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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1806-1807 (marked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Scott, Digby (maker)
    Smith, Benjamin, born 1775 - died 1833 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt, chased

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.777:1 to 17-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 71, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 5 []

The European mania for Egyptian motifs was influenced by Napoleon's campaign in North Africa in 1798. Though the branches of this candelabrum were probably designed by Jean-Jacques Boileau, the base was inspired by an engraving by the 18th-century Italian artist Piranesi.

By the early 19th century, the immense wealth of Britain's richest citizens enabled them to patronise the luxury trades of coach-builders, cabinet-makers and silversmiths. The Prince Regent (Later George IV) and his aristocratic contemporaries set the style of what became known as the Regency period. They were indebted to the most prestigious firm of London goldsmiths of the age, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. The company supplied silver at the forefront of fashion. Their large design studio included important artists such as John Flaxman and Jean-Jacques Boileau.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

The four-light candelabra each stand on a triangular base with incurved sides and canted angles and rest on three paw-and-wing feet supporting three couchant sphinxes at the angles. The sphinxes in turn support a platform of similar section to the base, chased with a band of palmettes and a band of large beads and foliage around the raised centre. The stem is modelled as three addorsed female figures in Egyptian headdress enclosed within a tapering cylindrical column that is chased on the upper part with a band of ostrich feathers. These scrolling foliage branches, each of which incorporates a lion mask and terminates in a stylised dolphin, spring from a large circular knop chased with acanthus and a band of egg-and-dart ornament; the central light is supported by a similar knop chased with palmettes. Each socket is of flattened circular form, fluted on the underside and containing a detachable nozzle. A coat of arms is applied three times to the platform beneath the stem, and a crest is applied to the three sides of the base.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1806-1807 (marked)


Scott, Digby (maker)
Smith, Benjamin, born 1775 - died 1833 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt, chased

Marks and inscriptions

Applied with arms of William Henry Vane, 3rd Earl of Darlington (1766-1842).

London hallmarks for 1806-7

Mark of Benjamin Smith II and Digby Scott

duty stamp

sterling standard


Height: 87.5 cm, Width: 48.5 cm, Depth: 48.5 cm, Weight: 13200 g

Object history note

Provenance: William Henry Vane, third Earl of Darlington and fourth duke of Cleveland. By descent to Baron Barnard, Raby Castle, sale, Christie's, July 15, 1975, lot 141. Purchased from S.J.Shrubsole Corporation, New York, 1975.

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt candelabrum, London hallmarks for 1806-7, mark of Benjamin Smith and Digby Scott

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

Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 94, pp. 354-57. ISBN.0875871445
Jones, William Ezelle, Monumental Silver: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977




Gilding; Chasing

Subjects depicted

Acanthus; Foliage; Dolphin (animal); Egg and dart; Paw feet; Egyptian; Sphinx; Wings; Beads; Ostrich feathers; Palmettes; Lion masks; Female figure


Lighting; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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