Pair of George III ‘Gout à la Turque’ Bronze, Gilt-Bronze and Marble Candlesticks
each nozzle held aloft by a robed and turbaned Turkish figure, the drum-shaped Ste. Anne marble plinths faced by Turkish symbols incorporating crescent moons and raised on white marble bases
From the time that the Elector Christian I of Saxony ordered a room in his Dresden Palace to be set aside to display the Wettin collection of Ottoman weaponry in the late 16th century, the decorative value of an idealised European vision of life in the Sublime Porte (rather than a taste for Turkish art itself – Iznik tiles seem to have had little influence on European Turquerie), took hold. The Cabinet Turc seemed to reach its apogée in late 18th century France – Marie-Antoinette set one up at Fontainebleau, and her brother-in-law, the Comte d’Artois, had no less than three – two at Versailles and one at the Temple. The emphasis in these intimate rooms seemed to be comfort and luxury, and England didn’t escape – ardent francophile William Beckford had a short-lived Turkish Room at the very end of the 18th century at Fonthill Splendens, the great Palladian Palace built by his father, Alderman Beckford, and soon to be demolished when his son embraced the gothic revival. It’s tempting to imagine the present candlesticks lighting the young Beckford’s cabinet, a symphony in tangerine-coloured satin, according to contemporary reports.
The figures of the present candlesticks are probably influenced by the costume publications of the Comte de Ferriol (1714) and Thomas Jefferys (1757) with illustrations based on images by Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671-1737) and Joseph-Marie Vien (1716-1809)