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Altar candlestick
  • Altar candlestick
    Brooks, James, born 1825 - died 1901
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Altar candlestick

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1888 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brooks, James, born 1825 - died 1901 (designer)
    Cox and Son (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Lent by St. Margaret's church, Lee, Lewisham

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:ST MARG LEE.2:1

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 4B []

This candlestick was made for the Lady Chapel of St Margaret, Lee, which was reconstructed by the architect James Brooks in 1888. It was probably designed by Brooks, since it is typical of his church metalwork in its use of copper gilt and colourful inset stones. The manufacturer was Cox, Sons, Buckley & Co, a London firm in business under this name from 1880 until it went into receivership in 1893.

In the 19th century, ornaments placed on the altar, such as this candlestick, were the subject of dispute in the Anglican church. After the Reformation altars in Protestant churches had minimal adornment, but by the 1860s some authorities were recommending more ceremony and ritual. This required altar furnishings such as candlesticks, crosses, flowers and books as was common in Roman Catholic worship.

Copper gilt and brass were cheaper than silver. They were popular in church furnishings from the 1860s to the 1880s, and designs by Brooks were particularly influential. His work was less ornate than those of other Gothic Revival architects such as A.W.N. Pugin or William Burges, and less concerned with reproducing authentically medieval detail. By the early 20th century, designs similar to those of James Brooks were offered by a number of firms including the Artificer’s Guild.

Physical description

Drip pan with crenelated, serrated edge and pierced decoration, the nozzle also pierced. Circular stem annulated with mouldings, chased fillets and a wavy pattern. Compressed knot encircled by beaded moulding. Stepped moulding above the shaped conical foot, annulated with shallow mouldings and pierced with quatrefoils and at the base with a band of small circular openings.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1888 (made)

Artist/maker

Brooks, James, born 1825 - died 1901 (designer)
Cox and Son (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Copper gilt

Marks and inscriptions

Stamped on base " COX BUCKLEY LONDON"

Dimensions

Height: 28 cm, Diameter: 12.7 cm

Historical context note

The Gothic Revival
In the Victorian period a dramatic and profound change took place in religious life. Centred on a renewed interest in the Middle Ages, it affected the appearance of churches and how services were conducted. The influential architect A.W.N. Pugin promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. Although Pugin was Catholic, his theory appealed to Anglicans of the Oxford Movement - radicals who hoped to restore pre-Reformation services to the Church of England.

The Cambridge Camden Society, founded in 1839, studied the past to identify the medieval architecture and furnishings that would be appropriate for the revived services. The society became an arbiter of style, offering an Anglicised version of the Gothic. By the 1870s some of the equipment normally found in Catholic worship, such as the ciborium, was appearing in Anglican churches.

It was not universally welcomed. Some observers found the incense, the altar cross and the emphasis on ritual scandalously 'Popish' or 'high church'.

The Gothic Revival in Europe
The Gothic revival in Europe owed more to nationalism than religious zeal. The completion of Cologne's medieval cathedral was an affirmation of German culture. In the Habsburg empire, Czechs and Hungarians similarly expressed national pride through Gothic architecture.

Champions of the Gothic claimed by the 1850s that the style was triumphant in Europe. But classical architecture remained a serious rival, even in church building. Much of the most important Gothic work was in church restoration. In Germany and France, goldsmiths like Franz Xaver Hellner supplied Gothic church furnishings.

Descriptive line

Altar Candlestick, copper gilt, London, about 1888, mark of Cox, Sons, Buckley and Co, probably designed by James Brooks

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victorian Church Art. London, H.M.S.O, 1971

Labels and date

Altar Candlestick

This candlestick was made for the Lady Chapel of St Margaret, Lee, which was reconstructed by the architect James Brooks in 1888. It was probably designed by Brooks, since it is typical of his church metalwork in its use of copper gilt and colourful inset stones. The manufacturer was Cox, Sons, Buckley & Co, a London firm in business under this name from 1880 until it went into receivership in 1893.

In the 19th century, ornaments placed on the altar, such as this candlestick, were the subject of dispute in the Anglican church. After the Reformation altars in Protestant churches had minimal adornment, but by the 1860s some authorities were recommending more ceremony and ritual. This required altar furnishings such as candlesticks, crosses, flowers and books as was common in Roman Catholic worship.

Copper gilt and brass were cheaper than silver. They were popular in church furnishings from the 1860s to the 1880s, and designs by Brooks were particularly influential. His work was less ornate than those of other Gothic Revival architects such as A.W.N. Pugin or William Burges, and less concerned with reproducing authentically medieval detail. By the early 20th century, designs similar to those of James Brooks were offered by a number of firms including the Artificer's Guild.

England, about 1888; possibly designed
by James Brooks (1825-1901)
Copper gilt
Lent by St Margaret, Lee, Lewisham [22/11/2005]

Materials

Copper gilt

Categories

Metalwork; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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