William III Silver Chamberstick

Date: 1696

Maker: Pierre Harache

Country: England


A rare early English silver chamberstick (or “go to bed”) with the solid design and heavy gauge silver you'd expect from this date. Sterling silver. It has the early form with flat teardrop handle. The circular pan has a gadrooned border and ribbed sconce, all mounted on three small stump feet. Hand engraved to the centre are 3 ornamental cyphers. Weight 222 grams, 7.1 troy ounces. Diameter 10.8 cm, 4.25 inches. Length 17 cms. London 1696. Maker Pierre Harache.

Literature: The hand engraved ornamental cyphers, presumably family members’, are typical of the 1690-1720 period and very similar to those on the 1695 toilet set by Pierre Harache – see photo.

Chambersticks first made an appearance in the 17th century and early examples are now very hard to find. Originally they were made in sets as a household would need many chamber sticks. They were used for lighting the way to bed and because of the movement created when they were carried about they needed a large drip pan to catch the wax. The earliest examples have straight handles (first flat, then tubular) which were superceded in the first part of the 18th century by a ring handle. Gradually the design evolved and from the mid 18th century onwards they usually had a matching conical snuffer although from about 1790 onwards some were made with an aperture at the base of the stem to take a pair of scissor snuffers.

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