Dresden Procelain Candlesticks
A pair of ornate Dresden candlesticks are this month’s featured artifacts. The pieces, dated to the first quarter of the twentieth century by Butterfield & Butterfield Auctioneers & Appraisers, have an interesting history. Once owned by R. F. Pettigrew, the porcelain candlesticks were passed down to a granddaughter of Roberta Hollister Smith Pettigrew. A chance discovery of the granddaughter’s existence led to the loan of the candlesticks and a number of other Pettigrew household items to the Siouxland Heritage Museums in 1986. Five years later, the loaned pieces were purchased by the Museums for the collections. A successful fund-raising campaign helped to cover the cost of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It was apparent that over the years both pieces had suffered breaks, with repairs presumably made by the owner prior to the original loan. By late 2013, each candlestick had experienced yet another break, one figure losing a head and the other an arm. Conservation treatment of the two items was approved by the Museums Board the following fall, and the candlesticks were transported to the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha in early 2015. For a combined cost of $2,800.00, treatment proposals were prepared and both pieces were cleaned, repaired and inpainted by a conservator. The candlesticks returned to Sioux Falls in August 2016 and are currently on exhibit in the Pettigrew Home back parlor. If you are interested in contributing to future artifact conservation efforts, please contact the Museums for more information at 367-4210.