Bat-winged dragons and ugly tiny faces


Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. {source}

Getting into the spirit, starting today with this ordinary-looking, almost boring column. But look closer…  Coade-Stone Torchère, 1809
Manufactured by Coade and Sealy, Lambeth, England, probably after a design by Thomas Hopper (1776-1856) 

This candelabrum relates to a set of ten originally made for the Gothic conservatory that Thomas Hopper designed for Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince Regent, later George IV. They are examples of the Regency taste for the fantastic, with bat-winged dragons, medieval figures peeping out between their wings, owls in flight and tiny faces with differing features and expressions encircling the column. The torchères are made from ”Coade-stone”, an artificial stone developed by Eleanor Coade in the 1760s and very popular for use in architectural ornament. 

The Huntington

July 16th, 2017

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