Oil Painting

Zanden signed Yellow Roses Still Life Oil Painting 1930’s

Mantle Clock

Hamburg American Clock Company

Silver Enamel Brooch

Norwegian silver enamel leaf brooch from Aksel Holmsen A/S

Ceramic Pot Lid

Mounted Victorian Ceramic Pot Lid

EasyShine Metal Polish

Environment Friendly Metal Polish

Renaissance Wax

Environment Friendly Micro-Crystalline Wax

Model Car

View Vans Collectable Souvenir Glentworth Hall

Lead Shot

Lead Shot From The Shipwreck HMS Crocodile c.1784

Opera Glasses

Brass and Ivory Opera Glasses 1920's

Cluster Ring

Tourmaline and Diamond Cluster Ring

Silver lapel Badge

Sterling Silver and Enamel Lapel Badge

Silver Cream Jug

Walker and Hall Sterling Silver Cream Jug, Sheffield 1910

Tunbridgeware Box

Victorian Walnut Box with Tunbridge Bands c.1800's

Burr Walnut Snuff Box

Victorian Burr Walnut Snuff Box c.1800's

Carved Oak Hippo

Hand Carved Oak Hippo c.1980's

Wooden Desk Blotter

Edwardian Hand Carved Oak Blotter

Blue Enamel Hair Brush

Blue Enamel and Silver Hair Brush, Birmingham 1929

Silver Visit Card Holder

Sterling Silver Visit Card Holder, Birmingham 1876

Open Silver Salt

Swedish Open Silver Salt with Cobalt Blue Glass Liner, 1952

Silver Serving Fork

Silver Handle Serving Fork, Birmingham 1899

Silver Plate Tray

Silver Plated Tray, Elkington and Co, Birmingham 1948

Silver Candlestick

Silver Candlestick, Arthur and John Zimmerman, Birmingham 1911

Silver Sifter Spoon

Sterling Silver Sifter Spoon, Sheffield 1909

Silver Decanter label

Sterling Silver Decanter Label, Birmingham 1970

Silver Button Hook

Silver Handle Button Hook, Birmingham 1939

Silver Pickle Fork

Victorian Silver Pickle Fork with Ivory Handle

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

So You Want To Be A Collector

Squirrels collect and store during the summer when food is plentiful, to help them through the long winter when food is more difficult to find. Similarly with collectors, they look for pieces in times of plenty, so they can admire and enjoy their collection during the difficult times when time, money, space and suitable pieces are hard to find.

Collecting anything, antique or modern, is limited by three factors:

the space available
the time available
the money available

Having determined these basic essentials, it is then a personal matter. The taste of the collector may lead to watches or clocks, china teapots, or innumerable other things. The lucky acquisition of an admired piece may lead to a determination to get more of the same, or at least to start a quest to find out what the admiration is all about. 

The Rarity4u website has many helpful guides and tips to help the beginner and seasoned collector alike. The information we publish is intended to help the collector in a number of different ways, including, dating the piece, clues to the original maker, and where possible some background history of the maker. 

It is not possible in a single website to give detailed information about every aspect of antiques and collectables along with the practicality of the time needed for research, writing and publishing the information. However we do publish articles regularly, so bookmark Rarity4u and remember to check back frequently.

Happy and rewarding collecting.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Growing Online Sales

The grand days of clipper ships racing across the world’s oceans to be first home with goods and spices from exotic locations, has been eclipsed by the ubiquitous Internet. Where else can you shop around the clock, around the world without leaving the comfort of your home?

People have for several years, become used to buying smaller, cheaper items online without experiencing any special problems. It comes as no surprise therefore to find there is a growing trend towards the online purchase of more expensive goods. A key criteria people use when selecting a company from which to purchase an antique or collectable item, is the impeccable and respectable reputation of the company. We are particularly proud of the trust our customers have placed in us, that has helped us to continually grow and increase our market share.

