19th century (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by David Fitzroy
- Museum number:
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This bronze figurine is a candlestick in the form of a 19th century clown holding two vases which are the candle or taper holders. It was presented to the clown, Charlie Keith (1835-1895), and probably represents Keith himself, showing his wig modelled in the traditional clown's 'three-bobble' coiffure.
Charlie Keith was a Londoner who began his career as a tumbler at the Whitehall Music Hall and later at the Bower Saloon as a sprite. In the 1850s Keith toured as an acrobat and by 1861 advertised himself as 'Charley Keith, the Favourite Clown, Tumbler, Chair and Original Performer'. In May 1868, he opened his own circus at Exeter, a portable wooden building which he called Grand Cirque Imperial, featuring his own troupe of riders, jugglers and gymnasts. In 1882 Keith submitted a patent for a travelling circus building, and during his lifetime he travelled the world as a circus proprietor and clown, erected as many as 65 circus buildings, and performed before royalty. He died in Bury and was buried in Southport.
Metal figurine of a 19th century clown on a flat base, incised to appear as if the boards of a stage. The clown has a traditional 'three-bobble' coiffure, and wears the ruffled collar and 'dagged' tunic of a court jester, with knee-length breeches and flat pumps decorated with rosettes. On each of his upturned palms he holds a vase, intended as a pair of candle holders.
19th century (made)
Materials and Techniques
Depth: 9.5 cm of the base, Width: 9.5 cm of base, Height: 14 cm from top of central bobble of his coiffure to the boards of the stage on which he stands, Width: 10.8 cm from side to side of tops of the taper holders
Object history note
This figurine apopears to have been modelled after the Victorian clown, Charlie Keith (1836-1895), to whom it was presented
Bronze candle or taper holder modelled after the Victorian clown Charlie Keith (1836-1985), 19th century.
Keith, Charles Henry
Metalwork; Entertainment & Leisure