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A rare Scottish silver Arm Badge for the Incorporation of Candlemakers in Edinburgh


A rare George III Scottish silver Arm Badge, Edinburgh 1809, by Patrick Cunningham and Sons, the front engraved with the coat-of-arms of the Incorporation of Candlemakers in Edinburgh above an inscription: ‘John Cowan DEACON,. John Currie Treasurer. 1810.’ Around the coat-of-arms and inscription is a bright-cut band of foliage and flower-heads with four roundles, each engraved with a dove of peace [as in the arms].
The reverse of the badge is applied with four loops for securing to a sleeve.
The Incorporation of Candlemakers in Edinburgh was ranked fifteenth amongst the various Incorporations of the city. As newly invented oil lamps gained in popularity in the early 19th century, and thereafter with the introduction of gas-lighting, the prosperity and numbers of the membership declined and the Incorporation, after many years of dwindling, closed in 1884.

Records of the Incorporation are retained in the National Library of Scotland [MS.216-277]. A detailed history of the Candlemakers appeared in the ‘Book of the Old Edinburgh Club‘ [vol XVII] and can be found on the website of the recently revived Incorporation of Candleholders. John Cowan’s candle-making premises were opposite the foot of Forrester’s Wynd. He was re-elected as Deacon in 1821. In 1825, he announced from Candlemakers’ Hall that ‘In consequences of the great advance in the price of Tallow, the PRICES of CANDLES are ADVANCED One shilling per Stone.’
In 1819 the Candlemakers invested £36 in the purchase of a gold badge and chain to be worn by the Deacon but, within a few years, they were forced to debate its sale to raise funds. The gold badge has disappeared and very little remains of the old Incorporation regalia. Candlemakers’ Hall, bought by the Incorporation in 1733, survives but was reconstructed in the 20th century.

SKU: O5586 Category:



Generally good, with crisp engraving,  but the inner badge has, at some stage, become detached from the outer frame, leaving part of the inner piece above the outer on one side. There is also ancient lead solder at the top and bottom visible only on the reverse.


Height – 19.80 cm.; Width – 14.70 cm.; Weight – 351.70 gms.

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