Maker: Attributed to John Gumley (Britsh, ca. 1670–1726)

Maker: Attributed to James Moore (British, died 1729)

Date: ca. 1710–15

Culture: British

Medium: Gilt gesso on wood; gilt metal mounts

Dimensions: Overall: 46 × 46 in. (116.8 × 116.8 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Purchase, Wrightsman Fund, and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, by exchange, 1995

Accession Number: 1995.141


This is one of a pair of chandeliers commissioned about 1710 by James, third Viscount Scudamore (1684–1716), for the state apartments at Holme Lacy, Herefordshire.[1] They may have been ordered to celebrate his marriage in 1710. In the richly decorated Baroque plasterwork of the saloon and dining room where they were hung, the chandeliers were a particularly harmonious addition. Holme Lacy later descended to the earls of Chesterfield; it was sold in 1910 by the tenth earl, who in 1917 moved many of the contents to Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire, where the chandeliers remained until 1958.[2]

With its eight acanthus-scroll branches, its lambrequined octagonal stem, and its gilt-metal mounts in the form of feather-plumed masks, the chandelier is in the French "arabesque" manner of William III's architect Daniel Marot (1661-1752), who included designs for similar chandeliers in his Nouveau livre d'orfèvrerie, a pattern book for goldsmiths.[3]

They are attributed on stylistic grounds to the court cabinetmakers James Moore and John Gumley, who specialized in finely carved gilt-gesso furniture.[4] A closely related pair of chandeliers was commissioned from Moore and Gumley by King George I (1660–1727) for Kensington Palace.[5]

[William Rieder 2006]

[1] The house is illustrated in Charles Latham. In English Homes: The Internal Character, Furniture and Adornments of Some of the Most Notable Houses of England. 3 vols. London, 1904–9, vol. 3, pp. 237, 247. The pair to this chandelier is in a private collection in Canada.

[2] The chandeliers are shown in a photograph of about 1925 of the saloon at Beningbrough Hall in John Fowler and John Cornforth. English Decoration in the Eighteenth Century. London, 1974, p. 18, fig. 2. They were sold in a house sale at Beningbrough by the dealers Curtis and Hanson, 10–13 June 1958, lots 638, 639. The present chandelier was subsequently acquired by William Redford, London. It was bought by Mallet and Son, London, in 1972 and sold the following year to Gerald Hochschild. It was sold from the Hochschild collection at Sotheby's, London, 1 December 1978, lot 15. On 22 April 1995, it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum at Christie's, New York, lot 243.

[3] Daniel Marot. Nouveau livre d'orfèvrerie. The Hague, n.d. (before 1703), pl. 6.

[4] Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, eds. Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660–1840. Leeds, 1986, pp. 618 - 19 (entry by Geoffrey Beard).

[5] One is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the other hangs in the mansion house of Brympton d'Evercy, Somerset, England.