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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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