Why then with online antique jewellery sales growing at one of the fastest rates, did the respectable ‘Old Lady’, Sotheby’s sell their last jewel on internet at the end of April 2003? Far be it for us to query the action of one of the world’s best known auction houses, but even a world famous company like Sotheby’s cannot ignore market trends and demands. The average price of items purchased online is currently far lower than Sotheby’s standard reserve price. Also internet selling is a totally different discipline that requires a new knowledge base.

Clearly the market is in need of the two separate businesses, the international auction houses to sell expensive antiques and high end jewellery, and companies like Rarity4u who are specialised in the online sale of irreplaceable antiques at affordable prices packaged together with that good old fashion commodity called service.

Whilst the internet is more convenient and increasingly more available, it does not have the romantic appeal of those grand clipper ships racing across the world's oceans.

We wish you continued success with your search for antiques and collectables.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Repelling The Water

Renaissance wax is one of the most versatile products we have used and only our fantasy and imagination limits its use. One of the most common questions we are asked is can Renaissance wax be used on teak and mahogany garden furniture? The short answer is a most definite yes.

When you use teak oil or other furniture oil, the oil layer is thick – known technically as a thick film layer. Most people believe that the more oil you put on the better the protection. This could not be farther from the truth. When the oil film is thick, only the outer layer dries leaving the inner layer as a thick sticky liquid. When you sit or use the furniture, this thick sticky liquid moves under pressure and stress and can cause the outer skin to rupture. Apart from a sticky oozy mess, the protective coating is no longer intact thus allowing moisture to enter into the grain of the wood. Worse still, the thick sticky liquid attracts dust which in turn attracts moisture and the oil no longer gives protection.


Most hardwoods are naturally acidic, so it is important to make sure that the substance used to protect these surfaces does not contain acid. Acid has a deleterious effect on most materials, so the wax used to protect may very well attack the item you are trying to preserve.

Renaissance wax is a pH neutral wax so it is safe to use on almost all surfaces. Its micro crystalline structure repelled the water or moisture because the space between its molecules is smaller than the water molecule thus preventing the passage of water and moisture through the wax layer into the grain of the wood. The photographs show a mahogany table that was caught by a passing summer shower of rain. The water does not lie flat but is very curved almost into a ball like shape. This clearly shows the wax in action and a closer examination shows that the wood has not soaked any moisture.


This table had only been treated with two very thin layers of Renaissance wax. Because the layers were thin, the wax dried hard all the way through the film. However we would recommend at least six layers of wax to ensure the wood is completely covered and to allow for the usual wear and tear that external furniture will receive.


Renaissance wax can be used on a diverse range of surfaces from paper, wood, leather. brass, copper, steel wrought iron and many more materials too numerous to mention.

Originally developed by the British Museum, Renaissance wax is the professional restorers first choice. Whilst you may not be a professional restorer, you can still benefit from using the worlds best wax.

We would be interested to know about any unusual application for Renaissance wax.



Monday, 29 August 2011

Give An Antique As A Gift

Antiques Are Green is an initiative that is gaining the support of the antique trade and governments alike. 

Going green is one thing, thinking green and being green is much more positive.

The Kyoto agreement may be struggling to survive, but you the consumer can make a difference today.

Most of us struggle each year to find a suitable birthday or Christmas present that will be cherished and not put in a cupboard and forgotten, or worse still, changed for something else or given away. What better way to solve the problem than to give a unique antique item, a memorable gift such as a 1700´s candlestick as a present.

With the correct use of technology, keeping brass, copper and silver in top condition is no longer the chore it used to be. By using eco friendly polish and wax, you not only reduce polution but also help conserve the item for future generations to enjoy.. 

So start today and give planet earth a chance. 

