DOMESTIC CANDLESTICKS

At quite an early period candlesticks of wood, earthen-ware and pewter were fashioned. It was, however, not until the seventeenth century that the art of the silver-smith was employed in casting, casing and decorating these silver " sticks " destined to play such an important part in the domestic furnishing of the homes of the eighteenth century folk. The seventeenth century candlesticks were made with square bases and generally with fluted columns. These beautiful shapes, heavily mounted and decorated, culminated in the days of Queen Anne when the baluster stem was chiefly favoured. The pricket candlesticks of the seventeenth century were chiefly made during the Restoration period and are now extremely rare. The drawing rooms and dining tables of the earlier days of the Georges and their rich colourings and heavy hangings and furnishings were lighted with candlesticks and candelabra of silver. Dished chamber candlesticks had been made earlier in the century, the large dish being a necessary feature when the draughts to which such lighted candles were subjected when carried about on staircase and landing caused the tallow or wax to run freely. The two varieties-dished and pillar-were used in every household. As in every article of domestic use candle-sticks partook somewhat of the then popular style of ornament ; so in Georgian days when Corinthian columns were favoured in architecture, similar designs were followed by the silversmiths. Towards the close of the eighteenth century, the rims and dishes of candlesticks were ornamented with gadroon edges, a favourite ornament in Sheffield plate (see Chapter XXXII). Silver candelabra became popular as the branches assisted in table and wall lighting. The large central lights of ball-room and hall were frequently of glass, relieved, sometimes, by silver ornaments and sconces, the effect produced being very rich and decorative. The collectable varieties are many and differ in size. The tall pillar candlesticks for mantelpiece or table differ in style and ornament ; replicas of nearly all styles are procurable in miniature as these smaller candlesticks for the writing table became general at an early date. The chamber candlesticks vary too, for some have large and deep dishes whereas others are small and almost flat. Tiny candlesticks in silver once shone on desk and writing table and were often supplemented by silver taper-holders. Delft and porcelain candlesticks with silver sconces form a pleasing variety in a collection of candle-sticks which are often attached to the very useful extinguishers.