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A History of the Chandelier - Part 2

The Neoclassical Style & Other Revivals

Following the French Revolution, the French First Empire (1804-1815) led by Napoleon I was established. Up until this point, the fall of the

house of Bourbon was to bring about significant changes in design. This reflected the shifting culture of the time characterised by growing disillusionment with the old ruling elite and increasing interest in the concept of democracy.

Chandeliers made in this style drew heavily on the aesthetic of ancient Greece and Rome, incorporating clean lines, classical proportions and mythological creatures. The fashion for neoclassical design was felt all across Europe during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

During the nineteenth century that France began producing high quality glass chandeliers. In particular,

the glass manufacturer Baccarat started making chandeliers out of lead glass in the 1820s, and has since become perhaps the most famous and successful producers of fine crystal in the world. Baccarat chandeliers are characterised by their clean lines and dense hanging prisms. Excellent examples can be seen in the Musée Baccarat in Paris.

The English Glass Chandelier

England has a distinctive history in terms of chandelier production. In 1676, “flint glass” was created and patented by glass merchant George Ravenscroft. This contained

a high percentage of lead oxide which improved the clarity of the glass and made it easier to cut, resulting in better refractive surfaces and prisms which created a glistening rainbow effect (Mccaffety, 2006). As a result of this innovation, England began producing the highest quality glass chandeliers of the time.

“English” style chandeliers followed the designs of the brass ball-stem made famous by the Dutch Old Masters. The metal components, typically made of gilt or silvered, were limited to the main shaft, receiver bowl and receiver plate. Glass arms were fixed onto the receiver plates, twisted downwards at the base and then upwards with a holder and drip-pan for the candles being attached at the far end.

The Georgian Period

The size of chandeliers increased considerably during this period.

One particular chandelier fashioned by Parker for Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales, was fifteen feet tall. Significantly, Parker discovered that tapering the arms of large chandeliers was advantageous in terms of reducing the leverage of the sockets (Smith, 1994). Another important point about Parker’s chandeliers is that they were the first to include a reference to their maker. Name stamps became increasingly common from this point on, which reflected the growing importance of certain designers and manufacturers at the time and which now makes it easier to identify and attribute chandeliers.

Venetian Chandeliers

Venetian chandeliers are the product of

the exceptional glass-making industry of Murano, a small island near Venice. The golden age of Murano glass production roughly spans the fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries.

Venetian glass is melted and moulded which makes it more malleable, lending itself to intricate designs and also a softer appearance.

Twentieth Century and Modern-Day Chandeliers

It is important to emphasise that throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the great historic European chandelier styles have remained remarkably resilient.

The chandelier did fall out of favour in design circles around the late twentieth century, owing to the fact it was considered to be at odds with the preference for modern minimalist interiors. In today’s modern homes, traditional chandeliers are increasingly placed in simple contemporary settings to create a striking juxtaposition between old and new.

Jupiter Lightz carries quite a number of beautiful chandeliers on our website. Happy Shopping.

Source: Italian Lighting Centre Ltd.

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