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Prince Peter Soltykoff

The Gloucester Candlestick, copper alloy, cast, gilded

The Gloucester Candlestick, copper alloy, cast, gilded; niello, glass, England, 1104-1113, acquired in 1861 from the collection of Prince Soltykoff

Prince Peter Soltykoff’s vast collection of medieval objects was disposed of in a sale in Paris in 1861, from which the Museum acquired some of its most important medieval objects such as the Gloucester candlestick.

Prince Peter Soltykoff was the grandson of Count, later Prince, Nicolas Soltykoff, president of the Council of Ministers of Tsar Alexander I. He came to Paris in 1840 where he assembled a vast collection of medieval treasures, which he housed in two hotels built specifically for the purpose. The Soltykoff Collection of medieval art was the most celebrated private collection of its kind and comprised armour, glass, enamels, watches, ivories, manuscripts and other pieces.

In 1861, 1109 lots were auctioned at Hotel Drouot over 4 weeks, 26 lots of which were purchased by John Webb and offered to the South Kensington Museum, including the cruciform Chasse (7650-1861), known as the Eltenberg Reliquary and considered to be the star of the entire collection, and the Gloucester candlestick (7649-1861).

Information in the V&A Archive

MA/2/S11 – Nominal file: Soltykoff Collection (including J. C. Robinson’s report on his inspection of the Collection)

MA/3/32: Art referees’ reports, 1863-1886

ED 84/35: Precis of the Board minutes of the Science and Art Department, vol. I, 1852-1863

ED84/44: Minutes relative to the acquisition of Art Objects – for the benefit of the Schools of Art

MA/30/28 & 29: Central Inventory registers

Tenth Report of the Science and Art Department. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for HMSO, 1863

Henry Cole: diaries: typed transcripts, 1822-1882

A0331: Clive Wainwright research papers

Selected printed works

Webb, John. Report on the collection of Prince Soltykoff. ?London, 1860. NAL Pressmark: NL.97.0635

Objets d'art et de haute curiosité composant la célèbre collection du Prince Soltykoff 1861 Apr. 8-May 1. Hôtel Drouot. NAL Pressmark: 23P

The Soltykoff Collection. The Literary Gazette 149 (1861): 432. NAL pressmark: PP.11.E

Wainwright, C. ‘The making of the South Kensington Museum, IV: relationships with the trade; Webb and Bardini.’ Journal of the History of Collections 14, vol.1 (2002): 63-78. NAL pressmark: PP.69.E

To locate material in the National Art Library, please search the Library Catalogue.

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.