Brass chandelier

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Northern Netherlands, probably Amsterdam
First half 17th century
Brass, Iron
150 x 125 cm

W. van Biemen, B. Linskens & A. de Groot (ed.), Koper in kerken, Leiden 2018, pp. 41 - 44.
O. ter Kuile, Koper & Brons, Den Haag 1986, pp. 134 - 141.

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A three-tiered Dutch brass chandelier with 24 branches arranged around a central stem. On top of the chandelier are four shields. The chandelier consists of a wrought-iron stem with an iron pin, a brass hanging ring, four shields, various profiled stem elements, three rings, three times eight S-shaped branches with drip trays and candle holders, a ball and a droplet below. The section above the first ring consists of a profiled baluster surmounted by four outward-pointing shields, with volute shaped sides. Below the first ring, the stem element extends into a rounded mushroom shape. Between the second and third ring is a profiled element, that is alternately concave and convex and ends in a baluster. Under the lower ring, the sphere is attached, with the strongly profiled droplet ending in a pear-shaped knob. The stem section between the ball and the ring is ribbed. The three supporting rings, the smallest at the top and the largest at the bottom, each have eight holes in which the branches are attached with a baluster-shaped and profiled peg. The branches on the upper ring are decorated on the base with two volutes, the branches on the second and third rings have three volutes on the base, two of which curl downwards and one upwards. The shapes of the volutes are derived from the lobe ornament. The deep, S-shaped branches end in wide dish-shaped drip trays that carry the candle holders. The drip trays have an upright edge and the trays of the branches on the first and second ring have one recess towards the centre, the grease traps of the lower branches have two recesses. The edges of the drip trays are ribbed. The candle holders are cylindrical with a profiled protruding edge and with a baluster foot.

This chandelier is a typical Dutch chandelier, with a large sphere at the bottom and S-shaped branches. The ball, weighted with clay or sand, keeps the chandelier in balance and makes sure that it hangs straight so that the candles burn evenly. The polished and shining ball also reflects the light of the candles on the, deeply downward bent, branches. This type of chandelier made its appearance around 1600 in churches, public buildings and the homes of wealthy citizens. As a result of the Revolt and economic tensions, many craftsmen, including brass workers, fled from the Southern Netherlands to the Northern Netherlands in the sixteenth century. The iconoclasm in 1566 and the takeover of a large number of Catholic churches by Protestants resulted in the loss of much copper work, and therefore in the seventeenth century there was an increasing demand for new copper work. The Republic, and Amsterdam in particular, became the centre of brass casting due to the available knowledge, craftsmen and orders. The chandeliers were cast using the sand casting method; wooden models were pressed in the sand, creating a mould for casting the chandelier. After casting, the cooled and rough object was finished on the lathe.


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