Invest In The Future – Recycle The Past



Thursday, 25 August 2011

Could Antiques Be Going Hi-Tech

Necessity is the mother of invention or so it is said, and in times of war technological advances are made. This is no less true for the antiques market because as prices rise the market becomes lucrative to the unscrupulous, so it is all out war against fakes and fakers. Forensic analysis and investigation techniques are being applied to antique pieces to prove provenance and originality.
On 23.05.2011 Bonhams announce a partnership with Cranfield University to help identify fakes
Bonhams are to work with Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, UK with the aim of making new technological advancements for authenticating porcelain more accessible for use in the art market.
It is widely recognised that, with the rising prices for Chinese art in particular, fakes have become more accomplished. However, so far, the scientific methods that have emerged over the last six years have yet to be widely adopted in the commercial sphere.

Cranfield have made significant investments in new laboratories and staff and are now working on ways to identify the 'trace elements' of porcelain from ever-smaller and non-invasive samples.

Antiques Trade Gazette reported on this technique of extracting and identifying 'fingerprints' from the chemical components in a ceramic object in 2005 after two teams of Australian scientists developed ways of analysing the glazes, pigments and 'paste' of antique porcelain which could indicate the date, geographic location and even the specific kiln where it was fired.

Last September, it emerged that Chinese specialist Guan Haisen had begun using a bespoke laser and spectrometer designed by the Florida-based company Ocean Optics to determine the age of works of art in the state-owned superstore Beijing Antique City.

The Bonhams/Cranfield project aims to further develop and adopt the techniques systematically for the art market by making the process less abrasive to the object and the databases for the trace elements more detailed and specific.

Chairman of Bonhams Asia Colin Sheaf said: "For decades we have sought a forensic technology which will easily and reliably address the authenticity problems generated by 30 years of relentless faking of expensive Chinese ceramics.

"Cranfield's team will now provide the specialist technology and experienced forensic scientists to carry out the analysis, and Bonhams will define the practical issues and provide access to the core data material. We will work together to establish the methodology that will give us all confidence to make robust deductions from tiny quantities of core sample. This project will be of immense benefit to both participants, and to the wider academic and commercial art market."

While some senior members of the trade remain sceptical as to whether any technological 'breakthroughs' can ever be watertight, most remain open to the possibility that these developments in forensic analysis will have a place in the market in the future.

Dogs have a chip inserted under their skin containing all their relevant details, so perhaps this will be extended to antiques pieces. May be - just may be, antiques will be "chipped" in future.

Who was it who said the life of an antique dealer is an easy cushy number.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Beware There Is Acid About

The health of this instrument could be damaged by handling and playing.

An alarming statement but true never the less.

Acid rain is now quite a familiar term and most people understand the damage it causes to our food sources and buildings. But other kinds of acid affect all of us in daily life and yet we accept them with a shrug or are completely unaware of them.

Do you know that acid is slowly but relentlessly attacking those beautiful and costly instruments each time they are handled and played?. Players exude acid in sweat, so fingerprints immediately begin to etch their signature into the metal; breath and spittle encourage further acid attack. Additionally, there is abrasive wear from contact with clothing.
Most brass instruments are burnished to a high shine and then clear-lacquered by their manufacturers. Although modern lacquers are quite tough they eventually break down under constant handling and develop micro-fine cracks. It is through these cracks that the acid of human contact is drawn. The discolouration of tarnish and even verdigris is then free to spread under the lacquer.

In professional fine-art conservation, the use of lacquers to protect historic metals, such as arms and armour in national collections, has long been discredited, as have oils and greases. Restorers and conservators know that any surface treatment that attract and hold dust can be hazardous to long-term preservation. When brass instruments become visually unattractive from intensive use, some manufacturers will accept them for refurbishment. This is usually an expensive process involving the complete dismantlement of the instrument, followed by immersion in a lacquer-stripping acid prior to any surface repairs, re-polishing and re-lacquering.

As a supplier of fine art restoration products, they are eminently suitable for cleaning and caring for these beautiful musical instruments.
The Vulpex liquid soap, which can be diluted in water or white spirit (for non-aqueous cleaning), cleans and de-greases all metals with 100% efficiency, leaving nothing potentially harmful behind. 

