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Royal Yacht Squadron - A set of four Elkington & Co. Candlesticks
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Royal Yacht Squadron - A set of four Elkington & Co. Candlesticks

Circa 1868

Measurements: Height: 24cm (9.5in)

£1250

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Silver plated candlesticks from Lord Londonderry’s Royal Yacht Squadron steam yacht 'Cornelia', each heavily weighted and with nautically themed rope twist decoration. Each engraved on the upper part of the base, 'R.Y.S. Cornelia', and bearing the maker’s mark of Elkington & Company to edge of each base.

The Royal Yacht Squadron Screw Steamer Cornelia (158 feet) was built for Earl Vane (1821-1884) by Palmer & Co. of Jarrow http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/140440.html. She was launched in 1868 and named for Mary Cornelia, Countess Vane whose likeness adorned the figurehead. In 1872 Earl Vane succeeded his half-brother to become the 5th Marquess of Londonderry. He was Commodore of the Royal Western from 1861 to 1875 when he was succeeded by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).  At the Royal Yacht Squadron he was one of ‘the band of real sailors’, aka the ‘sailing lords’, who valued sport over the fashionable revelries that began to dominate summer seasons in the Solent in the 1870s. He was Vice Commodore of the Squadron from 1876, and in 1881 hoped to succeed Lord Wilton as Commodore, but an approach had been made to the Prince of Wales. Londonderry was duly the Prince of Wales’s proposer at the Commodore election meeting held at Willis’s Rooms in King Street, St. James’s. At the time of his death Lord Londonderry was noted as having joined the club as ‘Lord Seaham, with the Wave cutter, as early as 1846 ... and the owner of a fine succession of vessels ending with the Cornelia steam yacht, of 500 tons, upon which he practised lavish hospitality.’

R.Y.S. Cornelia was subsequently sold to Sir William Mackinnon, founder of the British East Africa Company, who entertained the King Leopold of the Belgians on board during a cruise of the Western Isles in 1888. According to the Dundee Courier of 8 January 1908, she was later purchased by a Mr Gibb of Bervie and fitted with large freshwater tanks in which her new owner intended import live salmon from Labrador.

Elkington & Co. was founded by the Birmingham businessman George Richards Elkington (1801-1865) and his brother, Henry Elkington, in the 1830s. Up to 1840, silver plated goods were made only by rolling and soldering thin sheets of silver on copper - a process used in Sheffield to produce Sheffield Plate. In 1840 a Birmingham surgeon discovered solutions of cyanides and of gold and silver in potassium cyanide was the best liquids for electro-plating. The Elkingtons took out a patent embodying this process in 1844. They also bought a process invented by J.S. Woolwich in 1842, that depended on Farraday's 1830 discovery of magneto-electricity. After seven years of development Elkington emerged as the leader in the field of electroplating and enjoyed commercial success, and won royal warrants. The firm operated under the name G. R. Elkington & Co. until 1842 and as Elkington & Co. from 1861.
 

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