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Pair Blue John and Ormolu Candelabra

(England c. 1800)


Width 39.00cm 15.35 inches
Height 52.00cm 20.47 inches
Artists MATTHEW BOULTON (worked from 1774)
Other Details
Price gbp 35000.00 (Pound Sterling)

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Description / Expertise

A fine pair of Blue John and ormolu three light candelabra in neo-classical design. The ormolu possibly manufactured at Soho, near Birmingham from the workshop of Matthew Boulton. Blue John was first discovered over two thousand years ago by the Romans and is an unusual mineral from the area around the Mam Tor Mountain in a hillside near Castleton in Derbyshire. This is the only know location where Blue John can be found, though other types of fluorspars are mined throughout the world. The name 'Blue John'is believed to derive from the French 'bleu jaune', meaning 'blue-yellow' and it is characterized by bands of blue/purple and yellow/white coloured veins. It is a difficult material to work with as the stone is soft, brittle, and can be altered in colouration by excessive heating. Because of its rarity, the material is no longer used on a grand scale. Presently only approximately one quarter of a ton is excavated each year and is primarily for jewellery and small objects. In the late 18th century local industry centred around the production of decorative objects in Blue John such as vase, urns, obelisks, and mantel garnitures. These were sometimes embellished with gilt-bronze mounts. One of the most proficient users of the stone was Matthew Boulton. He worked extensively in Derbyshire marbles and fluorspars to produce a variety of decorative objects like, urns, candelabra, cassolettes, and perfume burners. Bolton’s technical skills can be seen by applying gilt-bronze mounts to this very delicate stone in some of the finest British houses around the country, such as Chatsworth, and Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.