Where there is tarnish or light corrosion, our Pre-Lim paste gently burnishes to a bright, scratch-free shine, ready for permanent protection by Renaissance wax. 

Before waxing any metal it is important to ensure that the surface is clean so that tarnish does not spread beneath the wax. 

Renaissance wax is a truly universal in application and is used to protect and visually enhance every type of surface, from paper to stone, both inside the building and outside to guard against weathering. The wax protects a huge range of famous bronze statues and monuments in city streets and parks in the UK and other countries.

While museum exhibits are rarely handled, brass band instruments - by the very nature of their design and purpose - are far more vulnerable to surface degradation. For the relatively modest cost of our cleaners and wax polish, owners can greatly extend the service life of their instruments - and ensure the utmost visual beauty of the metal. 

To help keep the instruments in good condition, we will publish a number of useful guides about the care and cleaning of musical instruments.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

How To Ruin An Antique

Very few people set out intentionally to ruin an antique, but people regularly make costly mistakes every day when caring for antiques. Why should this be so? In most cases it is simply because they do not know any better, or they follow old wives tales and old fashioned handed down methods. 

Not everything old is good and not everything modern is bad. The technology developed to put a man on the moon and oil platforms into the North Sea, has become available to us for use in our everyday lives.

The following is a list of the five most common causes or reasons why antiques become ruined.

Improper Cleaning
In general cleaning antiques makes them more desirable and valuable, but care must always be taken not to destroy that much desired surface finish known as patina.

Patina can be defined as a surface appearance on something grown beautiful especially with age or use. Just like a good wine where the taste will mellow and improve with age, so similarly with the surface of an antique where it will develop a deep lustre that comes from years of cleaning and usage. Do not confuse patina for a dirty, oxidised or tarnished surface. Both copper and bronze will form a green film when exposed to atmospheric pollution, especially acids. Whilst that green film may look nice on a church roof, it is extremely doubtful that it would be appreciated on an antique copper or bronze piece used in the home.

Before attempting to clean your antique, seek advise about how cleaning will impact the value. Our general rule of thumb is to restore an item to the condition in which it was originally used.

Amateur Restoration
Before attempting to restore an item, seek advise.

Restoring an antique to its original glory might seem like a good idea, and sometimes it is, but unless you have the skills and knowledge leave the job to a professional.

Sewing a rag doll’s eye back into place is one thing but complicated restoration projects involving woodwork, metalwork, tapestry, surface finish repair etc are best left to professional conservators

Displaying In Sunlight
Almost all materials will deteriorate when left in direct sunlight, so place your antique or collectable piece with care.

Paper, including photographs, will yellow and crack, the vibrant colours in textiles, oil paintings and watercolours will fade and furniture will crack and discolour if displayed in direct sunlight.

Take care to display your antiques and collectibles in dimly lit areas or for short periods of time in sunny rooms.

Always avoid direct sunlight.

Refinishing Furniture
In general the least done to an item the better, so before attempting to refinish an item seek advise. More common pieces can be refinished but do the research before you start the job. 

If you happen to have a rare antique, or maybe even a furniture masterpiece under no circumstances attempt to refinish the piece otherwise you may end up with an expensive pile of firewood.

The table shown was refinished and the original patina removed which consequently reduced its value by over 50%.

Improper Storage
A museum setting in our homes would be the ideal environment for our antiques and collectibles. In most instances that is not possible, so we have to do the best we can with what we have and be mindful of proper storage in order to preserve an item for posterity.

Keep heirlooms out of unusually damp areas like basements and overly hot areas like attics, if at all possible.

Keep silver away from open fires where they will tarnish more readily and do not store salt in silver containers where it will cause black spotting

Do not hang paintings on cold walls especially north facing walls.

The rule of thumb to apply when storing your treasures is whatever is comfortable for you is likely to be comfortable for them. 

More information about caring for antique items is available at our website: www.rarity4u.com

Friday, 1 July 2011

Are You Green Enough

What makes you green?

