A Master of Neoclassicism

Two silver candelabras created by Matthew Boulton in Birmingham, England in 1784, identifiable by his double starburst mark on the lower rim, dress the dining room table at Hills & Dales Estate. They hold tall, white tapers, and are the perfect accompaniment for an arrangement of beautiful seasonal flowers from the garden.

Boulton is known in the antiques world as a premier maker of fine Neoclassical silver, particularly excelling in “Old Sheffield Plate” silverwares. A 2011 publication entitled, “The Age of Matthew Boulton, Masterpieces of Neoclassicism,” paid him great homage by illustrating a collection of his objects along with great neoclassical furniture. However, Boulton was much more than a producer of silverwares. According to Sir Nicholas Goodison, a Boulton scholar, he was “intensely ambitious, restless, farsighted, shrewd, and intelligent…an entrepreneur, an innovator, a problem solver, a perfectionist.” Goodison further said, “if he’d done nothing more in the world, his name would deserve to be immortalized.” Wow, what an epitaph that would make! While some might think of him only for his silver works, his name should also come to mind when you think of steam engines. The world has not been the same since 1768, when Boulton saved James Watt from bankruptcy in exchange for rights to produce the engine that changed the world.

All this adulation emphasizes the importance of the two silver candelabras in Hills & Dales Estate’s collection passed on by Fuller and Alice Callaway and, most importantly, their appreciation of fine objects d’art.


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