Pair of 'Lion-mask' Candelabra

1980.684 a & b


For two hund red years this pair of gilt candelabra was at Croxteth Hall, Liverpool home of the Earls of Sefton. The first Earl bought them in 1772 and they must have made a spectacular impact lighting his banquet table. They were rare even then, as so few of this type were made. The candelabra are made of ormolu; bronze covered with a thin layer of gold. They are in the ‘neo-classical’ style, inspired by ancient Greek and Roman ruins discovered in the 18th century. The lions’ heads and drapes on the stem and the branches in the shape of an acanthus leaf are all features of this style. The candelabra were made at the Birmingham works of Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), known for the high quality of his metalwork. These magnificent candelabra are a good example of the sort of thing he made for his wealthy clientele.