Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 25 items Explore
  • 35 items
  • 25 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 89 items
  • 3,454 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 42 items
  • 11,034 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,235 items Explore
  • 8,499 items Explore
  • 5,050 items Explore
  • 72 items Explore
  • 167 items Explore
  • 10,620 items Explore
  • 13,625 items Explore
  • 4,646 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 153 items Explore
  • 2,038 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,757 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 437 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 19,203 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,900 items Explore
  • 1,113 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 4,596 items Explore
  • 456 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 920 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 19,350 items Explore
  • 791 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 800 items
  • 25 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 319 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 145 items
  • 2 items
  • 7 items
  • 121 items Explore
  • 119 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 800 items
  • 95 items
  • 27 items
  • 108 items
  • 27,833 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,837 items Explore
  • 1,519 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 158 items Explore
  • 9,712 items Explore
  • 9,685 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,138 items Explore
  • 7,439 items Explore
  • 4,375 items Explore
  • 1,512 items Explore
  • 930 items Explore
  • 3,493 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 334 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,434 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 354 items Explore
  • 797 items Explore
  • 1,095 items Explore
  • 510 items Explore
  • 1,047 items Explore
  • 1,138 items
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 6,953 items Explore
  • 170 items
  • 310 items
  • 4 items
  • 27 items
  • 61 items
  • 304 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,923 items Explore
  • 1,575 items Explore
  • 82 items
  • 43 items
  • 19,430 items Explore
  • 1,241 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 1,533 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 1 items
  • 132 items Explore
  • 24 items
  • 40 items
  • 20 items
  • 252 items
  • 314 items
  • 747 items Explore
  • 1,897 items
  • 349 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,426 items
  • 2,525 items
  • 3 items
  • 3 items
  • 3 items
  • 4,390 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 34,207 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,285 items Explore
  • 274 items Explore
  • 8,059 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 731 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 161 items
  • 52 items
  • 21,728 items Explore
  • 916 items
  • 18 items
  • 22,121 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,331 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,052 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 59 items
  • 499 items
  • 3,289 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 453 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 21 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 76 items
  • 281 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 128 items
  • 295 items
  • 736 items
  • 868 items
  • 1 items
  • 369 items Explore
  • 272 items Explore
  • 11,395 items Explore
  • 760 items Explore
  • 6,038 items Explore
  • 10 items
  • 7,397 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 5,363 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,732 items Explore
  • 9,201 items Explore
  • 7,745 items Explore
  • 201 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 1,024 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 4,097 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,096 items Explore
  • 223 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,495 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 696 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 134 items
  • 6,327 items Explore
  • 14,235 items Explore
  • 3,127 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 8 items
  • 9,318 items Explore
  • 37 items
  • 2 items
  • 21,320 items Explore
  • 131 items
  • 38 items
  • 13,166 items Explore
  • 3,387 items Explore
  • 2,291 items Explore
  • 44 items
  • 41,330 items Explore
  • 638 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 23,281 items Explore
  • 218 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 27 items
  • 256 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 13,207 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 10,261 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 14 items
  • 25 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,533 items Explore
  • 918 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 38 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 220 items
  • 702 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,284 items Explore
  • 1,662 items Explore
  • 15 items
  • 1,928 items Explore
  • 151 items
  • 84 items
  • 772 items Explore
  • 3,310 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 17 items
  • 12 items
  • 10,646 items Explore
  • 23,091 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,374 items
  • 180 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 92 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,323 items Explore
  • 3,571 items Explore
  • 2,644 items Explore
  • 4,776 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 45 items
  • 6,901 items Explore
  • 4,795 items Explore
  • 271 items Explore
  • 2,300 items Explore
  • 2,923 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,864 items Explore
  • 291 items
  • 223 items Explore
  • 448 items Explore
  • 6,122 items Explore
  • 8,817 items Explore
  • 1,855 items Explore
  • 5,797 items Explore
  • 3,344 items Explore
  • 11,070 items Explore
  • 86 items
  • 11 items
  • 1,644 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 5 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,855 items Explore
  • 620 items Explore
  • 62 items
  • 17 items
  • 151 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 87 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 464 items
  • 996 items Explore
  • 3,604 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,405 items Explore
  • 48 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 42 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,712 items Explore
  • 1,163 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 10,566 items Explore
  • 1,005 items Explore
  • 1,924 items
  • 6,886 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,944 items Explore
  • 1,418 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 9,584 items Explore
  • 16,276 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,670 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 58 items
  • 5,684 items Explore
  • 8,787 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 25 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 3 items
  • 7,378 items Explore
  • 402 items Explore
  • 13 items
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 103 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 5 items
  • 480 items
  • 299 items Explore
  • 8,367 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 23,175 items Explore
  • 7,350 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 26 items
  • 3,869 items Explore
  • 465 items
  • 339 items Explore
  • 12,691 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 20 items
  • 7 items
  • 4 items
  • 315 items Explore
  • 434 items
  • 183 items
  • 3,704 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,227 items Explore
  • 2,494 items Explore
  • 732 items Explore
  • 36 items
  • 1,135 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 72,970 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,065 items Explore
  • 2,845 items Explore
  • 26 items
  • 3,610 items Explore
  • 1,832 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 17,273 items Explore
  • 5,508 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 633 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 1 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 76 items
  • 29 items
  • 335 items
  • 3 items
  • 41 items
  • 1,176 items Explore
  • 109 items
  • 805 items
  • 17 items
  • 11,014 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 13 items
  • 1,566 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 214 items
  • 16,818 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 9 items
  • 8 items
  • 324 items
  • 2 items
  • 628 items Explore
  • 1,587 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 1,034 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 261 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

