The chandeliers’ technical function is to distribute light evenly from a high and central position; however the fascinating history of these objects goes beyond this technical description.
Originally made by iron or wood, from the XVII century glass started to be used due to the material characteristics that allow a better light distribution.
Mediaeval times are characterised by chandelier of “cross” and “ring” shapes. Since the ‘600 new forms started to be experimented, such as the classic “pillar”, based on a central support and long arms that hold drop shaped pendants or multi-faceted whirls. This was also the time when the use of these objects came into houses, while before they were mainly functioning into Churches.
In the XVII century Venice, Giuseppe Briati created chandeliers called “ciocche”, composed by a metallic structure covered by either coloured or transparent glass, decorated with flowers, fruits and leafs. These decorations were applied to the clear Venetian glass, differently from crystal which was generally multi-faceted.
From the ‘700 chandeliers structured in iron and crystal ornaments were produced in London. Following these were the ones with the central support covered by glass globes ending with a large glass bowl with glass arms holding candles.
The glass pendants added in the XVIII century were followed by drops and multi-faceted whirls characterising the “rococo’” (wikipedia). time. In the neoclassical time the trend in France as well as England was the urn chandeliers with prismatic ornaments.
In the ‘800 the metallic parts were covered with crystal gems and pendants. In other countries the same structures were shown but decorated with necklace and multi-faceted glass gems. In Austria the trunk was made by wood, golden, glossed and enriched with crystals.