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A monumental Victorian parcel-gilt silver mounted mirror-plateau/candelabrum, and a six-light candelabrum centrepiece, Edward Barnard & Sons, London, 1850-53
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38
A monumental Victorian parcel-gilt silver mounted mirror-plateau/candelabrum, and a six-light candelabrum centrepiece, Edward Barnard & Sons, London, 1850-53
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Details & Cataloguing

The Midas Touch

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A monumental Victorian parcel-gilt silver mounted mirror-plateau/candelabrum, and a six-light candelabrum centrepiece, Edward Barnard & Sons, London, 1850-53
shaped oblong in two sections, the serpentine sides with moulded shell, scroll and rocaille borders, with cartouche and floral-garland angles, a seven-light candelabrum at each end, the foliate-scroll arms with detachable foliate sconces, a foliate support and cut-glass bowl beneath each, the sides of the plateau with four further foliate scroll supports with cut-glass bowls; the six-light candelabra formed of two detachable scrolling foliate branches each with three fruiting-vine rimmed sconces, the central detachable foliate scroll basket with pendant grape-vines and oval cut-glass bowl, two separate water-lilies each realistically chased, the main body with five detachable silver puttti holding grapes and wine cups, one proffering detachable grapes in a basket, the scroll column with grapes-vines, on a shaped foliate lozenge base with a detachable cartouche to each side, one with coat-of-arms, the other with presentation inscription: 'PRESENTED TO W H HORNBY, ESQ. J.O. BY THE OPERATIVES OF BLACKBURN IN TOKEN OF SINCERE ESTEEM FOR HIS ZEALOUS PROMOTION OF THE BEST INTERESTS OF HIS NATIVE TOWN, HIS GENEROUS SUPPORT OF USEFUL AND CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS AND PARTICULARLY AS THE WELL-TRIED FAITHFUL & CONSTANT FRIEND OF THE WORKING MAN, SEPT 8TH 1853'
the plateau 227cm., 89¹/² in. long overall; the centrepiece, 78.7cm., 31in. high
centrepiece 13,300gr., 427oz. 12dwt.
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Provenance

Important Silver, Christie's London, 13 June 2001, lot 25

Catalogue Note

The arms are those of Hornby with Birley in pretence, for William Henry Hornby Esq.

The recipient of this magnificent centrepiece was William Henry Hornby (1805-1884), who has been justly described as one of the greatest men his home town of Blackburn in Lancashire ever produced. He was a leading industrialist, was elected in 1851 as first Mayor of Blackburn and was sometime chairman of the local Conservative Party. Hornby was married in 1831 to Margaret Susannah (1810-1899), daughter and sole heir of Edward Birley of Kirkham, by whom he had seven sons and four daughters.

The presentation of this ‘elaborately executed candelabrum’ to Mr. Hornby, as well as a ‘Family Bible and Prayer Book . . .  got up in a style of binding rich and elegant in the extreme’ for Mrs. Hornby, occurred at a grand demonstration accompanied by procession including no less than four brass bands. This ceremony took place on Thursday, 8 September 1853, when between 10,000 and 15,000 people attended, thronging the large area in front of the then newly-opened Blackburn Railway Station. ‘Every window within sight was filled with people, and even the house tops had their share of patronage. . .  The repeated cheers which rose from this vast multitude must have been heard to a very considerable distance [and] the effect of this immense mass of people, intermingled with numberless flags and banners of all descriptions, and orange and blue ribbons [for the Conservative Party], as seen from the [station] balcony, was beautiful.’ 'The testimonials, which were open for inspection in one of the spacious apartments in the station during the morning, were then removed to the front of the balcony, and were placed on an elevation in view of the whole assemblage. At the moment when they were so placed, their appearance was greeted with loud and continued cheers.’

‘THE CANDELABRUM . . . of the Louis Quatorze style,’ reported the Blackburn Standard, ‘was designed and made by Messrs. Barnet and Sons [i.e. Edward Barnard & Sons], of London, and was supplied by Mr. John Sagar, silversmith and watchmaker, Blackburn, through Mr. G.A. Godwin, [retail gold and silversmith] of High Holborn, London.’ Following a detailed description of the piece, the paper concluded that it reflected the highest credit on the taste of the committee who selected it, ‘and on the skill of the artist from whose design it has been produced. The cost of it was three hundred and fifty guineas.’ (Wednesday, 14th September 1853, p.5)

The Midas Touch

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