Candlestick, cast pewter

Candlestick, cast pewter


Cast pewter
England; dated 1616, but possibly about 1920
Cast with the arms of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers 'ANO D 1616' and 'WILLIAM GRANGR'

This candlestick has aroused much debate since it first appeared on the market in 1922. The column of the candlestick is cast in relief with formalised plants and flowers; the base is cast with strapwork rectangles and roundels incorporating flowers, plants, the arms of the Pewterers' Company of London, the date ANO D 1616 and the name WILLIAM GRANGR.

Differences in the cast work on the stem and base suggest it might be two candlesticks put together, if not an outright fake. While the shape has precedents in earlier brass, no similar pewter candlesticks are known.

Who was William Granger? A document from 1639, discovered in 1982, was found to be signed by William 'Granger', using the same spelling as that used on the candlestick - GRANGR - suggesting a connection between the two. William Grainger is recorded as an official in the Worshipful Company of Pewterers by 1610, acting as Steward by 1620. In 1638, he became upper warden of the Company. Is this connection too good to be true?

The significance of the date, 1616, which appears on a series of English pewter wares, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dated English pewter often commemorates an important royal event such as the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and his marriage to Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In 1616 Charles I was created Earl of Chester and Prince of Wales, after the death of his brother Henry. However, such souvenirs usually survive in greater numbers. This candlestick is unique.

Recent examinations of the candlestick take us no closer to verifying its authenticity. X-Ray analysis showed no discrepancy between the alloys used on stem and base but they gave no indication as to age. Some pewter specialists argue that the decoration has the telltale signature of the Arts & Crafts.