Friday, September 04, 2009

Alabaster candle stand has its day on SalvoWEB

West Pennine Antiques, Lancashire UK

A magnificent 10" tall antique alabaster candle stand is finally having its day after almost two years in storage. Paul Morris of West Pennie Antiques is offering the magnificent piece on SalvoWEB after purchasing it as part of a large clearance from St Andrews Church, 176 Queens Drive, Liverpool. The unique column was installed as a gift to the church in the late 19th century and comes with a great provenance of which Mr Morris holds a copy of the original dedication obtained from the church.

Mr Morris has undertaken extensive research on the candle stand and concluded, "It was designed by Philip Thicknesse and executed by Frank Norbury circa 1890. Thicknesse is a renowned ecclesiastical architect working mostly in the northern counties, in particularly Liverpool with his business partner William Willink. The firm carried out other works in the city including the the Cunard Building and Liners, Zoology building at Liverpool University, and Parr's Bank, Castle St to name a few.

"The candle stand Comprises of five sections, the plinth base section supports a second section carved in relief with primitive vegetation and sea-dwelling life forms such as ammonites and nautilus, supported by a dado section with pictorial panels to three sides depicting extinct vertebrates including marine reptiles and fish, the upper stage of the dado with land creatures such as a Woolly Mammoth, Pterodactyl, a giant Toad, and Iguanadons, supporting the plain shaft with carved acanthus leaves, the upper section is carved with three figural groups of man and woman supporting the candle dish.

"The unusual depiction of this column - the story of evolution - is perhaps considered a conflict of beliefs, especially in the late 19th century, when the church officially opposed Darwin's theory. However in the 'Dedication of the Font and Baptistery' given in 1900 by the church chaplain, the 'candlestick' is described as "a masterpiece... It is a version of Creation revised up to date. It is an overture to Science to come and make her home with us. It proclaims the reconciliation between research and religion. They have divorced too long." The symbolism embodied in the candlestick is plain to see. Man, the pinnacle of evolution and of God's creation. The plain shaft, symbolic of the extent of unknown knowledge that still separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdoms in the fossil record."

Candle stand on SalvoWEB

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