The John Ridley Testimonial Candelabrum

Julius Schomburgk (1812-1893)
silver, gold, malachite, blackwood
  The University of Adelaide Visual Art Collection, South Australia
EMu user since 2013

A&H Ridley's CandelabrumJulius Schomburgk was a leading South Australian silversmith and this is one of the most spectacular examples of his work. A committed exponent of Victorian naturalism, and brother of the noted botanist Moritz Richard Schomburgk (second director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide), he incorporated in his designs a vast range of sculptural motifs representing Australian flora and fauna in combination with figures of Aborigines.

The Candelabrum was presented by the colonists of South Australia to John Ridley for his help in saving the colony from bankruptcy in the 1840s. Ridley invented an agricultural reaping machine which enabled crops to be reaped mechanically; combs and beaters swept off the heads of wheat and the labour intensive and time-consuming operations of binding, carrying and stacking were avoided. Ridley refused to take out a patent on his invention, thereby allowing the colony to receive its financial benefits and thus to prosper.

Acknowledgements: Gift of Miss JT Ridley to the University of Adelaide’s Waite Agricultural Research Institute, 1930. Photograph by Grant Hancock.