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Moor Park Candlestand

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1765 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Adam, Robert, born 1728 - died 1792 (designer)
    Norman, Samuel (maker)
    Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted and gilded pinewood

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 6

Object Type
Elaborately carved pedestals were usually used as ornamental supports for candelabra. They were placed against a wall, often on either side of a mirror to reflect the light and so illuminate the room more effectively. When lighting was not required, an ornamental urn or vase of flowers might have been placed on the pedestal.

The pedestal may have been supplied by Thomas Chippendale, one of the most fashionable cabinet-makers of the day, or by Samuel Norman, a leading carver and gilder who is known to have worked between 1747 and 1767. Sir Lawrence Dundas, for whom it was designed, made a fortune of £600,000 as the main supplier to the British army during the Seven Years War of 1757-1763.

In making his pedestals appear somewhat massive, Robert Adam was influenced by William Kent, the leading designer of the Palladian style that had been fashionable in the early 18th century. From the late 1760s he adopted more slender designs, which posterity has since regarded as the 'Adam' style.

Physical description

Rectangular pedestal, with tapering shaft and gilt carving on an off white ground. Working downwards, the uppermost moulding of the projecting cornice is a floral ogival frieze, surmounting a plain fascia and acanthus friezed torus, immiediately below it. Beneath the cornice is a vitruvian scroll frieze, which surmounts a foliate patera above a laurel swag on the front and sides, and forms the capital. Beneath is a shaft with sunken panels, on the front and sides, decorated with interlacing laurel leaves and berries, surmounted by an anthemion. These terminate in two mouldings, one an acanthus frieze and the other in the form of folliate zig-zag patterns. The base is a simple square block.

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)


1765 (designed)


Adam, Robert, born 1728 - died 1792 (designer)
Norman, Samuel (maker)
Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted and gilded pinewood


Height: 137 cm, Width: 45 cm, Depth: 45 cm

Object history note

The pedestals or "terms" were designed for the Saloon of Sir Lawrence Dundas's London residence of 19 Arlington Street. (His country seat was Moor Park, Hertfordshire, to where they were subsequently removed, hence the popular name). Adam's bill for the design was dated 18th July 1765 and amounted to £3 - 3 - 0, but it is not included among the volumes of his drawings, housed at the Sir John Soane Museum. However, the design is closely related to designs made for Sir John Astley of Patshull, Staffs (Soane, vol. 17, No. 58: dated 1765) Sir John Griffin of Audley End, Essex (Soane, Vol. 17, No. 59). It is not known who made them. Thomas Chippendale and more recently Samuel Norman have been suggested as possible candidates.The pedestals formed lot 798 of the Sale of the Marquess of Zetland's effects at Christie's, 26th April, 1934, and were given to the V & A, by the National Art Collections Fund, that year.

Designed by Robert Adam (born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, 1728, died in London, 1792); possibly made in London by Thomas Chippendale (born in Otley, West Yorkshire, 1718, died in London, 1779)

Historical significance: This set of pedestals is part of a very important commission for Adam from Sir Lawrence Dundas. As an army contractor, Dundas amassed a large fortune, and owned and furnished a large string of properties in England and Scotland. He was known as "The Nabob of the North", and someone whose Scottish links were to work to Adam's advantage. The furnishing of Arlington Street included a set of chairs and sofas, made by Thomas Chippendale, and the only recorded incident, when the cabinetmaker made furntiure to Adam's designs. The terms have a massive quality to them, more readily associated with William Kent, than his later, more slender designs.

Descriptive line

Painted and gilt carved pine pedestal with Neo-classical decoration. British (probably London), 1764. Designed by Robert Adam and possibly made by Samuel Norman.

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

Edwards, Ralph. Dictionary of English Furniture, London: Country Life, 1954, Vol III, p. 160, fig. 6.
Harris, Eileen. The Furniture of Robert Adam, London, Alec Tiranti, 1963, pp. 99 - 100.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. Il Mobile nei Secoli: Inghilterra, Milan, Fabri, 1969, Vol. I, p. 85.
Tomlin, Maurice. Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture, London, 1982 reprint, pp. 4 - 5.

Labels and date

ENGLISH; about 1765.

Probably made by Sir Thomas Chippendale to a design of Robert Adam, for Sir Lawrence Dundas, Moor Park, Hertfordshire. [1972]
BRITISH; about 1765
Designed by Robert Adam (1728 - 92) for 19 Arlington Street, London, and probablty made by the form of Thomas Chippendale (1718-79)
Carved and painted pine; from a set of six.

Made for the saloon of the London House of sir Lawrence Dundas (1710-81). No drawings of these survive but in 1756 Adam submitted a bill for a ‘Design of Terms for Salon'. The giltwood chair in Gallery 125 (W1-1937) was also desighned by Adam and made by Chippendale for the same room. [1996]
British Galleries:
These pedestals are from a set of six made for the saloon of 19 Arlington Street, the London house of Sir Lawrence Dundas (1710-1781), a wealthy army contractor, for whom Robert Adam designed alterations, decorations and furniture. Their solid and monumental form recalls the neo-Palladian designs of William Kent of the 1740s. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

One of set of six.


Pine; Gesso; Bole; Gold


Carving; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Paterae (motifs); Anthemions; Scrolling foliage; Vitruvian scrolls; Rosettes; Acanthus; Festoons


Furniture; British Galleries; Scotland


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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