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The Crystal Chandelier

iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Nov 2016 (Day 317/366)

A chandelier is a decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture. Chandeliers are often ornate, and normally use lamps. Crystal chandeliers have more or less complex arrays of crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light. Chandeliers are often located in hallways, living rooms, and recently in bathrooms.

The word chandelier was first known in the English language in the 1736, borrowed from the Old French word chandelier, which comes from the Latin candelabrum.

The earliest candle chandeliers were used by the wealthy in medieval times, this type of chandelier could be moved to different rooms. From the 15th century, more complex forms of chandeliers, based on ring or crown designs, became popular decorative features in palaces and homes of nobility, clergy and merchants. Its high cost made the chandelier a symbol of luxury and status.

By the early 18th century, ornate cast ormolu forms with long, curved arms and many candles were in the homes of many in the growing merchant class. Neoclassical motifs became an increasingly common element, mostly in cast metals but also in carved and gilded wood. Chandeliers made in this style also drew heavily on the aesthetic of ancient Greece and Rome, incorporating clean lines, classical proportions and mythological creatures. Developments in glassmaking later allowed cheaper production of lead crystal, the light scattering properties of which quickly made it a popular addition to the form, leading to the crystal chandelier.

During the 18th century glass chandeliers were produced by Bohemiens and Venetian glassmakers who were both masters in the art of making chandeliers. Bohemian style was largely successful across Europe and its biggest draw was the chance to obtain spectacular light refraction due to facets and bevels of crystal prisms. As a reaction to this new taste Italian glass factories in Murano created new kinds of artistic light sources. Since Murano glass was not suitable for faceting, typical work realized at the time in other countries where crystal was used, venetian glassmakers relied upon the unique qualities of their glass. Typical features of a Murano chandelier are the intricate arabeques of leaves, flowers and fruits that would be enriched by coloured glass, made possible by the specific type of glass used in Murano. This glass they worked with was so unique, as it was soda glass (famed for its extraordinary lightness) and was a complete contrast to all different types of glass produced in the world at that time. An incredible amount of skill and time was required to precisely twist and shape a chandelier. This new type of chandelier was called “ciocca” literally bouquet of flowers, for the characteristic decorations of glazed polychrome flowers. The most sumptuous of them consisted of a metal frame covered with small elements in blown glass, transparent or colored, with decorations of flowers, fruits and leaves, while simpler model had arms made with a unique piece of glass. Their shape was inspired by an original architectural concept: the space on the inside is left almost empty since decorations are spread all around the central support, distanced from it by the length of the arms. One of the common use of the huge Murano Chandeliers was the interior lighting of theatres and rooms in important palaces.

In the mid-19th century, as gas lighting caught on, branched ceiling fixtures called gasoliers (a portmanteau of gas and chandelier) were produced, and many candle chandeliers were converted. By the 1890s, with the appearance of electric light, some chandeliers used both gas and electricity. As distribution of electricity widened, and supplies became dependable, electric-only chandeliers became standard. Another portmanteau word, electrolier, was formed for these, but nowadays they are most commonly called chandeliers. Some are fitted with bulbs shaped to imitate candle flames, for example those shown below in Epsom and Chatsworth, or with bulbs containing a shimmering gas discharge.

The world’s largest English Glass chandelier, (Hancock Rixon & Dunt and probably F. & C. Osler) is located in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. It has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tons. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of British and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has balusters of Baccarat crystal.

More complex and elaborate chandeliers continued to be developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but the widespread introduction of gas and electricity had devalued the chandelier’s appeal as a status symbol.

Toward the end of the 20th century, chandeliers were often used as decorative focal points for rooms, and often did not illuminate.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

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Light From A Candle

iPhoneOgraphy – 28 Apr 2016 (Day 119/366)

Candles were made by the Romans beginning about 500 BC. These were true dipped candles and made from tallow. Evidence for candles made from whale fat in China dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles.

In parts of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, where lamp oil made from olives was readily available, candle making remained unknown until the early middle-ages. Candles were primarily made from tallow and beeswax in ancient times, but have been made from spermaceti, purified animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax in recent centuries.

Romans began making true dipped candles from tallow, beginning around 500 BC. While oil lamps were the most widely-used source of illumination in Roman Italy, candles were common and regularly given as gifts during Saturnalia.

Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) was the first emperor of the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). His mausoleum, which was rediscovered in the 1990s, twenty-two miles east of Xi’an, contained candles made from whale fat. The word zhú 燭 in Chinese originally meant torch and could have gradually come to be defined as a candle during the Warring States period (403–221 BC); some excavated bronzewares from that era feature a pricket thought to hold a candle.

The Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) Jizhupian dictionary of about 40 BC hints at candles being made of beeswax, while the Book of Jin (compiled in 648) covering the Jin Dynasty (265–420) makes a solid reference to the beeswax candle in regards to its use by the statesman Zhou Yi (d. 322). An excavated earthenware bowl from the 4th century AD, located at the Luoyang Museum, has a hollowed socket where traces of wax were found. Generally these Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes, using rolled rice paper for the wick, and wax from an indigenous insect that was combined with seeds. By the 18th century, novelty Chinese candles had weights built into the sides of candles – as the candle melted, the weights fell off and made a noise as they landed in a bowl. Japanese candles were made from wax extracted from tree nuts.

Wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles in India. Yak butter was used for candles in Tibet.

There is a fish called the eulachon or “candlefish”, a type of smelt which is found from Oregon to Alaska. During the 1st century AD, indigenous people from this region used oil from this fish for illumination. A simple candle could be made by putting the dried fish on a forked stick and then lighting it.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Show Me The Way

iPhoneOgraphy – 22 Feb 2016 (Day 53/366)

Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light to achieve a practical or aesthetic effect. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources like lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight. Daylighting (using windows, skylights, or light shelves) is sometimes used as the main source of light during daytime in buildings. This can save energy in place of using artificial lighting, which represents a major component of energy consumption in buildings. Proper lighting can enhance task performance, improve the appearance of an area, or have positive psychological effects on occupants.

Indoor lighting is usually accomplished using light fixtures, and is a key part of interior design. Lighting can also be an intrinsic component of landscape projects.

With the discovery of fire, the earliest form of artificial lighting used to illuminate an area were campfires or torches. As early as 400,000 BCE, fire was kindled in the caves of Peking Man. Prehistoric people used primitive lamps to illuminate surroundings. These lamps were made from naturally occurring materials such as rocks, shells, horns and stones, were filled with grease, and had a fiber wick. Lamps typically used animal or vegetable fats as fuel. Hundreds of these lamps (hollow worked stones) have been found in the Lascaux caves in modern-day France, dating to about 15,000 years ago. Oily animals (birds and fish) were also used as lamps after being threaded with a wick. Fireflies have been used as lighting sources. Candles and glass and pottery lamps were also invented. Chandeliers were an early form of “light fixture”.

Major reductions in the cost of lighting occurred with the discovery of whale oil and kerosene. Gas lighting was economical enough to power street lights in major cities starting in the early 1800s, and was also used in some commercial buildings and in the homes of wealthy people. The gas mantle boosted the luminosity of utility lighting and of kerosene lanterns. The next major drop in price came about with the incandescent light bulb powered by electricity.

Over time, electric lighting became ubiquitous in developed countries. Segmented sleep patterns disappeared, improved nighttime lighting made more activities possible at night, and more street lights reduced urban crime.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+  

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