These two candlesticks are among five surviving examples of octagonal candlesticks acquired by George Washington and distinguished by neoclassical fluting, beaded borders, and swag decoration. They were among an array of lighting devices used in the executive mansion that also included Argand lamps and silverplated candlesticks described as plain, oval, and "spangle" - the last perhaps in reference to glittering or sequin like ornament. They were fitted with removable bobeches (collars to catch dripping wax) for easy cleaning. When placed on the presidential dining table, they would have harmonized with Washington's classically inspired table ornaments, porcelain, and glassware.


Fused silverplate on copper, die-stamped candlestick with outward flaring, octagonal candle cup and tapering octagonal stem on cove-molded, octagonal base; beaded borders separate each of the distinctive sections of the candlestick; the exterior of the cup, the stem, and the top of the base are decorated with fluting; the collar at the top of the stem is stamped with a repeating swag and drapery design around all eight sides; the collar at the base of the stem is stamped with acanthus leaves; around the outer edge of the top of the base, acanthus leaves punctuate the interstices of the fluting; the base appears to be filled with resin and the void is covered with a silverplated plate affixed to the sides of the base with soft solder; the base plate has a central circular hole and three smaller circular holes placed at equidistant intervals around the outer edge of the plate.

Octagonal bobeche of fused silverplate on copper; die-stamped beaded border around edge of bezel; a stamped and curved sleeve below the bezel fits into the candle socket.


c. 1796



Fused silverplate on copper


Overall: 11 1/2 in. x 5 3/8 in. x 5 3/8 in. (29.21 cm x 13.67 cm x 13.67 cm)
Other (bobeche): 1 3/8 in. x 2 5/16 in. x 2 5/16 in. (3.51 cm x 5.87 cm x 5.87 cm)

13.7 cm29.2 cm13.7 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Purchase, 1900


Stamped inside socket, at base: a fishhook.

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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