Candlestick, one of a pair

about 1710–20
Edward Winslow (American, 1669–1753)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


19.37 x 12.38 cm (7 5/8 x 4 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Burton A. Cleaves Gallery (Gallery LG27)




Silver hollowware

The octagonal socket and baluster candlestick is cast in halves vertically. The baluster consists of an urn-shaped socket, bulb, vase, and reel column, terminating in spreading octagonal section that merges with domed base. The splayed, stepped, octagonal foot is formed in separate sections and soldered to a raised domed center; a narrow strengthening band is applied at lower edge. There is a break in strengthening band at one joint. Small dent on baluster beside circular repair.

Few colonial silver candlesticks by American makers have survived. It is likely that the need for them was obviated by the presence of imported silver and brass candlesticks, which were as handsome as they were affordable. The popularity of candlesticks in the eighteenth century was probably enhanced by their inclusion in period furniture designs. Candlestick slides made for desks and bookcases and the reserves set into the corners of card tables are but two examples of how these lighting devices were accommodated in the home.
A few silver candlesticks were forged and fabricated in the early colonial period. By the eighteenth century, however, most were cast, as in the case of this pair by Edward Winslow. Other known examples of cast silver candlesticks of the period were made by John Coney, John Burt, Myer Myers, and Nathaniel Morse. The presence of two such molds in the inventory of John Coney’s estate demonstrates that colonial silversmiths had the means to cast such forms. Some American makers, including Thomas Dane (1726 – 1759) of Boston, Samuel Tingley (active about 1767 – about 1796) of New York, and Edmund Milne (d. 1822) of Philadelphia, used imported candlesticks as models to cast new works. In some cases, the colonial touchmark appears over effaced English hallmarks. These examples prove the readiness of colonial silversmiths to sell and appropriate foreign imports when available.
The Winslow candlesticks may be the earliest of his three known pairs. Colonial Williamsburg and the Metropolitan Museum of Art each possess similar pairs by the maker; the latter’s pair bears the arms of Edward Hutchinson. These examples are notable for the inverted trumpet form found on each baluster, a detail that appears in English and French forms in the 1720s and 1730s. The densely packed octagonal knops of the Museum’s candlesticks suggest a somewhat earlier style but one that postdates a pair by John Coney in the Museum’s collection, which was dated about 1710 by Kathryn C. Buhler.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.




"EW" over a fleur-de-lis within a shield on exterior of domed portion of base.


Adolph Mollenhauer Dick (1894 – 1956); 1956, purchased from his estate by his sister Doris Dick (1890 – 1982) and Horace Havemeyer (1886 – 1956), m. 1911; 1983, bequest of Mr and Mrs Havemeyer to the MFA. (Accession date: March 3, 1983)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Havemeyer