The coat-of-arms featured on this lot corresponds to those of the Sneyd and Bagot families, as borne by Ralph Sneyd of Keele Hall, Staffordshire, who succeeded his father in 1733. In 1749, Sneyd married Barbara, daughter of Sir Walter Wagstaffe Bagot, 5th Bt. of Blithefield and Lady Barbara Legge. The marriage of the two families almost certainly relates to the commission of this pair of candelabra, suggesting the arms are contemporary to the lot's manufacture.
The coat-of-arms of the Sneyd family is distinguished by its scythe, which serves as a pun on the family name; the term ‘sneyd’ is a variant of the word for the tool’s handle. The fleur-de-lys was added to the family’s coat of arms in the fourteenth century following their role in the victory over the French at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.
Ralph Sneyd was a prolific collector and is noted for the considerable quantities of silver he commissioned from leading London silversmiths of the time, including Paul de Lamerie. A George II silver salver bearing the present coat of arms sold ‘Old English and Foreign Silver and Silver-Gilt Plate being a portion of the Sneyd Heirlooms, Removed from Keele Hall,’ Christie's, London, June 24, 1924, lot 66.
The Sneyd family can be traced back to the 13th century in Cheshire as a branch of the powerful Audley family. The Keele estate was originally purchased by William Sneyd in 1544 and it remained in the family for over 400 years (J.M. Kolbert, The Sneyds & Keele Hall, 1967).