Candelabrum from "Bigelow Chapel" pattern mantel set


William Shaw ( American, 1845 - 1900 )

patented 1848
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General Description

In 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just six miles from Boston, opened as America's first planned, landscaped burial ground. Referred to by Andrew Jackson Downing as "The Athens of New England," it was a park suitable for afternoon strolls as well as for burying the dead. It is not surprising that the Bigelow Chapel at Mt. Auburn would become the subject for decorative candlesticks, nor is it surprising that they would be made in Boston. Cast on the base of each are the words "W. F. SHAW / 270 WASH'N ST / BOSTON / PATENT / DEC 18 1848." William F. Shaw is first listed in the 1845 Boston city directory and seems to have worked in the city through 1851.

This particular model is Shaw's most important and one of the best examples of Neo-Gothic lighting ever produced in this country. Examples like this that survive with their original gilding and crystals are extremely rare. One of the few other known examples is at Washington Irving's home, Sleepy Hollow, in Tarrytown, New York.

Adapted from

DMA unpublished material.

Web Resources

National Parks Service
Read about Mount Auburn Cemetery and see the Bigelow Chapel.