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Candlestick

Candlestick

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1829 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dudley, Thomas (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper alloy, cast, chased, silvered and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Geoffrey and Terry Jenkinson in memory of Claude Blair, Keeper of Metalwork at the V&A, 1972-1982

  • Museum number:

    M.24-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 67, The Whiteley Galleries, case 3, shelf 2

This Rococo Revival candlestick by Thomas Dudley of King Street, Soho, was published under the terms of Garrard's Copyright Act, 1798 which provided protection for a medium other than print. The design was probably used to make moulds for casting silver candlesticks in this fashionable style. Dudley traded as a blacksmith, bell hanger and metal ornaments manufacturer from 1813 to 1829.

Physical description

The candlestick has a circular, domed base richly encrusted with shells, scrolls and foliage. The baluster stem is similarly decorated and supports an encrusted vase-shaped nozzle and decorated drip-pan. The stem has a threaded screw fixed to the base by a square nut. The socket is friction-fitted to the stem.

XRF Analysis carried out by the Museum in August 2010 focussed on the centre of the base and two worn areas on the stem. The base was golden in colour, while on parts of the stem the golden colour had disappeared and a silvery surface was visible instead. Copper and zinc proved to be the main elements, suggesting a bulk made of brass. Gold and silver were also seen, but their relative quantity in the spectra does not relate to the visual appearance of the spots analysed, i.e. to the more silvery spots does NOT correspond a higher percentage of silver and a lower one of gold. The naked eye examination of the object suggests that the brass candlestick was first silvered and then gilt.

Analysis of the gilding did not reveal any mercury suggesting the candlestick may have been electo-gilt later in its life.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1829 (made)

Artist/maker

Dudley, Thomas (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Copper alloy, cast, chased, silvered and gilt

Marks and inscriptions

'Thos Dudley Pubd.as the Act directs Septr 29 7 & 23 King St. Soho. London'
The inscription on the underside of the base refers to Garrard's Act of 1798 which sought to give protection to the art of sculpture. An artist could claim copyright provided he had his name put on the object with the date of publication before offering it for sale. Traces of the same inscription can be found on the underside of the drip pan.

Dimensions

Height: 28.5 cm, Width: 16.1 cm base

Object history note

The vendor bought the candlestick at auction in New Jersey in 2010. It may have been intended as a model for export given the full address given in the inscription '7 & 23 King Street, Soho, London'. It was probably intended for use in producing moulds for silver candlesticks and possibly for export to North America. This model candlestick may originally have been silvered and later gilded for marketing purposes.

Historical significance: This is an interesting example of the use of copyright under the terms of the 1798 Act brought forward by the sculptor George Garrard (1760-1826). This was the first occasion on which British copyright law provided protection for a medium other than print. The legislation conferred exclusive rights lasting 14 years on persons who created new models or casts of human or animal figures. The Act paved the way for the emergence of the modern image of copyright as concerned with the promotion of 'art and literature'.
An artist could claim copyright provided he had his name put on the object with the date of publication before offering it for sale. The inscription with its clear geographical location 'Soho, London' provides a clear distinction from Matthew Boulton's manufactory at Soho, Birmingham.

Historical context note

Thomas Dudley is listed in the London directories from 1813 to 1816 as Dudley and Son, Furnishing Ironmongers, 34 King Street, Soho. In Underhill's Biennial Directory, 1816, he appears as a bell hanger and metal ornament manufacturer in the category 'Iron, Brass, Copper and Metal Trades, Class 3'. By 1822 Robson's Commercial Directory lists him under 'Bronze and Ormolu Works'. at 36 King Street, Soho. In that year Pigot & Co's Directory lists Dudley under 'Bronzists'. By 1827 he is also listed as at 5 William Street, Regent's Park and Duck Lane, Soho as a patent horse-shoe and forge maker. He is still listed in 1828-9 as a bronzist and ormolu manufacturere at 36 King Street, Soho.

Thomas Dudley features in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey on 12th January 1822 as a witness to the theft of a coat, gloves and handkerchief in King Street, Soho. He advertized in The Morning Post 9 May 1821 'illustrations of Mr. Goodwin's System of Shoeing Horses' as a Bronze Manufacturer, at 36 King Street, Soho and claimed the patronage of 'His Royal Highness Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg, the Nobility, Gentry and many of the most eminent Architects and Builders for his newly invented system of Bell-hanging' describing himself as a 'Bronze Metal Ornament Manufacturer' at the same address.

Descriptive line

A cast copper-alloy Rococo-revival candlestick signed Thomas Dudley, King Street, Soho published under the terms of Garrard's Act of 1798 in September 1829

Labels and date

Whiteley Silver Galleries, V&A

CANDLESTICK
Gilt brass
London, 1829
Inscribed 'Thos Dudley Pubd. as the Act directs Septr. 29 7 & 23 King St. Soho. London'

This Rococo Revival candlestick by Thomas Dudley, a metal ornaments manufacturer in King Street, Soho, was published under the terms of Garrard's Copyright Act, 1798 which provided protection for a medium other than print. The design was probably used to make moulds for casting silver candlesticks in this fashionable style.

Presented by Geoffrey and Terry Jenkinson in memory of Claude Blair (1922-2010), Keeper of Metalwork 1972-1982
M.24-2010 [22/07/2010]

Production Note

Dated September 1829

Attribution note: The candlestick was Thomas Dudley's copyright under the terms of Garrard's Act of 1798.

Materials

Copper alloy; Gold

Techniques

Casting; Gilding

Categories

Metalwork; Lighting; Household objects

Production Type

Model

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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