SOLD - A Pair of George II Antique English Silver Candlesticks from the Leinster Service

SOLD - A Pair of George II Antique English Silver Candlesticks from the Leinster Service

London, 1746 by George Wickes

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

*

*

*

*

Description

Engraved beneath the base with initial 'K' below an earl's coronet, each marked under base and engraved with inventory numbers and scratchweights, 'No 6 43=1', 'No 7 41=15', the nozzles engraved with inventory numbers, 'No 3' and 'No 6'. The initial is that of James FitzGerald, 20th Earl of Kildare, later 1st Duke of Leinster (1722-1773).<br /><br />

PROVENANCE:<br />
James FitzGerald, 20th Earl of Kildare, later 1st Duke of Leinster<br />
(1722-1773) and then by descent to Edward, 7th Duke of Leinster <br />
(1892-1976), presumably sold in January 1918 as part of his inheritance to Sir Harry Mallaby-Deeley (1863-1937), property magnate.<br /><br />

LITERATURE:<br />
George Wickes Account Books, Gentleman's Ledger, 1746.<br />
E. Barr, George Wickes, Royal Goldsmith 1698-1761, London, 1980. pp. 197-205.<br />
M. Snodin, Rococo: Art and Design in Hogarth's England, London, 1984, pp. 116-117.<br />
P. Glanville, Silver in England, London, 1987, p. 189.<br />
J. McDonnell, 'Irish Rococo Silver', Irish Arts Review Yearbook, vol. 13, 1997, pp. 78-87.<br /><br />

JAMES FITZGERALD, 20TH EARL OF KILDARE AND LATER 1ST DUKE OF LEINSTER<br />
(1722-1773) James FitzGerald was the son of Robert, 19th Earl of Kildare (1675-1744) and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of William O’Brien, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin. He was born on 29 May 1722, and styled Lord Offaly until 1744, when he succeeded his father as Earl of Kildare. He served as Member of Parliament for Athy from 1741 to 1744 whilst still underage. On 21 February 1746 he was created Viscount Leinster of Taplow, co. Buckingham, and was made a member of the Irish Privy Council. Two weeks before he married, at St Margaret’s Westminster, Emily Mary (1731-1814), god-daughter of King George II and second surviving daughter of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and his wife Sarah, daughter and co-heiress of William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. James and Emily had no fewer than nine sons and eight daughters.<br /><br />

He played an active part in Irish politics and with his enormous wealth and influential family connections and became one of the most popular noblemen in Ireland. He accepted a post in the Government as Lord Deputy in 1756, and that of Master General of the Ordinance in 1758, and in 1761 was created Marquess of Offaly in the peerage of Ireland. Five years later he was created Duke of Leinster in the peerage of Ireland at a time when there were no other Irish dukes. While his principal seat was the Palladian Carton House, in co. Kildare, which had been built by his father and where together with his wife, he created one of the most idyllic landscape gardens in Ireland. Between 1745 and 1748, he also built Kildare House in the south of Dublin. Initially his townhouse was some distance from his aristocratic peers, who were clustered around Rutland Square and Mountjoy Square but as Kildare rightly predicted others followed. The house was designed by the architect Richard Cassels and remained in the family until 1815 when it was sold to the Royal Dublin Society, by this time been renamed Leinster House. The house again changed hands in 1924 when it was acquired by the Irish state to become the home of the Irish Parliament.<br /><br />

THE LEINSTER SERVICE<br />
The Leinster Service, which would have been used by the Earl of Kildare at both his country seat, Carton House, co. Kildare and at Leinster House, his Dublin mansion, ranks as the grandest and most complete aristocratic dinner-service to survive from the 18th century, the majority of which was sold Christie’s, London, 5 July 2012, lot 48. The service is exceptional not only for its quality and quantity but also for the existence of a full inventory compiled by the Royal goldsmith and the maker of the present candlesticks, George Wickes, in his Gentleman’s Ledger. The entry records the weight and cost of each piece together with the cost of engraving, and in some instances, the price of cases and glass. The entry for the present lot is recorded under the years 1746-1747 as one of the ‘4 pr Candlesticks’ ordered at the same time as ‘2 snuffer trays.’ The group weighed 363 oz. 9 dwt. and cost a total of £210 12s 0d (George Wickes, Gentleman’s Ledger, 1746-1747, The Victoria and Albert Museum).<br /><br />

Joseph MacDonnell in his article ‘Irish Rococo Silver’, The Irish Arts Review Yearbook, No. 13, 1997, p. 78, puts the price of the service into context, noting the cost of the full service, at £4,044 was over 100 times the yearly salary of a curate. The sum paid by the Earl of Kildare for his service, conceived in a finely developed Rococo style, both highly fashionable and costly, far exceeded that paid to Wickes by the Prince of Wales for his own dinner-service. The dinner-service was not only the greatest form of display plate but was also intended for practical use. In the 17th century the buffet at the side of the dining-room had been used to show the host’s wealth through the assembled arrangement of flagons, flasks, cups and dishes. In the 18th century the display of silver moved from the sideboard to the dining-table. This would have included candlesticks such as the present lot as well as the accoutrements needed for dining à la française, which had become fashionable by the middle of the century.<br /><br />

GEORGE WICKES (1698-1761)<br />
George Wickes, whose life and work was discussed by Elaine Barr in her comprehensive work, <em>George Wickes, Royal Goldsmith 1698-1761</em>, London, 1980, was born in Bury St Edmunds, the son of James Wickes, an upholsterer, and his wife Dorothy. He apprenticed through the Goldsmiths’ Company to Samuel Wastell on 2 December 1712 having made a payment of £30. He was made free by service in 1720. As the laws governing the hallmarking of silver decreed that no one under the age of 24 could be granted a freedom, it was not until 3 February 1722 that he was able to enter his first mark as a goldsmith, working in Threadneedle Street. In the 18th century it was not common for houses to be individually numbered and so his shop was marked with a sign depicting a fleur-de-lys over the door, a symbol he incorporated into his mark. Wickes flourished as a silversmith and was able to claim a large list of illustrious clients and ambitious commissions. In addition to the Leinster Service this included tureens for Francis, Lord North and the Pelham Gold Cup, designed by William Kent for Colonel James Pelham, private secretary to the Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales himself was an important patron of Wickes. Throughout his career George Wickes and his successors kept a set of account ledgers known as his Gentleman’s Ledger.<br /><br />

The listing in the Gentleman’s Ledgers, not least the Leinster Service, has helped to change our understanding of the contemporary use for the many elements which had been incorrectly identified in the past. For example, Michael Snodin, in ‘Silver Vases and their Purpose’, The Connoisseur, January 1977, pp. 37-42 notes that the set of four vases, described in the Wickes Ledger as ‘4 round boxes,' are some of the earliest surviving condiment urns and the ‘two ovill boxes’ were intended to hold sugar to be used in salad dressing. He deduced this from the items that follow their entry in the invoice, the spoons for use with the vases and boxes, namely ‘to 2 suger spoons 2 pepper 2 musterd.’

Dimensions

Weight 83 oz. 13 dwt.
Size Height: 11.75 in. (29.84 cm.)
Stock No V9009

Share

Recently Viewed Items

You have no recently viewed product