A torchère

probably British (English) School

Category

Furniture

Date

c. 1675

Materials

Painted and gilt softwood

Measurements

127.4 x 36.8 x 32 cm

Place of origin

England

Order this image

Collection

Ham House, Surrey (Accredited Museum)

NT 1140088.1

Summary

A torchère, one of a pair, painted and gilt softwood, in the form of a man, British School, probably made in England, in around 1675 (before 1677). The ebonised figures wear feathered skirts painted red and gilt, anklets and bracelets with gilt bells, gilt turbans, and gilt quivers containing arrows slung across the torso. Surmounting the turbans are capitals, richly carved with acanthus, painted and gilt. Balanced on top of the capitals are large trays in the form of tambourines, painted and gilt. The figures’ arms are aloft, their hands gently supporting the tambourines. The figures mounted on circular pedestals carved with baroque scrolls, on paw feet, the whole gilt.

Full description

This pair of torchères is identified in the Ham House inventory of 1677 as the ‘Two Indean stands’ in the Great Dining Room (now the Round Gallery), and in the 1683 inventory as ‘Two blackamore stands’. They were presumably acquired by Elizabeth Maitland (nee Murray), Duchess of Lauderdale and 2nd Countess of Dysart (1626-98). Both stands were re-gilded and redecorated by the cabinet-maker George Nix circa 1729-30 (bill to the 4th Earl of Dysart ‘For new Gilding & Japanning 2 fine Indian Figures…£4’). Their maker is unknown, but furniture historian Adam Bowett has pointed out that whilst 'it is usual to state that blackamoor stands were 'Venetian', and although many were apparently made in Venice in the nineteenth century, there is no reason to suppose that [the pair at Ham] are anything other than English.' The figures derive from a European aesthetic tradition known as the ‘blackamoor’, a conflation of the Black African and Muslim ‘Moor’. The motif has existed in European decorative art since the medieval period but developed into a recognisable type in Italy, chiefly Venice, in the 17th century. In England, as early as 1638 Sir Henry Slingsby had 'a blackamore cast in led [sic] holding in either hand a candlestick to set a candle to give light to ye staircase'. In art the ‘blackamoor’ is usually a representation of a Black African in exotic and orientalised costume, here a feathered skirt and turban. Highly stylised and entirely imaginary, their identities combine various stereotypes from the ‘non-European’ – i.e. African, Asian, and occasionally Native American – ‘other’. The motif is found across western material culture from ceramics to silverware, heraldry to jewellery, furniture to sculpture, architecture, painting and print (e.g. NT 413922, 452977, 936871, 118826, 129512, 802613, 1139940). As in this example, the ‘blackamoor’ was often posed in service, literally functioning as a tray, box or clock holder, a torchère, or as a motif carved into the supportive elements of furniture. The ornamental ‘blackamoor’ belongs to a range of objects marketed in Europe to signify colonial prosperity, which, from the 17th century, became increasingly dependent on the Transatlantic slave trade. Such figures were designed in European workshops for elite domestic settings and were displayed with other luxury goods purchased, imported, and collected from across the globe. The Duchess of Lauderdale's second husband John Maitland (1616-82) was a powerful figure in Charles II’s inner cabinet. In 1663, Lauderdale was a signatory to the Royal charter founding the Royal English Merchant Adventurers Company Trading to Africa, (later the Royal African Company) which had a monopoly on the trading of ivory, gold and slaves along the west coast of Africa. Lauderdale held official positions which connected him closely to trade and early colonialism, including Commissioner of the Council of Trade (from 1668), Commissioner of the Council of Plantations (from 1671) and when founded in 1675, one of the Lords of Trade and Plantations. For comparable figures see Knole (NT 129512), a Venetian or possibly English pair from the same period, with tambourines. A similar candlestand was exhibited in ‘Baroque, Style in the Age of Magnificence’, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2009 (cat.no. 156).

Provenance

Listed in the Great Dining Room (now the Round Gallery) in the 1677 inventory: 'Two Indean stands'; in 1683 : 'Two blackamore stands'; acquired in 1948 by HM Government when Sir Lyonel, 4th Bt (1854 – 1952) and Sir Cecil Tollemache, 5th Bt (1886 – 1969) presented Ham House to the National Trust, and entrusted to the care of the Victoria & Albert Museum, until 1990, when returned to the care of the National Trust, and to which ownership was transferred in 2002.

Makers and roles

probably British (English) School, wood carver

References

Rowell 2013 Christopher Rowell (ed.), Ham House 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage, Yale, 2013, p.283 Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 4 April to 19 June 2009., p.306; cat 156 Shohat 2018: Ella Shohat, 'The Spectre of the Blackamoor', The Comparatist, vol. 42, October 2018, pp. 158-88. Bowett 2002: Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, 2002, pp.124-5

View more details