THE EARLS OF CRAWFORD
The arms are those of Crawford quartering Abernethy, Barclay and Lindsay. The quartering of the arms in this order is unusual, as is the argent tincturing beneath the fess in the 1st quarter and above the fess in the 4th quarter. It is most likely that the arms relate to the Earls of Crawford sometime before 1808, most probably George, 22nd Earl of Crawford (1758 - 1808), who had succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1781. The 22nd Earl was a great-great grandson of Patrick Lindsay (d. 1680) younger brother of William Lindsay, 18th Earl of Crawford (d. 1698). Patrick married Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Crawford of Kilbirnie, Ayreshire, in 1664. He assumed the arms and name of his father-in-law. This accounts for the arms of Crawford in the 1st quarter. The quartering of Abernethy relates to the marriage of Sir David de Lindsay, Lord of Crawford, to Maria, daughter and co-heir of Sir Alexander Abernethy in 1325. The quartering of Barclay notes the marriage of Malcolm Crawford of Garnock during the reign of King James III of Scotland (1460 - 1488) to Marjory, daughter and sole heir of John Barclay, Baron of Kilbirnie.
The stand of this table is virtually identical to a six-light centerpiece signed Rundell, Bridge and Rundell (please also see lots 526 - 528 in this sale for further Egyptian-inspired candelabra by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell) offered anonymously at Christie's, New York, 12 October 1996, lot 128, that retained its candlebranches. The base with its sphinx supports and paw feet is further identical to a pair of silver candelabra by Benjamin Smith, who also executed works for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, that is dated 1812 - 13 (R. Berkowitz, Benjamin Smith Sr., Regency Silversmith, Dissertation, Ann Arbor, 1999, pp. 69 - 71 and 220, fig. 7).
Although no finished drawing for the centerpiece has come to light, its design compares to an album of drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum which has been attributed to Edward Hodges Baily, who worked for the sculptor John Flaxman from 1807 and joined the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell and Bridge in 1814, eventually succeeding Flaxman as chief modeller in 1826 (C. Oman, 'A Problem of Artistic Responsibility', Apollo, March 1966). It is likely that the original model was executed by Thomas Stothard, who also worked for the firm, producing 'many magnificent designs for chased plate for the sovereign and chief nobility'. A related centerpiece attributed to Baily and Stothard in silver-gilt was sold in these Rooms from a California Charitable Institution, 11 April 1995, lot 239. The design of the winged sphinxes is derived from a portfolio of drawings by Jean-Jacques Boileau who was associated with Rundell's around 1803, and from which many of the firm's designs were based (T.B. Schroder, The Gilbert Collection of Gold and Silver, 1988, pp. 337 - 341, no. 89 - 90).
The marble top of this guéridon is related to works by Francesco Sibilio, such as the signed top sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 15 December 1994, lot 244, and again 11 May 2000, lot 267. Dated 1823, that top includes a very similar array of stones and glass in a radiating pattern. A further similar top attributed to Sibilio is in the Gilbert Collection and illustrated in A.M. Massinelli, The Gilbert Collection, Hardstones, London, 2000, p. 88, cat. 24. Francesco Sibilio is known to have manufactured a number of such circular tables (signed examples are known from 1823 to 1833), often including antique Roman glass inlaid among the stones. He was highly regarded as one of the most pre-eminent experts in the field of semi-precious and hardstones during his period and still today many particuarly unusual marbles are named after him.