A rare William & Mary walnut candlestand

September 18, 2019 2:38 pm Published by

The feather-banded hexagonal top decorated with oyster veneers. Standing on a walnut turned shaft on three venerred scroll legs. Excellent original colour and patination. In original condition. English, circa 1690. 3095621.

Surviving candlestands are extremely rare, especially in original condition. They were used and moved around the home a great deal, and were therefore easily damaged. This is a particularly fine example where the carpenter has taken great care in selecting the oyster veneers to produce a beautifully decorated top. Finely figured wood has also been chosen for the shaft which displays a variety of turning, and which sits well on the simple scroll legs.

Moveable stands to support a candlestick or lamp 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. The fashion for decorative candlestands spread rapidly after the Restoration, when they were often made en-suite to flank a sidetable with a mirror above. Such sets are mentioned in lists of household goods and by contemporary writers. 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”.

The ordinary form under Charles II was a plain or spiral baluster, circular or octagonal top and tripod base. Walnut and elm were commonly employed, and the most extravagant type was entirely covered with silver, such as at Knowle and Windsor Castle. Towards the end of the 17th century a greater variety of patterns were introduced, and ornamental stands of carved and gilt wood inspired by French design became fashionable. The tops became vase-shaped and the tapered standards were enriched with gadrooning and husks, the elaborate scrolling of the feet being a noticeable feature.

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This post was written by joecollinson