John Carter, Pr. George III Rare Sterling "Tea" Candlesticks, London, 1769/70
A scarce size, these beautiful candlesticks are a delightful early classical design inspired by the Scottish architect Robert Adam.
Made in London by John Carter, who specialized in candlesticks, the stepped feet above bold beading create stately bases. These are filled with wood secured with a screw. The pillars are bound reeds, and the socles display pierced acanthus leaves. The original, removable bobeche have raised gadrooning around their edges.
Due to their delicate design and age, these 18th-century candlesticks are remarkable survivors in very good condition.
These rare tea candlesticks measure 7.5 inches tall, a size between taper sticks and standard table sticks. Similarly, they have an in-between candle opening of about .625 inches. Typically, this size dates to c. 1770 and was called a "tea candlestick." The Wakelin ledgers, now at the V&A, note a 1771 sale to Morgan Lewis of "2 Tea Candlests (sic) with wood covered with green cloth." (1) In other words, they are filled with wood in the base like these, then finished with green felt underneath.
These beautiful sticks are fully hallmarked around their bases, marked with the lion passant and makers mark on the bobeches, and are in very good antique condition. One column lists very slightly and one socle edge is slightly bent.
Michael Clayton, The Collector's Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, (New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1971), p. 44.
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