Are you green enough, just thinking about being green, or maybe just leaving it to somebody else to do your share?

As we have seen from Kyoto and Copenhagen, politicians are not capable of, or not willing to solve the pollution problem, so it is up to us – the ordinary people of the world - to take the lead and show them how it can be done.

At Rarity4u we take the pollution problem seriously and try to do what we can to help reduce environmental pollution. Antiques and our range of conservation and restoration products are obvious examples, but what about the less obvious.

We host our website at pair Networks Inc. who are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , USA , and the following is a copy of their company efforts to reduce pollution to a minimum.

“pair Networks, Inc., is committed to doing its part to protect the environment. From our environmentally-focused activities to our earth-friendly corporate culture, we strive to conduct a successful, profitable business in a responsible manner that does not harm our planet. 

Take a moment to look at the ways that we try to be a good steward of the earth. 

Carbon Neutrality
pair Networks, Inc. has reduced its "carbon footprint" to zero.

As of August 1st, 2007, all of pair Networks and pairNIC's operations, datacenters, support operations, and administrative facilities, are Carbon Neutral. Our status as a Carbon Neutral company is certified through  Renewable Choice Energy   

What does Carbon Neutral mean? It means that we offset the carbon dioxide we produce via our purchase of company-wide carbon offsets. The company Renewable Choice Energy uses this money to invest in projects that reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions around the world. 

In addition, as a benefit of being employed at pair Networks, employees are given a Road Terrapass each year (from the company TerraPass), which offsets the carbon dioxide emitted by their car.

Reduced Energy Consumption
pair Networks utilizes the latest technologies to reduce the amount of electricity we use. Many of the light fixtures in our offices use Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL). CFLs use 50-80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs. 

We also only use flat screen LCD monitors. LCDs typically use approximately 30% of the power of similar CRTs while reducing eye-strain and heat load. Another benefit of LCD monitors is that they do not emit harmful radiation unlike CRT monitors. Finally, LCD monitors contain less heavy metals such as lead and mercury than CRT monitors, which is better for the environment when the monitors reach the end of their life cycle. 

Recycling
We eliminate waste via a company-wide recycling program. We currently recycle materials such as aluminium cans, glass, household batteries, paper, and plastic. 

While we only use paper when absolutely necessary, any paper that we use, including paper towels, is 100% recycled. 

Healthy Working Environment
NASA studies have shown that certain plants work in a symbiotic relationship to remove air pollutants produced by other people, plants, and the environment. Based on this research, pair Networks has air purifying plants throughout its office space, which improve the indoor air quality and the health of our employees. 

Recently, renovations to our office were made using earth-friendly materials such as cork flooring, recycled blue jean insulation, and biodegradable paint and coatings that contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). 

We also make sure that our office is only cleaned with natural and organic cleaning products, which promotes employee health and does not introduce dangerous chemicals into our indoor environment. 

Earth-Friendly Employee Culture
pair Networks promotes its earth-friendly culture in a variety of ways. We offer our employees a supply of free USDA certified organic fruit in our cafeteria. As another employee benefit, we offer a free membership to the regional Audubon Society, which allows our employees to learn more about environmental stewardship and experience Western Pennsylvania's natural environment first hand. Our employees also volunteer for events sponsored by the Audubon Society and other similar organizations. 

Many of our employees do their part to help the environment by using public transportation, riding bikes, and taking hybrid cars to work. And as mentioned previously, everyone that drives to work has been given a TerraPass to offset the carbon their vehicle produces each year. 

As you can see we at Rarity4u do what we can to ensure all the products and services we offer and use are as green as possible.

