Provenance & Patina: Important English Furniture from a West Coast Collection

Provenance & Patina: Important English Furniture from a West Coast Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1097. A Pair of George III Cut-Glass Ormolu-Mounted Wall Lights Attributed to John Blades, Circa 1805.

A Pair of George III Cut-Glass Ormolu-Mounted Wall Lights Attributed to John Blades, Circa 1805

Live auction begins on:

June 18, 06:00 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


each with a central diamond and slice-cut shaft surmounted by two gilt fountain sprays issuing ormolu-capped icicles, flat-back spangles and drop-hung strings of faceted beads; the shaft finishing in a diamond-cut and ormolu-tipped pinecone and the main chased-ormolu receiver plate supporting two S-shaped candle arms connecting multi-spike drip pans supporting urn-shaped candle nozzles and drop-hung with icicles and pendants, graduated in size; the whole finishing with a second diamond-cut pinecone supported on a round ormolu back plate

height 29 in.; width 21 in.; depth 8 in.

73.7 cm; 53.3 cm; 20.3 cm

Private Collection, New York;

Fileman Antiques;

Rolleston, London.

The present pair of wall lights with domed pendant cresting and elegant design are consistent in quality and design with examples of glass lighting produced by the leading late 18th and early 19th century glass-manufacturer John Blades of Ludgate Hill, London. According to a report published in Rudolph Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Blades was the first and virtually the only glass manufacturer in England to work on such a scale, producing candelabra and chandeliers of unprecedented grandeur, '...the sumptuous effects of which have given an impulse to the glass manufacturers of this country for bold and massive articles, hitherto unknown to its artificers and the public' (Ackermann. op. cit. , August 1822).

Blades is first recorded in 1783, trading from premises at 5 Ludgate Hill, where he was to continue in business until his death in 1829 (cf. Howard Coutts, 'London Cut Glass, The Work of John Blades and Messrs. Jones', Antique Collecting. vol. 22, No. 2, June 1987, pp. 22-24). Already by 1789 he had been appointed glass-maker to George III, in succession to Lazarus Jacobs, as indicated by a notice in The Gentleman's Magazine which on April 13 that year announced the marriage of 'Mr John Blades of Ludgate Hill, cut glass manufacturer to his Majesty, to Miss Hannah Hobson of Thomas Street, Southwark'. In 1797 Blades received a commission for two chandeliers for the Court Room of the Drapers' Company. The chandeliers survive and confirm Blades' reputation as a pioneer, anticipating the 'fountain' type of chandelier later introduced by the Prince of Wales at Carlton House in the early 1800s. Among other English clients, Blades worked for the Marquis of Westminster, for whom he produced a Gothic style lantern for Eaton Hall, Cheshire. He also attracted commissions from abroad and at the same time supplied the King and government with articles intended for export for diplomatic gifts. An article published in Ackermann's Repository in 1823 contains descriptions of several such commissions, including a consignment of sherbert services, cut-glass tables, and a pair of decorative hookah pipes sent to the Pasha of Egypt; a service of candelabra and lustres, presented to the Sultan of Turkey by George III in 1800; a large group of 'lustres, candelabra, services, etc.' dispatched to the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1812; another sent to Homerjee Bomanjee of Bombay in 1815; a dessert service exported to Russia for use by the Tzar; a set of lustres sent to Baron Josephus Ferdinandes Banderia in Portugal in 1815; a group of 'candelabra of uncommon magnitude' ordered for the Shah of Persia; and most remarkable of all, a green glass tomb modelled on the tomb of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey, which was dispatched to the Nabob of Oudh in 1795.

A similar pair of wall lights is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, 34.75.2 and 34.75.3.

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