A rare, late-17th century, burr-walnut candlestand

September 18, 2019 2:38 pm Published by

The hexagonal top, with a repair, and faced with a moulded edge. The solid stem with baluster and ball-and-fillet turnings above an octagonal column decorated with burr veneers. Standing on scroll legs with repairs to lost veneers. The finial replaced Excellent configuration, colour and patina. Last quarter of the 17th century. 71291183

The carpenter has used an octagonal column to emphasise the quality of the veneers. The combination of baluster, ball and reel turnings above the column displays the skill of the turner, and creates fluidity, variety of form and emphasises the quality of the solid walnut. These turnings hold and balance the form of the hexagonal top which retains its original screw mechanism. It is interesting to note the economy in not using burr veneers on the flat surface of the top as they would not have been seen when it was supporting a candlestick. The sweeping, scroll feet balance the proportion and fluidity of the candlestand, and give it great presence. Due to their delicate form and utalitarian nature, surviving 17th century candlestands are rare, particularly in this condition.

Moveable stands to support a candlestick were intended to supplement the fixed lighting arrangements of rooms. The evidence of inventories suggests that they did not become common in France until about 1650 when they accompanied fine tables and cabinets. Such stands, being sometimes in the form of gueridons. The Academy of Armory, published in 1688, defines a candle-stand as a “little round table, set upon one pillar or poste which in the foote branches itselfe out into three or four feete or toes … for its fast and steddy standing”.

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This post was written by joecollinson