Candelabra are large candlesticks designed for the dinner table with additional branches for holding extra lights. Early silver examples can be traced back to the mid 17th century. However, the vast majority of surviving examples originate from the late 18th and 19th century.
Construction and evolution of the candelabra
Most silver candelabra are constructed with various detachable sections comprising of the nozzles which the candles slot into, the branches, and the stem. Candelabra are usually found made in pairs and initially were designed with two branches. However, during the late 18th century many were constructed with three branches. By the beginning of the 19th century, due to changes in fashion, candelabra could be found with as many as five branches. Also, during the regency period (circa 1790 - 1820) silver candelabra began to be produced in much larger sizes incorporating some very elaborate, almost excessively decorative designs and as such were often incorporated as part of a lavish centrepiece for the dinner table. Throughout the 19th century, candelabra continued to be used and in this time a wide range of designs were produced in line with the constantly evolving fashion. The advent of electrically powered lamps in the late 19th century saw their popularity begin to wain. However, although no longer functionally required, aesthetically and for nostalgic reasons, candelabra are still used to this day.
Construction and condition
Although most silver candelabra are luckily found in a relatively good physical condition, it is still important to be aware of certain potential pitfalls. When buying antique candelabra, it is important to make sure that all of the sections are matching in both style and decoration. If the silver is British, all sections should be marked and bear identical maker’s marks. Also, it is good to remember that like candlesticks some have loaded bases and stems which although legitimately provide added stability, can be deceiving in thinking that a greater amount of silver has been used.
If you have any silver objects that you would like to sell or have valued, pleasecontact Robin Newcombe, silver specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone,Kent for further details.