Maker's mark of Benjamin Laver
Each candelabra on spreading circular base with laurel border, with fluted baluster stem applied at the shoulders with ram's masks hung between with husk swags, with campana shaped sockets, the detachable leaf-capped scroll branches each terminating in a circular drip-pan and with campana-shaped socket, with central urn with flame finial and drop ring handles.
Hall marked on bases, candlestick sockets and branches
Height: 15in. (38cm.)
Weight: 115oz. (3,578gr.)
Frances, Lady Ashburton; Christie's London, 15 February 1939, lot 35, a set of four (£143 to Crichton)
Son of John Laver late of Somerton in the County of Somerset cordwainer deceased, apprenticed to Thomas Heming 4 October 1751. Free, 5 December 1764. His first mark was presumably entered in the missing largeworker's volume of 1758-73, although there seems no surviving examples of marks at this date which might be his. His son William was apprenticed to him, 7 December 1774, when Laver is described as large plateworker of New Bond Street, and Heal records him here from 1769-79, and St. George's, Hanover Square. His second son, Thomas, was apprenticed to him, 4 October 1780. What seems likely is that Laver may have been working in a similar relationship to and for Thomas Heming as the Crespells did for Parker and Wakelin. First (recorded) mark entered as plateworker, 20 December 1781. Address: Barlows Mews, Bruton Street, near Bond Street. Second mark, 8 September 1782. Third mark, 1 July 1789. Address: Bruton Street, Bond Street. Heal finally records him at 4 Bruton Street, Berkeley Square, 1783-1800. What little plate has survived bearing Laver's mark shows a good standard.Description
These candelabra follow French prototypes produced by the celebrated Paris goldsmith Robert-Joseph Auguste (b.1723). He registered his own mark in 1757 and became the goldsmith of King Louis XVI in 1778. It is possible that Benjamin Laver was inspired by a set of four candelabra with a pair of matching candlesticks, which were in the collection of the Earls Harcourt, by Robert Joseph Auguste, 1767. They were probably brought to England by Simon, 1st Earl Harcourt (1714-1777), George III's ambassador to the Court of Louis XVI (The Harcourt Collection; Sotheby's London, 10 June 1993, lot 103).
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