For more information visit us on the following links:
Rarity4u Website             -  Website
Rarity4u Facebook Page  -  Facebook Page

Beware There Is A Thief About

Thieves broke into an antiques centre in Cardiff, UK and escaped with a haul of antique silver valued at thousands of pounds.
The burglars scaled a 10 foot fence and smashed a ground-floor window to break into the Pumping Station on Penarth Road, Leckwith, Cardiff, on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 2, 2011. Dealers at the Pumping Station were kept busy examining their stock to establish what exactly had been stolen, whilst detectives were urging antiques dealers to exercise vigilance.
Was this just another burglary, or did the high price of silver trigger the crime?
PC Mike Brinkworth from Cardiff Bay Police Station said: “We are keen to get a message out to the community as soon as possible, particularly to any antique dealers who might be offered these items for sale.” Generally high scrap metal prices have also been linked to the theft of bronze garden statuary and sculpture in recent years.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cardiff Bay Police Station on +44 029 2052 7231.

Does Your Candlestick Look Like This

Do you want your candlestick to look like this?


By using old technology, eco unfriendly metal polish and equally old fashioned cleaning methods your candlestick may end up looking like this. Why, because the metal polish you use probably contains acid or ammonia as the liquid component and this will be the result.


Too many antique metal items are being defaced and destroyed by ignorance and down right cussedness. pH Neutral eco friendly metal polishes are available but people are reluctant to change from their good old traditional methods and metal polish that are both time consuming and expensive.

Not convinced, then read further.

Do you regularly wash in horse urine?
Do you regularly splash acid all over your skin?

If the answer to these questions is no, then why subject your brass candlestick to this treatment?

During the 1700´s, metal polish was not available so the butlers and servants made their own polish. The horse was the major means of transport, so large houses had a stable full of horses and hence a regular supply of straw bedding and urine. The straw was ground into a coarse powder and then mixed with the urine to make a paste. This paste mixture was found to be a good cleaner for brass and copper items.

Similarly the cooks would make pickles, jams and marmalade in the kitchen with the produce from the fields and garden. Copper and brass were used extensively as cooking implements during the 1700´s and 1800´s, and during the cooking process it was found that the acid from the fruits and the vinegar used for preserving made the copper and brass items clean.

Thus the metal polish industry was founded. Acid or ammonia was used as the liquid component and coarse ground straw as the abrasive component and the technology has changed very little during the past 300 years. What the metal polish industry does not tell you is the more you use their product, the more you have to use it – good for profits but not so good for your wallet. Also the polish you use systematically destroys the item you are trying to preserve.

The acid etches the surface of the metal and can cause the conditions for pitting and crevice corrosion to begin. The acid also speeds up the oxidation process, so you have to polish more often. Ammonia is an extremely bad liquid to use on brass because brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and the ammonia dissolves the zinc creating the holes known as pitting.

If that was not bad enough, the abrasives used are usually too coarse causing surface scratches but worse still wears away the metal item.

At first glance pH Neutral metal polishes maybe slightly more expensive when compared with the cheaper alternatives, but on closer examination this may not prove to be the case. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of these polishes.

Subject                   Eco Friendly Polish     Eco Unfriendly Polish
Cause pollution                        No                               Yes
Cause pitting                           No                               Yes
Cause wear                             No                               Yes
Polish shelf life                    Indefinite                     Goes Hard
Cost to buy                            Higher                Seemingly Cheaper
Cleaning frequency           1 or 2 per year          25 to 50 per year
Bottle lasts                   1 every 3 to 5 years      2 or more per year
Health hazard                           No                   Can cause skin
                                                                              irritation

From the above you can calculate the true cost of the eco unfriendly polish and then compare it with the cost of the eco friendly polish. If you calculate the time spent polishing and then add in the cost to repair or replace the damaged item you then get the true cost of using the eco unfriendly polish. Perhaps you want to spend your free time polishing antique metal items over and over again, but it is not my idea of fun.


Easy Shine is a pH Neutral metal polish that does not harm the environment nor the item you are trying to conserve.

For more information about environment friendly conservation and restoration products visit:

Rarity4u Website             -  Website
Rarity4u Art Fire Shop      -  Art Fire Shop
Rarity4u Facebook Page  -  Facebook Page

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Save The British Hallmark

The sterling lion may soon become an extinct species. 


