Candlestick (one of a pair)

John Noyes (American, 1674–1749)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Buhler, 1972, No. 90


Overall: 16.2 x 23.5 cm (6 3/8 x 9 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Burton A. Cleaves Gallery (Gallery LG27)




Silver hollowware

Cut-cornered square moulded base with band of reeding; spiral reeding at base of stick; hollow moulded and reeded flange; fluted column, with stopped reeding and collar, with incised line, at flange. Moulded rim . Bobeche in outline of base with a very deep bezel of two sheets moulded beneath and circle of spiral reeding on top. Mark on side away from crest on edge. cork in bottom of stopped bezel. Flange opening at outer edge. Top and flange bent.

Candlesticks are rare in seventeenth-century American silver; only an earlier pair made about 1685 by Jeremiah Dummer and this pair by John Noyes-a skilled craftsman who is thought to have apprenticed with Dummer-are known to survive. Noyes completed his training in 1695 or 1696 and fashioned these hollow columnar candlesticks shortly thereafter for Pierre Baudouin (anglicized to Bowdoin), a Huguenot who immigrated to Casco Bay in Maine in 1687 and then settled in Boston, where he died in 1706. They descended in the Bowdoin family until presented to the Museum in 1954. One of the candlesticks’ eighteenth-century owners was James Bowdoin, for whom Bowdoin College in Maine is named.
The general form of these architectonic candlesticks was popular in English, French, and Dutch silver, brass, pewter, and ceramics in the second half of the seventeenth century. Like the Dummer salt (see 32.371), the Noyes candlesticks are in keeping with the latest London styles; they exemplify the best in the early Baroque mode, as light reflects and recedes off the small convex moldings on the base, flange, and removable bobeche (candle socket) of each stick, giving life to the surface and achieving the light and dark contrasts that are such an important part of this aesthetic.

This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at


Pierre Baudouin (d. 1706); by descent to Miss Clara Bowdoin Winthrop (1). 1953, lent by Miss Winthrop to MFA; 1954, gift of Miss Winthrop to MFA. (Accession date: May 13, 1954)

1 Pierre Baudouin emigrated from La Rochelle, France, to Casco Bay in 1687, was in Boston by 1690; his son James (d. 1747); his son James (1726-1790), after whom Bowdoin College was named, m. Elizabeth Erving; their son James (Harvard 1771), died childless, 1811; his sister Elizabeth, m. Sir John Temple Bt.; their daughter, m. Thomas Lindall Winthrop, grandfather of the donor.

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Clara Bowdoin Winthrop