The first English crystal chandeliers evolved from the 17th century Flemish style of metal chandelier. Large baluster stempieces and scroll shaped arms were recreated in crystal. One of the earliest surviving examples is a chandelier that was made for Thornham Hall, Suffolk in 1732. Wilkinson's were commissioned by English Heritage to create a faithful reproduction of this chandelier for Chiswick House, London. The reproduction is illustrated above. The original chandelier now hangs at Winterthur, Delaware.
In the 1970s Wilkinson's were commissioned to manufacture a set of chandeliers similar to the one illustrated, to replace those lost in a fire at the Governor's Mansions in Williamsburg. The style is typical of the period 1750-1760.
The Hallmarks of a Georgian Chandelier
Most of the glass on a Georgian chandelier will be cut all over. There is usually very little glass that is left plain (uncut). The cuts are produced with a flat cutting wheel and are distinctively shallow. The arms are solid (not hollow) and usually have flattened sides with thumb cuts above and below these. The candle sits into a socket (candletube) that is formed into the end of the arm. A "grease pan" slips over the candletube to collect the wax. The earliest chandeliers had neither canopies nor dressings. The receiver plate is a solid plate of brass with square or round holes into which the arms locate. Each arm has a correspondingly shaped pot (fixed with plaster) to attach it to the receiver plate. Metalwork is usually gilt finished, sometimes with silver plated tubes inside the glass stempieces to disguise the iron shaft.
Georgian chandeliers manufactured by William Parker of Fleet Street, London in 1771 for the Assembly Rooms, Bath. Wilkinson's carried out a total restoration and conservation of these chandeliers, recognised as one of the most important collections of Georgian chandeliers in the world today.