This pair of candelabra was by repute part of a set of eight at Clumber House, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, the principal seat of the Dukes of Newcastle from circa 1770. These were apparently gifted to members of staff upon retirement after many years’ service (Partridge Fine Arts Ltd., Summer Exhibition 1983, London, pp. 68-69).
Given their late 18th century date, it seems likely they were acquired by Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln, and from 1768, 2nd Duke of Newcastle (1720-94). As a young man, Lord Lincoln, despite holding several prodigious political appointments including that of Gentleman of the Bedchamber to George II, appears to have preferred the prolific renovation of his homes and gardens, which in the early years included Exchequer House (10 Downing Street) and Oatlands House, Surrey (S. Goodman, ‘The 9th Earl of Lincoln and the refurbishment of Exchequer House’, The British Art Journal, vol. XVIII, no. 3, pp. 3-7). In 1744, he married his first cousin, Catherine Pelham (1727-60), daughter of the Rt. Hon. Henry Pelham (1694-1754), prime minister from August 1743-March 1754. After November 1768, following his inheritance of the title (and wealth) of Duke of Newcastle from his uncle Thomas Pelham-Holles (1693-1768), also prime minister from March 1754-November 1756 and July 1757-May 1762, the 2nd Duke decided to build a magnificent ancestral home at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire in circa 1770, which would surpass his London and Surrey estates. In this endeavour, he employed some of the most prominent London craftsmen, who had previously worked for him in London and Surrey, to build and furnish the mansion including Vile & Cobb, Pierre Langlois and Paul Saunders.
Their number undoubtedly included William Parker, among the most prominent manufacturer of glass chandeliers, girandoles and candelabra in the second half of the 18th century. An exceptional chandelier with arms for twenty candles and ten spires, fitted with gilt-metal enrichments, by the firm, and formerly in the collection of the 2nd Duke at Clumber, is illustrated in M. Mortimer, The English Glass Chandelier, Woodbridge, 2000, p. 102, plate 48. Furthermore, photographs of the interiors of Clumber, published by Country Life on 12 September 1908, show two further spectacular glass chandeliers in the East Corridor of the Saloon almost certainly supplied by Parker or Parker & Perry, the firm’s subsequent incarnation (‘Clumber – I. Nottinghamshire, The Seat of the Duke of Newcastle’, Country Life, 12 September 1908, p. 352, fig. 1).
The present candelabras correspond closely to neo-classical patterns that were manufactured and promoted in the 1780s by Parker, in particular in drawings or instructional diagrams for assembly that were supplied by Parker, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Mortimer, op. cit., pp. 94 - 110). The distinctive form of these candelabra with their waisted bases on ormolu ‘bun’ feet resemble a type for which Parker took out a patent in March 1781 (ibid., p. 96, plate 42, p. 97, plate 43, p. 98, plate 44).