The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces New Acquisition: Pair of Candle Stands, c. 1773, by Thomas Chippendale
Cleveland, OH (November 9, 2018)— The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) today announces the acquisition, at auction in London in July, of an exceptional pair of gilded candle stands (torchères), made by Thomas Chippendale, the most recognizable and important English eighteenth-century cabinetmaker. Of columnar form with finely carved acanthus leaves, swags, fluting, and oval masks depicting the Roman goddess Diana, these remarkable works exhibit Chippendale’s masterful understanding of neoclassical proportion, scale, and ornament. Monumental in size, they were designed in 1773 for the grand drawing room of Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, England, the county seat of Sir Peniston Lamb.
Thomas Chippendale is perhaps best known for his landmark book of furniture designs, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (first published in 1754), which was highly admired and widely used as a source of inspiration by cabinetmakers and architects in both Europe and America. As such, Chippendale is most often associated with the many works in mahogany or walnut that follow his designs. These torchères are among the very few pieces made by the master himself and are therefore considered exceedingly rare.
As the first works by Chippendale to join the Cleveland Museum of Art’s English furniture collection, these stands are now on view flanking Thomas Lawrence’s Portrait of Catherine Grey (Lady Manners) of 1794 (CMA 1961.220) in the Paul J. and Edith Ingalls Vignos Gallery of British Art (203A). Speaking after the sale in London, curator of decorative art and design Stephen Harrison added, “We were very lucky to have had the opportunity and resources to acquire these masterpieces of the cabinetmaker’s art. What was once reserved for kings and nobles will now be on view in Cleveland for everyone to enjoy.”
Pair of Candle Stands (torchères), c. 1773. Thomas Chippendale (British, 1718–1779). Gilt-wood and gesso; 154 x 56 x 51 cm (60 ½ x 22 x 20 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund, 2018.203
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The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 63,000 artworks and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts and is a leader in digital innovations. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation, recognized for its award-winning Open Access program and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the University Circle neighborhood.
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