Saturday 25 October 2014

Winter Nights by Candle Light

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends It gives a lovely light

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Some examples of our candlesticks and candelabra in popular styles.
Well, if the weather itself wasn't an indication that we are heading towards winter, then the clocks going back surely is. Those long dark evenings are upon us once again and the need to create a cosy atmosphere becomes ever stronger. What better way to create more light and ambience than with the glow of a candle?

Of course, for more than a hundred years, we have had access to electricity and are able to provide our homes with more light by the simple flick of a switch. It enables us to have the light we need for getting on with our daily lives, but sometimes candlelight creates that ambient mood we simply cannot achieve with mere electricity.

Without candles how would we set the mood for that romantic dinner? What better enhances your relaxation than the glow of a flame while languishing in a bath full of bubbles with a glass of bubbles in hand? Candles can help to create the right atmosphere in prayer and meditation. And of course, where would we be without them when the power goes out and we are pitched into darkness?
Before electricity, the candle was the easiest way of providing light in our homes. Unless we wanted puddles of wax on our floors and tables and the risk of burning our dwellings down we required something to hold the candle upright. Thus, the candleholder was born. The candle could be held in a chandelier, candelabra, wall sconce, lamp or chamberstick but it is the column candlestick that really found favour.
A classic Victorian corinthian column design, pair of candlesticks. Click here to view on our website.
A wonderful set of four Hurricane Lamps. Click here to view on our website.
Whilst candlesticks have been made in many different materials, silver became a popular choice owing to its beauty and reflective properties.
The silver candlestick has been in production for hundreds of years and, despite electricity, such is their popularity they are still being produced today.
The choice of sizes and styles available has always been vast, and as well as reflecting the trends of the day, some styles would be produced century upon century.
Though sometimes 'candlestick' is used to refer to the candle itself the candlestick is actually the holder.

The candlestick can be broken down into several sections or parts.
Starting firstly with the base, this is the bottom and lowest part of the stick. The base shape can be round, square, oval, hexagonal, octagonal, the list goes on.
Next up, you will have the stem itself, also referred to as the column. This is the vertical stick and the style ranges are as varied as you like. Popular styles include Greek style doric columns, oblong, cylindrical and octagonal. The column might even be in the form of a figure. The height of the sticks can range from a couple of inches to a foot or more. The columns can be engraved or chased, shaped or left plain.

Attached to the top of the column we then come to the socket or capital which holds a drip tray that the candle fits into. It also serves as a decorative end to the column creating a visual full stop at the top of the candlestick.
Atop the capital you will probably find a detachable drip tray or sconce which will catch the wax. It can be removed for easier cleaning.

Early candlesticks were cast and everything you feel is silver. But from around 1780 onwards, it became the fashion to make candlesticks from sheet metal and fill them. Since that time, most candlesticks have been made that way. The filling is usually pitch (resin, tar, etc) covered by a thin layer of plaster to get a nice flat base. Finally a layer of baize is applied to the bottom to stop the candlesticks scratching the surface they are placed upon.
A handsome pair of filled Georgian sticks with wooden base. Click here to view on our website.
A silver, George V, candelabrum with removable sconces. Click here to view on our website.
These components are the basic structure for most candlesticks regardless of size or age. Though you do see the occasional single candlestick, most sticks will come in pairs or sets. As well as sticks being made in sterling silver you will also find good quality sticks in silver plate, meaning you can find sticks to fit your style in a price range to suit.
So to close, I would like to say Happy Diwali (festival of lights) and I hope everyone enjoys that extra hour in bed this weekend.

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