The tri-form pedestal base rests on voluted water leaves and supports three winged Greco-Egyptian sphinxes modeled in the round. From the backs of the sphinxes rises the central platform, which is applied on the three incurved faces with panels chased with classical scenes, and from which rises a truncated column of palm leaves, supporting a central dish ornamented with classical anthemia and egg-and-dart moldings. Three tri-part foliate scroll branches spring from the palm trunk, the lower part terminating in a Bacchic mask and the other two supporting two-light candle branches. The round, shallow dish is engraved at center with the arms of Kirkcaldy quartering Kinnaird and another, impaling Fitzgerald, for Charles, 8th Baron Kinnaird (1780-1826) and his wife, Lady Olivia-Letitia-Catherine Fitzgerald (d. 1858), the daughter of 2nd Duke of Leinster, whom he married in 1806.
In its form and decoration, this centerpiece superbly illustrates the tenets of Regency design. The design of the centerpiece is securely attributed to the architect and designer Charles Heathcote Tatham, who, with Thomas Hope, was a major exponent of the more severe neoclassical style of the Regency period. Regency designers, architects and craftsmen found inspiration in the whole of Antiquity, from Egypt to the Roman Empire, in the quest for a more archaeological and masculine style than the purely decorative classical taste of the late 18th century.
Spectacular centerpieces such as this example served as magnificent focal points of table decoration.
- English (London), Regency, 1806/1807
- Mark of Philip Cornman, English, died in 1822
- Made for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, English, 1797–1843
- Designed by Charles Heathcote Tatham, English, 1772–1842
- Height: 46.4 cm (18 1/4 in.); Width: 58.4 cm (23 in.)
- Medium or Technique
- Silver gilt
- Accession Number
- On view
- Simone and Alan Hartman Galleries (European Decorative Arts) - 241