 Typical British Hallmarks

This particular lion is not protected, and its habitat is under imminent threat by an axe wielding government based in Westminster. In a bid to cut red tape and hence money (no not their lucrative expense accounts – silly) the trusted lion must go. After almost 800 years the UK government now wants to remove this most coveted of all consumer protection. Hallmarks on new items made of precious metal may be scrapped under a UK government bid to reduce red tape. 

 Sterling Silver Mark - England
Now the Assay Offices in Birmingham and London have launched an appeal to persuade as many people as possible to object to the proposals, which form part of a consultation called The Red Tape challenge. Launched on April 7, comments are invited online until May 5.



Sterling Silver Mark - Scotland

"The Red Tape Challenge aims to reduce regulation which stifles enterprise and industry," said an Assay Office spokesman.



 Edinburgh Assay Office

"The message from the Government appears to be that every regulation highlighted will be abolished – unless visitors to the website express sufficient good reasons to convince ministers that this particular regulation must be kept."


 Sheffield Assay Office

Hallmarking is one of eight key topics under scrutiny.

"We believe it is imperative to the British consumer for the current and future UK jewellery industry to maintain hallmarking as a statutory independent service," the Assay Office argues.


 London Assay Office

The British hallmarking system is the standard to which the rest of the world hope to reach, so what can be done to help protect this lion? 


 Birmingham Assay Office

The UK Assay Offices want people to log on to www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/hallmarking and register their objections.

Unless people express their concerns, the lion will shortly be as dead as a dodo.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A Burning Light

Today we switch on an electric light to drive away the darkness, but just over 100 years ago fire and light were not so readily available and held in high regard. Similarly the items associated with both fire and light were both elaborate and practical.

 
Georgian Brass Chamberstick c.1820

Candles come in all shapes and sizes, and so similarly do the holders that held them in their working position.

 
William & Mary Cast Brass Candlestick c.1690

Today when many items are within the reach of most people, we are apt to forget that they were once the items of the rich and powerful. For the ordinary worker, a brass candlestick was simply beyond their means so they would drip some candle wax onto a flat surface and then stick the candle into the wax until it hardened. At best, a small piece of flat wood would be used to make the lighted candle portable.

 
George II Seamed Brass Candlesticks c.1740

Silver was once the preserve of royalty and their favourites so it fell upon the shoulders of brass, copper, bronze and pewter to provide the items of the growing and affluent middle class. It is for this reason there are many affordable surviving examples of these items from which the collector can choose. Many people like the typical Victorian brass candlesticks. By this time production techniques had advanced such that the cost of the item fell at the expense of individuality but more importantly these items came within the reach of the ordinary person. Candlesticks of all types of shapes and sizes were made for all purposes.

 
George III Seamed Bronze Candlestick c.1770

My personal passion is for candlesticks from a slightly earlier era. Examples of candlesticks from 1650 to 1750 are in regular use in my home. They tend to be less tall than and more individual than their Victorian counterparts, and even now I feel it a privilege to own and enjoy these beautiful items. Each piece could tell a very long and interesting story about their experiences gained from over 350 years of existence. Were they silent witnesses to plots, intrigues, romantic liaisions and murder, or just an item in a rich merchants home? Their silver counterparts were and still are more valuable and have generally survived the years better. However a lot of silver items have been melted down and destroyed throughout history including modern times. Kings were always short of money to pay for wars and in recent times the scrap value of silver was higher than the market value of the item.

 
George II Seamed Brass Swirl base Candlesticks c.1750

To own these items is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. They have survived 350 years and with the correct care they can survive another 350 years or longer. It is our heritage, our gift to future generations so we are responsible to make sure they survive. Correct polishing and handling are essential to ensure longevity. Environment friendly products are available to help preserve both these items and our planet.





Easy Shine Environment Friendly Metal Polish

 
Environment Friendly Micro-Crystalline Wax
For more information about these and other products please use the links shown below:


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