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Pair of Altar Candlesticks: M.3A & B-1994

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Pair of Altar Candlesticks


Designer: White, William




Bronze, with painted and gilded decoration, set with clear and coloured glass cabochons

Bronze, studded with claw-set circular cabochons of graduated sizes, in clear, translucent dark green, opaque white, and opaque turquoise glass, and embellished with red and pale purple paint, and gilding. Each candlestick has a splayed octagonal base with four curved sides and four straight sides; a straight, four-sided section with four outward curving scrolls at the bottom; a four-sided twisted section; and at the top, four foliated openwork scrolls supporting a shallow, concave drip-pan with a wavy edge, in the middle of which is a pricket. On top is a removable drip-pan with a zig-zag toothed edge, and a central hole enabling it to fit over the pricket. The sections are separated by differently-shaped collars.


History note: John Garrett, Bishops Court, Clyst St Mary, Devon; sold by Bearne's of Torquay, 26 September 1994, held on the premises, 'The Principal Contents of Bishops Court, Clyst St Mary, Near Exeter, including Important Gothic Revival Furniture and Metalwork designed by William White, On the instructions of W.E. Taylor & Son and the executors of G.C. Taylor deceased and Mrs V.E.C. Taylor deceased', p. 33, lot 451; purchased by Blairman & Sons Ltd., 119 Mount Street, London, W1Y 5HB

Legal notes

Given by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1994-10-10) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


19th Century, third quarter#
Victoria I
Circa 1860 CE - 1864 CE


A talented Gothic Revivalist architect based in the south­west of England, William White built a successful career around his concept of ‘domestic gothic’ and the importance of colour, occasionally designing metalwork, such as these altar candlesticks, to harmonise with his polychromatic colourful interiors. These were made for the private chapel of Bishop’s Court, Clyst St Mary, Devon, which White completed in 1864. They remained on the premises until they were sold from there on 26 September 1994. Bishops Court, a medieval residence of the Bishops of Exeter, was purchased in 1833 by John Garrett, a wealthy tea merchant who had been Lord Mayor of London. He died in 1859 and the house was rebuilt between 1860 and 1864 for his son, another John Garrett, to the designs of Wiliam White (1825-1900), who also designed furniture and metalwork, including these candelsticks, for the house. White, who had been a fellow-pupil of G.E. Street and G.F. Bodley in the office of George Gilbert Scott, was one of the most inventive High Victorian architects. These candlesticks are exceptionally vigorous and trenchant specimens of Reformed Gothic design. White's client, John Garrett, was a founder member of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society, and is likely to have come into contact with the architect through the latter's many ecclesiastical works in the West Country.

School or Style

Gothic Revival

Components of the work

Decoration composed of paint ( red and pale purple) gold
Cabochons composed of glass ( translucent dark green, opaque white, opaque turquoise)
B Height 69.5 cm Width 18.9 cm
A Height 69.9 cm Width 18.7 cm

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.3A & B-1994
Primary reference Number: 145783
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 10 April 2019 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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