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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1778-ca.1779 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Derby Porcelain factory (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 10, shelf 5

Physical description

Candle stick in the form of a sphinx, enamelled and gilt soft-paste porcelain. One of a pair with C.30A-1975. The sphinx sits on an oblong plinth, bearing a candleholder on its head, with its wings folded behind it and a fringed shawl across its breasts. The head is naturalistically painted in iron-red, blue, brown and crimson. The rest of the body is left white with gilding. The plinth and holder are decorated in turquoise and gilt. The base of the plinth is moulded with a key-fret border, reserved in white against turquoise ground and emphasised with soft grey blue.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca.1778-ca.1779 (made)


Derby Porcelain factory (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded


Height: 27 cm

Object history note

Sphinxes were a popular subject in the eighteenth century, for both neo-classical and Egyptian decoration. Both had lions' bodies. Greek and Roman sphinxes had female heads and were sometimes winged, like this example, while Egyptian sphinxes had a man's or an animal's head. After chambers

Descriptive line

Candlestick, porcelain, decorated in enamels and gilt, decorated with winged sphinxes, Derby Porcelain Factory, England, about 1778-9

Production Note

These candlesticks were first issued at Derby ca. 1773, when they were described in factory lists as 'No 95 Candlestick', and then reissued in 1778 as No. 223. Examples were described in the Christie's sale of Chelsea-Derby porcelain on 18 February 1778 ('A sphinx chandileer, fine blue and gold, richly finished', which realized £1 18s hammer price) and on 5 May 1779 ('One sphinx chandileer, fine blue and gold', which realized £2 11s).



Subjects depicted

Mythological beasts; Sphinxes; Wings; Mythology; Classicism


Ceramics; Porcelain; Lighting


Ceramics Collection

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