A PAIR OF REGENCY PARCEL-GILT AND SIMULATED BRONZE TORCHÈRES, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
with dished gadrooned circular tops, one with losses to base
158cm. high, 40cm. diameter of base; 5ft. 2¼in., 1ft. 3¾in.
This impressive pair are in unrestored Country House condition. Losses to paint work, some re-touching. Chips to gesso. Fragmenting and age cracks to base. Losses to blocked base elements and these will need replacing. Evidence of old worm. These were in store at Spetchley for a very long time and it shows.
One about 2cm taller than the other.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Probably Robert Berkeley (1764-1845)
Inventory, 1893, ‘A pair […] carved black and gilt stands’ on the Grand Staircase
These impressive torchères are a romantic derivative of antique 'Roman' forms and there are a number of designs which relate by George Smith and others (see Edward Joy, Pictorial Dictionary of British 19th Century Design, Woodbridge, 1977, p.553).
For a pair of ebonised and parcel-gilt 'stands', which are also boldly carved, see those after a design by Thomas Hope, the great Regency designer and patron (illustrated, David Watkin and Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Thomas Hope, Regency Designer, London, 2008, p.414). Also see a 'bronzed' tripod table of highly stylised neo-classical form by George Oakley with similarly applied neo-classical motifs taken from moulds which was sold Sotheby's London, Two Great Scottish Collections, 28 March 2017, lot 131. This table was acquired by Sir William Forbes Bt. (1773-1828) in 1818. The present lot may well date from around the same time, possibly a little later, after Robert Berkeley had returned from his Grand Tour in 1818 and circa 1821 when Spetchley was completed.
The bronzed surface and gilt-heightened detail of these torchères is also a treatment favoured by Smith and exemplifies a Regency delight in unusual paint techniques and texture. We see these bronzed finishes evidenced in hand-coloured plates from Smith's book, A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration in 1808.