17th Century Mid-drip Enamelled Candlestick
This candlestick belongs to a group of cast and enamelled brasswares, made in the second half of the 17th century, which includes stirrups, mirror-frames, fire-dogs, sconces, badges and sword-hilts. The colours used for the enamelling were limited to matt black, white, blue, green, yellow and red and the cast work is usually roughly finished. Some have Royalist associations including badges decorated with the Royal arms.
The items in the group are distinguished by their method of production: the fields to be enamelled were cast in the moulds and not, as was more common, engraved (champlévé) or enclosed (cloisonné) after production. The comparatively small output of this work and the repeated use of identical models for the stems of candlesticks, firedogs and cups, suggests that these objects are the products a single workshop.
These brasswares were for a long time referred to as ‘Surrey Enamels’ after the author Charles R. Beard ascribed their manufacture to a workshop in Esher, Surrey, but documentary evidence makes a strong case for their reattribution to the London workshops of Anthony Hatch and Stephen Pilcherd. Hatch, a prominent member of the Armourers’ and Braziers’ Company, supplied an enamelled brass chimney-piece to the Company, which was placed in its Court Room. Many of the other enamelled wares from this group were associated with fireplaces. Hatch is known to have worked with Pilcherd, another member of the Armourers’ and Braziers’ Company.
Despite their rough-and-ready appearance, such enamelled brasswares usually hail from prestigious private collections, suggesting that they were expensive and the workshop that produced them had a small but comparatively wealthy clientele.
- Blair, Claude, Surrey Enamels Reattributed: Part 1, Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, volume 13, June 2005, pp. 2-9, illus. on cover and on p. 5, Fig. 6
- Blair, Claude, & Patterson, Angus, Surrey Enamels Reattributed: Part 2, An Illustrated List of Known Types, Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, volume 14, June 2006, pp. 10-21