We are honored by circumstances to provide a truly unique opportunity for investors,collectors or museum acquisition personnel to acquire this pair of highly important, historically documented, Royal Silver candlesticks from the table services of "Frederick The Great" - King of Prussia 1740 to 1786. The candlesticks were made by the very important and prestigious Royal Court Goldsmith, Christian Lieberkuhn the younger (Berlin 1709-1769) about 1745 .
Each candlestick has engraved on the baluster stem the Royal Prussian cypher with the monogram "FR" (Fredericus Rex), and Royal crest and crown. The maker's mark "Lieberkuhn," town Hallmark, "Standing Bear" in oval (for Berlin), and Assayer's test marks are stamped in the well beneath the bases. The candlesticks stand about 5-3/4 inches tall, have a 4 inch spreading octagonal base, and together weigh approximately 14 ounces Troy.
A question about the nozzles posed by an interested party led me to research the issue and I have since been adding and correcting information that I can rely upon as accurate and factual.
During my research I found only one reference to the nozzles in question, of which this set has none. It is a fact that the nozzles on similar candlesticks made by Christian Lieberkuhn the younger are "fixed" to the sockets, but the only reference I found related to the matter states that during an inventory count of the Royal Prussian Silver by Frederick William lll (no specific date mentioned), some of the candlestick nozzles were not fixed to them. Also, none of the nozzles on any of the Lieberkuhn the younger's candlesticks bore a maker's mark or any other marks by which to make attribution to a maker or be able to date them.
Christian Lieberkuhn, the younger, used an early 18th century George l model for the creation of the small, individual table setting candlesticks. It is a well known fact that Frederick The Great was personally engaged in defining the specific style and designs for his table services and it is clear that his preference was to maintain the simplicity his father, King Frederick William l had chosen for his table services. And, as the case may be, the model Lieberkuhn used has been identified by all Silver experts and decorative art scholars as being of the "Early Georgian era."
Candlesticks of the George l era, be they made of Silver, Brass or even Gold, appear to lack nozzles in general. I find no documentation, evidence or even an inference that Frederick The Great ever placed an order for the production of nozzles to be added to the table service candlesticks during his reign.
According to historical records, current documentation and images available, except for this pair (and to the best of my knowledge at this time), every other candlestick of this type made by Christian Lieberkuhn the younger for Frederick The Great have been "altered" either by permanently fixing the nozzles to them with no record of when it was done or by whom the nozzles were made, and, the weight and/or assay scratch marks had been engraved on the face of the bases after the death of Frederick ll.
This set of candlesticks represents the only examples to exist in the original state that they were created and intended to be displayed and used at the dinner tables of Frederick The Great, and may very well have been used at the Schloss Sanssouci Palace during the King's famous "table talks" where he entertained many notable dignitaries and guests such as Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as "Voltaire," the Enlightenment historian and philosopher among them.
Several single candlesticks of this type, also made by Christian Lieberkuhn the younger for Frederick The Great's table services, but with alterations mentioned, have been sold at some of the major auction houses in recent times and consistently fetched about $40,000.00 each.
Villa Grisebach (Berlin), July 4, 2015 - Lot No. 3345;
Christie's (King Street London), Oct. 31, 2002 - Sale 669, Lot No. 28 (See also Lot No. 29 - similar Candlesticks for Frederick Wilhelm).
Parke Bernet, New York, 20 April 1946, lot 4, (four by Lieberkühn)
Christie's, London, 16 June 1967, lot 173, (two with mark of "MÜLLER", four by Liberkühn)
Christie's, New York, 18 April 1989, lot 277 (maker's mark FW over "MÜLLER")
Christie's, New York, 21 October 1993, lot 41 (two by MÜLLER, one by Lieberkühn, and a fourth (19th century) example by Hossauer)
Literature: Wolfgang Scheffler: Berliner Goldschmiede, Berlin 1968, p. 107 (566/119i) / exh. cat., Hanau, Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus, 1985: Kaiserliches Gold und Silber. Schätze der Hohenzollern aus dem Schloß Huis Doorn, Berlin 1985, p. 73f., cat. no. 56, ill. p. 75 (H. Schadt) (similar candlestick p. 74).
As best I have been able to determine with the information available, there are less than 10 candlesticks of this type in private hands, including this pair, that were made specifically for Frederick The Great by Christian Lieberkuhn the younger. Again, however, it appears that this pair are the only ones existent in the original state they were in when created.
Candlestick one has a very strong and clear engraving of the royal monogram and crest. There are 2 tiny dimples on the lower section of the shaft, one just beneath the cypher and the other on the right side panel. The shaft also has a slight tilt to the right. The candlestick, overall, has light, superficial surface scratches and other faint marks from use. The maker's mark is very clear, but partial. The Assay test marks/scratches are prominent. The Town Hallmark is very well defined with clear details.This candlestick is extra fine.
Candlestick two has a rubbed engraving of the cypher monogram and crest, but it is still clearly recognizable. The socket has 2 small overlapping gouge marks, which may actually be test marks of some sort. It also has some very small abrasions and superficial surface scratches. The Maker's mark is extremely well defined and crisp, as the Town Hallmark is also. The Assayer's test marks are minimal (compared to those on candlestick one), but are clearly present and may also account for the gouge marks on the nozzle. Overall, this candlestick is in very good condition.
Note: The Berlin town Hallmark on both pieces is represented by a figure of a standing bear in an oval. This well documented mark was used in Berlin after 1735, but before 1750. All maker, town and assay marks are found in the well area, under the bases of each candlestick.
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