Chandelier with Twelve Arms

Object Name: 
Chandelier with Twelve Arms

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Object Name: 
Chandelier with Twelve Arms
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
2012.2.8
Dimensions: 
Overall H: about 125 cm, Diam (max): about 107 cm
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
about 1760-1765
Web Description: 
This elegant early example of a fully cut glass chandelier, made in England between 1760 and 1765, would have hung in the home of an English aristocrat. It is made up of 34 separate cut glass elements: 12 arms, 12 drip pans, and a ten-piece stem with metal mounts. In the 17th century, lighting fixtures were originally constructed from rock crystal. Glass, however, was easier than rock crystal to manipulate into desired shapes, was softer to cut, was more accessible and affordable, and produced the same desired reflective effects. The first glass chandeliers can be traced to about 1720, after glass arms for candles had already been made for use in candlesticks and sconces. Initially, these candle arms were plain. Molded glass arms were attempted, but the facets did not produce the desired refractive qualities. Cut glass arms, seen as a risky accomplishment, were soon to follow. Cut glass amplified the reflected candlelight used to illuminate 18th-century interiors, creating brilliant centerpieces. The inclusion of pendant ornaments in the mid-18th century would be the next evolutionary stage for English chandeliers. Complete examples of 18th century cut glass chandeliers are difficult to find. The museum acquired an 18th century cut glass chandelier in the 1960s that was later discovered to be a pastiche, as it was made up of elements from various periods. Remarkably, this example possesses all original elements except for one replacement piece, which is dated to the period it was made. Some of the most prominent chandelier makers of the mid-18th century were Maydwell and Windle, Jonathan Collett, Colebron Hancock, and William Parker. Although some chandeliers are attributed to these makers through period advertisements, it is nearly impossible to identify makers since chandeliers, like this one, are unsigned.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Apter-Fredericks Ltd, Source
Primary Description: 
Chandelier with Twelve Arms. Colorless lead glass, lead, pewter, brass, steel; blown, tooled, cut, molded, assembled. Chandelier composed of 34 separate glass parts with metal mounts, twelve arms, twelve drip pans, and a ten-piece stem with metal mounts. Fittings for the arms appear to be lead or pewter with small brass pins to secure them in the arm holder. There are very slight differences in the size and shapes of the arms. The candle tubes and drip-pans have been drilled for later electric wiring, but no wiring is present. The shaft is iron, and the arm plate brass. Barely visible are small iron/steel pins located in holes drilled through the shaft to secure the vertical elements.
In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s
Venue(s)
Corning Museum of Glass 2021-05 through 2022-01-02
In 2020, the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) will present In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s; an exhibition exploring the role of glass, light and reflectivity in eighteenth-century social life. In the 1700s, Britain was a vibrant and commercial nation. Its growing cities were hubs of sociability, scientific advancement, trade, and finance. From glittering costume and elaborately presented confectionery, to polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers, glass helped define the social rituals and cultural values of the period. While new innovations in glass delighted the wealthy, the material also bore witness to the ambitions of colonization and the horrors of the African slave trade. Glass beads were traded for human lives and elegant glass dishes, baskets and bowls held sweet delicacies made with sugar produced by enslaved labor. Underpinning Britain’s prosperity were aggressive foreign trade policies, colonization and a far-reaching economy of enslavement, the profits of which funded the pleasures and innovations of the fashionable world. Beginning in the intimate setting of a private dressing room, with a magnificent silver gilt dressing service made for the Duchess of Portland in about 1700, learn about how the elite prepared themselves for a night of revelry and entertainment. See the dazzling clothes and accessories worn by the ‘polished’ individual and understand the rules that governed how they behaved. Enter a specially commissioned virtual reality reconstruction of the remarkable and innovative glass-paneled drawing room designed for the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland in 1775, an interior that hasn’t been seen for nearly 200 years. Become immersed in the glittering nightlife of British elite and feel the tension between the exuberance of the fashionable world and the human cost of such sparkling company. Through a lens of glass, see what it meant to be ‘modern’ in the 1700s, and what it cost.
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2012 (2013) illustrated, p. 7; BIB# AI94590
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 43; BIB# 134015
Recent Acquisitions: Chandelier with 12 Arms (2013) illustrated, p. 14, middle; BIB# AI94033
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 43; BIB# 134856
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2012 (2013) illustrated, p. 11, #4; BIB# AI95675
Notes: Corning Museum Makes Significant Acqusitions in 2012 (2013) illustrated, cover, frontispiece; BIB# AI98180