Pair of chimera candlesticks
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (English, 1780–1854)
Height x width: 13 1/2 x 3 1/2 in., 17.8 cm (34.3 x 8.9 cm, 7 in.)
Medium or Technique
Patinated and gilt bronze
Susan Morse Hilles Gallery (Gallery 152)
The torch-bearing chimera, a goat-horned and lioned-headed griffin that was sacred to the sun-god Apollo and associated with fire, derives from a drawing of a marble antiquity made in Rome in the mid-1790s by the architect Charles Heathcote Tatham (died in 1842). The “Antique Chimera in basso relievo of white marble” was discovered during his research into appropriate ornament for the decoration of George, Prince of Wales’s palace of Carlton House in London. The chimera was engraved for Tathem’s Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Sculpture, 1798.
The model for a bronze griffin with golden torch was patented in 1809 by Benjamin Vulliamy and his son Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780–1854) who served as clockmakers to King George III. The son served as “Furniture man” to the Prince of Wales, later King George IV.
Inscribed on the flank of each griffin: "Published as the Act directs BY B. VULLIAMY & SON. Jan 1st 1810 London"
By 1991 until about 2008, Apter-Fredericks, Ltd. (dealer), London. About 2008, purchased by Horace Wood Brock, Gloucester, MA; 2012, gift of Horace Wood Brock to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 27, 2013)
Gift of Horace Wood Brock