COMPARATIVE LITERATURE for the Royal set of four candelabra:
P. Conner ed., exhibition catalogue, The Inspiration of Egypt, Brighton, 1983, p. 45, cat. 85.
J.-M. Humbert et al., exhibition catalogue, Egyptomania, Paris, 1994, pp. 304 - 305. cat. 181.
M. Evans, exhibition catalogue, Princes and Patrons, London, 1998, p. 109, cat. 108.
J. Rutherford, The Prince's Passion. The Life of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, 2003, p. 133.
THE EGYPTIAN DINING ROOM AT GOODWOOD
This pair of candelabra and its stands, along with lot 528 in this sale, was almost certainly supplied for the Egyptian Dining Room at Goodwood House, Sussex. The Dining Room was created from 1802 - 1806 under the supervision of the architect James Wyatt as part of an extensive scheme of architectural improvements at Goodwood for Charles, 3rd Duke of Richmond. The vigorous Egyptian style of the Dining Room was clearly inspired by the Duke's purchase in 1802 of Dominique Vivant Denon's Voyage dans Egypte pendant les Campagnes de Bonaparte, which remains at the library in Goodwood. It was also doubtless designed to celebrate Nelson's successful Egyptian naval campaign against Napoleon, culminating in his victory in 1798 at the Battle of the Nile.
Although the original designs for this remarkable room have been lost, a guidebook of the house, compiled in 1822 by the house's librarian D. Jacques, related how the room had walls of scagliola 'resembling a rich polished sienna marble, with a cornice and skirting of grey and white marble'. He went on to mention 'Classical ornaments in bronze', which may have been four tabernacle-size reliefs, two on each side of the room. The chimneypiece for the room was created in white statuary marble, with 'Egyptian' bronzes cast by Vulliamy and Lewis in 1806. At one end of the room was a porphyry urn on a matching column, while there were also two demilune tables in pink and grey scagliola, which are now in the front hall at Goodwood. Joseph Alcott was paid 300 pounds in 1804 for 'scagliola work' at Goodwood.
In 1906, the Egyptian Dining Room was dismantled by the 7th Duke (legend has it because Edward VII expressed his dislike of the room to his host), although the original furniture created for the room, including a set of dining chairs with bronze crocodiles to the backs and a pair of serving tables with lion monopodia clearly inspired by Thomas Hope's designs, was retained and remains at Goodwood. Four of the 'Egyptian' candelabra are photographed in situ in the dining room at Goodwood early in the 20th century. This remarkable interior has now been recreated at Goodwood (R. Baird, 'Cobras and Crocodiles return to Goodwood', Country Life, 23 April 1998, pp. 84 - 87).
THE 3RD DUKE'S COLLECTING
The 3rd Duke was a passionate collector throughout his life, and as Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of Louis XV acquired a superb array of Sèvres porcelain, Louis XV furniture and Gobelins tapestries, much of which remains at Goodwood. It is not surprising that late in his life he responded so vigorously to the Egyptian style. His father the 2nd Duke was a founder of the Egyptian Society at the British Museum and had one of the earliest Egyptian mummies to appear in an English collection. The Duke's interest in Egyptian artifacts is also exemplifed by the ancient mummy-case from his gallery at Whitehall and later in the collection of architect Sir John Soane (illustrated in P.Thornton and H. Dorey, A Miscellany of Objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 1992, p. 65, fig. 62). It is also interesting to note that for a short time, following the destruction of his London residence Richmond House by fire in 1791, he rented Lansdowne House, which had an 'Egyptian' library created by George Dance to house Lord Lansdowne's celebrated collection of ancient sculpture.
Christie's would like to thank Rosemary Baird, curator of the Goodwood Collection, for her invaluable help in preparing this catalogue entry.