Queen Anne Antique Silver Chamberstick


Stock: 10161

Date: 1711

Maker: Joseph Bird

Country: England

A rare early English silver chamberstick (also known as a go to bed) with the solid design and excellent heavy...

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A rare early English silver chamberstick (also known as a go to bed) with the solid design and excellent heavy gauge silver as you’d expect from this date. It has the early form with a flat teardrop handle and a broad drip pan mounted on three small stump feet. The circular base has a decorative cartouche hand engraved with the coat of arms for the Miller baronets of Chichester, Sussex.

Weight 242 grams, 7.7 troy ounces.
Diameter 4.5cm. Length 23cm.
London 1711.
Maker Joseph Bird.
Britannia standard silver.

Marks. Stamped underneath with a full set of English silver hallmarks and scratch weight “8=5”. Owners initials “I.M” engraved below the handle.

Arms.The baronetcy was created in 1705 for Thomas Miller who died on 2 December that year. His grandson, Sir Thomas Miller, 3rd Baronet (c1688–1733), would have been about 23 when this chamberstick was commissioned, so it is perhaps more likely that his father, the first baronet’s son and heir, or another member of the family who commissioned the piece.
Sir John Miller, 2nd Baronet John (1665-1721), of North Street, Chichester was first returned to Parliament for his native borough on the interest of his father in 1698, and served intermittently until 1715. The present holder of the title is Sir Anthony Thomas Miller, 13th Baronet (born 1955). His heir apparent is Thomas Kensington Miller (born 1994).

*Britannia Standard. During 1696-1720 silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent purity. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned.

Literature. Silver chambersticks first made an appearance in the 17th century and early examples are now very hard to find. Originally they were made in sets as a household would need many chambersticks. They were used for lighting the way to bed and because of the movement created when they were carried about they needed a large drip pan to catch the wax. The earliest examples have straight handles (first flat, then tubular) which were superseded in the first part of the 18th century by a ring or flying handle. Gradually the design evolved and from the mid 18th century onwards they usually had a matching conical snuffer although from about 1790 onwards some were made with an aperture at the base of the stem to take a pair of scissor snuffers.


This superb early 18th century silver chamberstick is in very good condition. Very heavy quality and superb colour. Crisp engraving. Moderate signs of wear commensurate with age.

Maker Information

Maker: Joseph Bird

Joseph Bird (active before 1685, died 1735), London silversmith, free of the Brewers Company sometime prior to 1685. Largeworker. He entered 2 undated marks circa 1697 at the address in Foster Lane where he continued to work throughout his career. 3rd mark no date or address attributed. 4th (sterling) 1724. Some of his marks incorporate a little bird which is very charming. Joseph Bird was a specialist candlestick maker who passed down his skills to his apprentice David Green and through Green to James Gould who in turn was master to John Cafe. A worthy line of distinguished candlestick makers.

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