- Place of origin:
Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)
- Materials and Techniques:
Silver, cast and chased
- Credit Line:
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the Whiteley family and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
One of a set of four George II silver candlesticks made for Peter and Clara Le Heup and incorporating the bee hive and bees which feature on the Le Heup coat of arms, supplied by Paul de Lamerie, London 1744-5.
De Lamerie would have known Meissonnier's designs which were published as 'Livre de Chandeliers de Sculpture en Argent' in 1728, but the London goldsmith may also have been inspired by contemporary ormolu candlesticks cast in the style of Meissonnier.
A silver candlestick (one of a set of four) on a baluster stem cast with scrollwork enclosing three leaf vignettes, a bee at the entrance to the hive, a bee on a flower-spray and a dragonfly on the head of a flower, the domed bases with swirling scrollwork rims with shells at intervals, the shells headed by sprays of flowers, one enclosing a beehive, one applied with a bee above a flower spray, one with a butterfly on a flower, the bases with two versions of lowers, guilloche innger borders, the campana sconces decorated with rococo shells, the detachable nozzles with matching rims of scrolls issuing flowers, leaves and shells, marked on outside rims of bases. The swirling Rococo form is based on designs by Meissonnier, with a soft triangular foot with cast and chased flowers, insects and swirls.
Place of Origin
Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)
Materials and Techniques
Silver, cast and chased
Marks and inscriptions
London hallmarks for 1744-45
Mark of Paul de Lamerie
Scratch weight inscribed on the base 2 25 = 2
Weight: 27.3 oz candlestick and drip tray, Height: 23.5 cm
Object history note
This set of four candlesticks was designed for the Le Heup family and probably commissioned by Peter and Clara Le Heup who lived in fashionable Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London. Peter Le Heup was a banker and his wife was the daughter of William Lowndes, Secretary of State to William III.
The design incorporates the bees and skeps (bee hives) which feature in the Le Heup family coat of arms 'gules three beehives between eleven bees volant or'. Portraits of Peter and Clara Le Heup demonstrate their taste for silver and jewellery. Painted by John Giles Eckhardt in 1747, the portraits are now in the collection of the French Hospital, Rochester Kent). Peter Le Heup is shown with a silver standish (inkstand); Clara is wearing an elaborate pearl stomacher. The couple were married in 1722. The Le Heup family had close associations with the Huguenot community; Thomas Le Heup was one of the original directors of the French Hospital, a Huguenot charity incorporated by Royal Charter in 1718. This, situated in Bath Street, Clerkenwell, provided shelter and care for the sick and elderly. Paul de Lamerie sponsored one of his fellow goldsmiths for admission in 1737.
Historical significance: These candlesticks are a rare example of a common domestic accessory made to order for a client incorporating decorative motifs of personal significance. Although they do not have many of the distinctive design features used by Paul de Lamerie's leading craftsman who worked in the fashionable Rococo style - he was known as the Maynard Master - they show the dynamic twisting volumes and the integration of abstract and naturalistic motifs that he had introduced. Other modellers in de Lamerie’s shop quickly adopted the vocabulary of the Maynard Master.
The design of these candlesticks is inspired by the work of Juste Aurele Meissonnier, Dessinateur du Cabinet du roi, as published by Huquier in Livre de Chandeliers de Sculpture en Argent, 1728, figures 73 to 75. Meissonier showed all three sides of the design making the goldsmith's task more straightforward. A pair of candelabra made in France to Meissonnier's design were in the English collection of the Duke of Kingston by the late 1730s. A pair of ormolu candlesticks at Woburn Abbey inspired by Meissonnier's designs date from the 1740s and a carved wooden model of the same design, perhaps used as a tool for casting, is in a private English collection. De Lamerie copied this design in 1742-1743 - a pair of candelabra are now in the Untermeyer Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The design was also copied by the London goldsmith Thomas Gilpin 1744-1746.
For other silver made for the Le Heup family see the salvers sold Sotheby's, London 18 January 1962, lot 52, bought by silver dealer, Hugh Jessop of Motcomb Street. Sold Sotehby's 18 May 1967, lot 61, to 'Mrs Connell,' a fictitious name used for that sale by a private collector, the late Michael Parkington. Sold again Sotheby's 22 November 1984, lot 76; remained unsold, engraving was thought to be fake; re-offered Sotheby's 23 May 1985, lot 104; purchased by C.J. Vander for £12.500. (information kindly shared by John Culme June 2017).
Historical context note
Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) was the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century. A Huguenot (French Protestant), he came to London with his parents, fleeing persecution in France. His success lay in his own exceptional creativity in producing stunning objects, but also in his ability as a businessman, retailing some astonishingly spectacular silver using the most effective and innovative suppliers in the trade.
These candlesticks are associated with de Lamerie’s most brilliant craftsman, whose identity is still a mystery, who worked from 1732 to 1744. He is known as the Maynard Master, named after the dish made for Grey, 5th Baron Maynard now in the Cahn family collection.
Candlestick, silver, London hallmarks for 1744-45, mark of Paul de Lamerie.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Michael Snodin, Rococo: Art and Design in Hogarth's England, Victoria and Albert Museum.1984, A 18, p.23; G.13&14, p.112; Tessa Murdoch, ‘Silver at the French Hospital’, Silver Studies, The Journal of the Silver Society, no.25, 2009, pp.63-73, illustrated p.67.
Murdoch, Tessa, Silver at the French Hospital, Silver Studies, Proceedings of the Silver Society, number 25, 2009, pp.63-73
Labels and date
Candlesticks, set of four
London, England 1744-5
Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751)
The bee-hives on the stem of these candlesticks are featured on the coat of arms of the London-based Huguenot Le Heup family. This set belonged to the banker Peter Le Heup and his wife Clara of Albermarle Street. Contemporary portraits show their interest in silver and jewellery.
These candlesticks do not have many of the distinctive design features used by the Maynard Master, but they show the dynamic twisting volumes and the integration of abstract and naturalistic motifs that he had introduced. Other modellers in de Lamerie’s shop quickly adopted the vocabulary of the Maynard Master.
LOAN:MET ANON.1:13/1-4-1996 
Vignettes; Floral patterns; Shells; Leaves; Bees (insects); Beehives; Scroll-work; Dragonfly