navigation Browse Blog

koopman rare art

 
 
Digby & Benjamin Scott & Smith An Important Royal George III 'Egyptian' Candelabrum

Silver
London, 1805
Maker’s mark of Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith
Height: 76 cm, 29.92 in
Weight: 9,780 gr, 314.47 oz

The Cypher of His Serene Highness Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duke of Saxony (later King Leopold I of the Belgians)  
 
Candelabrum, resting on three lion paw feet that support a triangular platform, with incurved sides and canted corners, and a border with winged discs on each edge; on the platform sit three sphinxes. From the centre of the surbase extends a circular stem which is formed of three addorsed Egyptian females, within a slightly tapering column, with a band of ostrich feathers around the top, a plain middle section, curtain drapery with fringe at the bottom, below which protrudes three pairs of feet. Three cast scrolling branches with lion mask and flattened circular socket, fluted on the underside with removable nozzle, springing from acanthus buds terminating in sea creatures.

The repoussé cypher environed with the Garter and ensigned with a crown as found upon the stem of this George III English Sterling Silver Candelabrum by Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith hallmarked London 1805 is that of His Serene Highness Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duke of Saxony(1) (later King Leopold I of the Belgians).  Given the dates involved this candelabrum must have been adapted when Leopold was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1816 owing to the fact when Leopold became King of the Belgians his cypher was altered with the addition of two entwined ‘R’’s for ‘Rex’ (King) in combined of two entwined ‘L’’s for Leopold (see illustration below) in 1831.  Presently, it is not known whether this candelabrum was part of the plate of the Ducal Household or a general piece used elsewhere. 
 
Leopold George Frederick Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (born 16th December 1790 died 10th December 1865) was the youngest son of Francis, Duke of Saxe-CoburgSaalfeld, and his second wife, Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf.  He received British citizenship in 1815 prior to his marriage to HRH Princess Charlotte of Wales (born 7th January 1796 died 6th November 1817), the only child of HRH George, Prince of Wales (the Prince Regent and later King George IV) and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick. (2)  Despite Charlotte's death, his late father-in-law, the Prince Regent granted Prince Leopold the British style of His Royal Highness by an Order in Council on the 6th April 1818.  

Notes:
1 The family later became known as ‘Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’ in 1826 after  1826, Saxe-Coburg acquired the city of Gotha from the neighboring Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and gave up Saalfeld to SaxeMeiningen.  Here it is to be noted that Leopold used various styles between his birth in 1790 and becoming King of the Belgians in 1831. 
2 Leopold married secondly married Louise-Marie of Orléans (daughter of King Louis Philippe I of the French) on the 9th August 1832



 
 

 

Silversmith Biography

The partnership of Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith produced some of the greatest silver works of the early 19th century. Scott and Smith jointly ran workshops located in Greenwich, England from 1802 to 1807 and during their brief partnership were the principal suppliers of silver masterpieces to the esteemed firm of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. At the time London's most prestigious firm, these jewelers and silversmiths supplied the official plate ordered by the Lord Chamberlain's office, and were the official "Jeweller, Gold and Silversmiths to the Crown" from 1798 to 1843. Working in the cusp of the late Georgian and early Regency periods, the works of Scott and Smith often feature elements of the classical revival style such as grapevines and rams' heads, all crafted in exquisite, sumptuous detail. One of their most renowned collaborative efforts, the Duke of York Baskets, created for Frederick Augustus (1763-1827), second son of George III, is currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Australia.

Description

This candelabrum represents a very significant example of the Egyptian trend within the Regency Neoclassical taste. Here the designers fused together elements inspired by the drawings of Piranesi, the archaeological finds and the sketches of Grand Tour travellers to produce an object which combines a number of geographical and historical sources.
This eclectic style particularly appealed to the Prince Regent, later George IV, who enrichened the Grand Service with pieces full of exotic elements.
 

An Important Royal George III 'Egyptian' Candelabrum Reference: DT21.94.2