Chandelier | Upper Brookville, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

A chandelier /ˌʃæn.dəlˈɪər/ 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.

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. 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. Read more

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