Chandeliers

 

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Chandeliers

Published in the UK by Mitchell Beazley, in France (as 'Lustres') by Hachette, in the USA by Bulfinch

 

In the world of lighting, the chandelier is the crowning glory of any room. But in the world of contemporary lighting, with LEDs, halogen, and computer-controlled systems, do we still want chandeliers in our homes? In practical terms, perhaps we don't actually NEED them, but in decorative terms we most resoundingly do  WANT chandeliers to give our rooms the definitive statement of style and glamour.

The chandelier is in fashion once again, with a wide range of artists and creative craftspeople taking the form and reinventing it as a personal expression. Today's chandeliers are made of glass and metal, as before, but also from vintage kitchenalia, porcelain, frayed fabrics, fibre optics and countless other intriguing materials. Unusual materials are not entirely new - the chandelier made from human bones was not unknown in previous centuries. But the classic chandeliers of the past were made from iron, brass and. above all, glittering glass. Chandeliers explores and explains the fine forms taken by Chandeliers in the past as well as relishing the present and future.

If you are in doubt about how or where to hang a chandelier, how to care for it now and in the future, Chandeliers also explores these decorating and technical issues, providing the complete guide to this fabulous form of lighting.

 

Chapters in Chandeliers include:

  • Early Lighting
  • Brass Chandeliers
  • Venetian Glass
  • Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Elegance
  • Enlightened Eccentrics
  • Modern Masterpieces
  • Decorating with Chandeliers
  • Caring for your Fitting
  • Technical Tips
  • Glossary

 

 

 

 

This spread sums up for me the range of contemporary chandeliers, from glass magnificence in the great Venetian tradition embodied in the amazing organic creations of Dale Chihuly (left), to the soft delicacy of Sharon Marston's sensual frayed fabric creations (right). Other masters of the modern chandelier are Ingo Maurer (his exploding broken china is one of my favourites) and Gino Sarfatti of the Milan-based lighting company Arteluce (his mid-19th century designs are still sold by Flos).

This was a fascinating book to research and write because the range of chandeliers is so huge, from very early examples through to the latest technology. One of the most interesting recent advances is in the flickering-light technology offered by Kevin McCloud's company (developed by his father, I believe). This uses sensors to detect the same movement of air that would cause a candle to flicker and reproduces this movement of light using tiny bulbs in faux candles. Ideal for recreating the romance of candle-light without any of the bother and mess of using real candles, and perfect in historic buildings where fire and safety issues are paramount.

My aim in writing this book was certainly to provide an overview of the history of this beautiful lighting device, bringing it to life with details and anecdotes, but also to enthuse my readers about the modern possibilities of the chandelier. It seems entirely appropriate that the chandelier has experienced such a resurgence of interest lately - long may it last!