Established in 1236 by Henry III, the heraldic title and courtly position of Knight Marshall inspired this wonderful pair of Victorian silver gilt candlesticks by famed father and son silversmiths Charles and George Fox.
Distinguished by his baton of office, the Knight Marshal and his marshalmen were responsible for maintaining order within a 12 mile radius of the royal palace at Whitehall under the auspices of the King’s Court (or Marshalsea). In addition to ceremonial duties – notably at moments of national crisis such as the public proclamation of war – he held powers of arrest in the name of the crown. From the reign of Henry VIII, the Knight Marshal acted as deputy to the Earl Marshal, one of the great offices of State.
The role of Knight Marshal ended with the abolition of the King’s Court in 1849 suggesting that the candlesticks were made for the last holder of the post, the eccentric Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb Bt. An ardent medievalist, collector and antiquarian, Lamb is possibly most celebrated today for penning and publishing a medieval romance populated by his own collection of guinea pigs. The History of Winnipeg from the foundation to the Present time BY ROYAL COMMAND eventually ran to eight miniature volumes and starred Lamb’s guinea pigs as knights, dukes and ladies of the court. The guinea pigs themselves lived in medieval splendour in a purpose built miniature crenellated castle at Lamb’s Sussex seat Beauport.
It was Lamb who urged his half brother Archibald Montgomery, 13th Earl of Eglinton to host the famous Eglinton Tournament in 1839 (see blog). Naturally, Lamb figured as “Knight Marshal of the Lists” in which role he separated Lord Waterford and Lord Alford when their mock joust turned ugly. Lamb was celebrated in the magnificent silver centrepiece later commissioned to mark the event where the Knight Marshal with his baton and supported by a squire and party is among the figures encircling the impressive trophy.
Alternatively, the candlesticks may have been ordered by a member of the Marshall family who still display the distinctive figure of the Knight Marshal as their family crest.
In addition to the candlesticks, several other items of antique silver are currently available for sale at myfamilysilver.com decorated with the Marshall family crest, including sets of spoons and a pair of forks. See more.