six candlesticks matching the present examples were sold by order of the executors of the late Lady Trent at Christie’s, London, 23 June 1976, lot 107.


The threat of looting by Napoleon motivated King George III to transfer much of the Royal Plate of Hanover to London. Sent by way of St Petersburg, much of the silver and silver-gilt was eventually put on display in Windsor Castle. The Kent-designed chandeliers, for example, were painted in situ in the Queen's Drawing Room and the Ballroom by C. Wild and published by William Henry Pyne (1769-1843) in his three volume work The History of the Royal Residences, first printed in 1819. The Hanoverian plate together with the British Royal silver was the centerpiece of 'Their Majestie's Grand Fête at Windsor Castle', as described in The Gentleman's Magazine for 1805:

'This evening their Majesties gave a most magnificent entertainment at Windsor Castle. It has been in contemplation since they first went to reside in the Castle: when his Majesty was determined to have what is generally termed among good old English customs, a house warming; and, to give it in the grandeur of a King, we assert that the expenditure cannot have cost less than 50,000l. It may truly be said that it was his Majesties fête; for, everything was done by the direction, and under the superintendance [sic], of his Majesty.'

The assembled guests admired the new works and the wealth of riches brought from Hanover. Much comment was made of silver on show throughout the castle. "The whole service of plate displayed this night was supposed to be the most magnificent in Europe. Messrs Hancock and Shepherd have been employed for a considerable time past hanging the silver chandeliers from Hanover.”

The silver returned to Hanover once the threat posed by Napoleon's forces had passed.

Upon the 1836 death of King William IV, the thrones of Great Britain and Hanover were separated after almost 123 years. Under the German Salic law of succession the throne of Hanover could only be held by a male monarch. Therefore Queen Victoria, the daughter of King William IV's brother, the Duke of Kent, was barred from the throne of Hanover. The throne went instead to her eldest surviving uncle Prince Ernst Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover (r.1837-1851). His son King George V of Hanover (r.1851-1866, d.1878) succeeded him but was deposed during the Seven Weeks War in 1866.

Although Hanover was sacked by Prussian troops the Royal plate was preserved in a concealed vault camouflaged by heaps of lime rubble. The King and his family fled to Austria. King George V's son revived the title of Duke of Cumberland and, deprived of the throne of Hanover, lived in exile at Gmunden in Austria, where he built a country house. Towards the end of his life he was in the process of negotiating the sale of much of the Royal Hanoverian silver. A report in The Times on 21 June 1923 entitled 'The Cumberland Silver' comments that

'Nothing has been settled about the Cumberland silver. The Duke has apparently asked for tenders, and several groups of dealers are negotiating on the subject, each of them as quietly as possible, for even part of the collection would be regarded as a great prize’.

The Duke died on 14 November 1923 and at some point the next year a considerable part of the Hanover silver, both German and English and presumably including the present candlesticks, was purchased by the Viennese dealer Gluckselig and it appears to have been, at least in part, resold to London dealers Crichton Brothers, who opened an exhibition of The Cumberland Silver in November of that year.


Although presumably of Scandinavian origin and thus not a Huguenot, Clausen was a master of the Huguenot style. In 1709 he was initially made free of the Haberdashers’ Company by redemption and entered his first mark as a Goldsmith the same year. While Clausen’s work is scarce, that which is extant is of the highest quality and executed in the latest fashion. In addition to the present candlesticks, Clausen was responsible for a number of other royal commissions, among them a set of twelve cups and covers of 1719, sold as part of the Cumberland plate by Crichton. A pair of these cups are now in the collection of the British Museum (1969,0705.1.b), the Queen's personal collection. Further royal commissions include a set of eight fine gilt trencher salts dated 1718, formerly in the Collection of J.P. Morgan and sold from the Estate of Mrs. Catherine A. Morgan in these rooms 18 April 1989, lot 573; and a pair of 1721 gilt double salt cellars at Windsor Castle. Although traditionally believed to have been of German ancestry, Grimwade records that he appears as "Nicholaus Clausen Parish of St. Martin in the fields" in the Naturalization Act of 1709, with witnesses Gotfried Wittich and Sven Holst, suggesting a Swedish origin (The London Goldsmiths 1697-1837, 3rd. ed., 1990, p.466). His last and most impressive work is the Imperial Throne of 1731 in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

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