The dominant figure in the Hudson's Bay Company in the nineteenth century was Sir George Simpson. He was the Governor of the northern and southern departments of the Company, was the Superintendent of the North American Affairs of the Company, from 1821 to 1860, and in that time strategized much of what was being done in the fur trade and in the other ventures of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1840-41, the Chief Traders and Chief Factors of the Hudson's Bay Company, these were the people admitted to shares who worked directly for Simpson, managing the departments and divisions of the Company, subscribed to put together this candelabra. It was to commemorate his twenty years in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company operations in North America.
It was incidentally the same year he was knighted by the Queen for his services to the British Crown through the offices of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The three figures that support the top are Aboriginal figures. One of them is a chief, one of them represents a hunter, the other an aboriginal woman with child.
What's interesting about these is that they are basically classical figures made in silver in England, but are representing aspects that were seen to be associated with the fur trade. They are symbolic of what Simpson was operating.
If you'll notice the base of the candelabra also stands on three beavers, the sort-of basis of the economic system of the Hudson's Bay Company.
So it's a nice melding of British aesthetic, British silver craftsmanship with these elements that represent the business, the core business of the Hudson's Bay Company, to celebrate the man that was directing a business.
Also associated with Sir George Simpson is the ram's head snuff mull. Snuff mulls such as this one are often associated with a particular regiment. It would be passed down. It would be where the officers would gather recreationally. They would take their brandy or port, they would take a bit of snuff as part of this.
What this game reflects is the hierarchy of the Hudson's Bay Company, this sort of British quasi-military structure with Simpson very much at the top of this.
This is made from an actual ram's head. It does have the snuff container inset in the crown of it. It also has neat little accessories that go along with it.
For instance, there is a hare's foot or a rabbit's foot that would be used to brush the excess snuff from your moustache after you've taken your snuff. There is a little rake for arranging the snuff in the pot before you took it.
So, again, something that very much reflects how the elites in the fur trade were operating, the British traditions, the quasi-paramilitary tradition that was so much evident in the organization of the Hudson's Bay Company.
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