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American Decorative Arts

Pair of Toy Candlesticks

ca. 1680–90


each: 2 1/2 × 1 3/4 in. (6.4 × 4.4 cm)
base: 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
A fashion for elaborate dollhouses originated in late seventeenth-century Holland and spread to England and the American colonies. These were not amusements for children but for wealthy women who outfitted them with sumptuous furnishings executed in miniature. Some colonial goldsmiths specialized in “toys and jewels,” which they imported from London or made locally. These candlesticks are from an assembled set of silver toys owned by Bethiah Shrimpton (1681–1713) of Boston.
Probably made in England
On view
17th century
Toys and Games

Originally owned by Bethiah Shrimpton (1681-1713), Boston, MA; her niece, Elizabeth (Hunt) Wendell (1717-1779); her daughter, Elizabeth (Wendell) Smith (1742-1779); her daughter, Elizabeth (Smith) Stevens (1795-1860); her daughter, Mary Eliza (Stevens) Pride; Mrs. Charles W. Lord; he granddaughter, Mrs. A. Ralph Stephan; Francis P. Garvan, New York, to 1935; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 314–17, no. 544.

Barbara M. Ward and Gerald W. R. Ward, eds., Silver in American Life: Selections from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1979), 108, no. 98, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.