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Candelabrum model

Candelabrum model

  • Place of origin:

    Chipping Campden (made)

  • Date:

    1980 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Robert Welch MBE, RDI (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted wood

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 68, The Whiteley Galleries, case 9 []

The Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned a pair of candelabra in 1980 for the occasional use of the director, Sir Roy Strong, to be permanently displayed in the Silver Galleries when not in use. This was part of the commissioning programme of contemporary silver initiated by Strong in 1977. This example is the wooden prototype submitted by Robert Welch for approval by the Museum.

Welch trained as a silversmith at the Birmingham School of Art under Ralph Baxendale and Cyril Shiner. From 1952 to 1955 he was at the Royal College of Art, London, after which he was appointed as design consultant to J. J. Wiggin of Sheffield, manufacturers of stainless-steel tableware. Throughout his career he undertook many industrial-design commissions (he designed the stainless-steel tableware for the liner Oriana) while continuing to practise as a silversmith.

Physical description

Wooden model for a pair of silver eight-light candelabra, with circular foot and double knopped stem with eight branches each with circular sockets with knopped undersides, an oval knop forming the central finial.

Place of Origin

Chipping Campden (made)


1980 (made)


Robert Welch MBE, RDI (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted wood


Height: 38 cm, Length: 33.5 cm

Object history note

A model for a pair of candlesticks commissioned by the Director, Sir Roy Strong, for the Museum's permanent collections. Robert Welch trained at the Birmingham School of Art under Ralph Baxandale and Cyril Shiner. From 1952-55 he attended the Royal College of Art, after which he was appointed as design consultant to J.J. Wiggin of Walsall, who were the pioneers in the production of stainless steel tableware in Britain. His designs for Wiggins, under the Old Hall label, won the company three Design Centre Awards. Throughout his career, apart from his flourishing industrial design consultancies, he practised as a highly successful silversmith, undertaking several important commissions for Goldsmiths' Hall.

Descriptive line

Painted wood candelabrum model by Robert Welch, made in London, 1980.

Labels and date

Design: drawing in pencil and graphite frottage on paper, Robert Welch
Model: painted wood, made in the Robert Welch workshop
Candelabrum, one of a pair: silver, London 1980, by John Limbrey of the Robert Welch workshop.

The candelabra are inscribed: TENEBRAS FUGO: OCULOS LAETOR: NOCTEM CORONAS. R.S. ME FIERI FECIT: V & A 1980 (I put darkness to flight, rejoice the eyes, crowning the night. R(oy) S(trong) had me made: V & A 1980).

These three objects trace the design process for a pair candelabra commissioned in 1980 by the Museum's Director, Roy Strong for use at official functions and for inclusion in the permanent collections.

Welch produced five sketches of candelabra in December 1979 from which the final selection was made. He described in 1985 how "a candelabrum of round juicy shapes began to emerge. I showed a few of these sketches to [the Museum] and to my joy they all agreed on the sketch that I myself liked most."

Wooden models give the client a good idea of the proposed design and an estimate of the amount of silver required. The Museum inspected this model in early 1980. The silver candelabra were finished by the autumn of the same year. John Limbrey, a silversmith in Robert Welch's workshop expertly interpreted the intentions of the head of the firm through long acquaintance with his work. [2000]




Metalwork; Lighting


Metalwork Collection

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