ORMOLU AND ROCK CRYSTAL CHANDELIER – GENOA CIRCA 1740
Chandelier with ten candle arms and a central shaft topped by a crown.
Height 87 cm
Diameter 67 cm
Structure in ormolu which offers points of attachment to a dazzling decoration of rock crystals. It deploys a diversity of size and scale in the use of rock crystal: faceted pendants in the form of drops or plates, fleurons, almonds, cut leaves... The fine branches in ormolu that make up the arms of light are joined in pairs by a brace surmounted by a volute connected to the crown by a string of rock crystal pearls, itself dressed in pearls.
It is during the 18th century, in a particularly active cultural climate where the bourgeoisie competed with the nobility in elegance and refinement that prestigious villas and palaces multiplied. Northern Italy became one of the centers of creation of precious rock crystal chandeliers.
This variety of quartz of exceptional hardness, with a high index of refraction of light that is close to that of the dimant, allows to obtain an optimal lighting. The rock crystal is exploited in the seventeenth century in small quantities and monetized at almost prohibitive prices. Its use in lighting really starts in the 18th century thanks to the discovery of deposits in Central Europe which allowed the development of new and more important shapes such as leaves, stars, daggers....
The italian workshops seized the material from the first quarter of the 18th century and developed a mastery and refinement without common measure in the work of a stone that requires the craftsman an extremely complex work. The use of this precious material, one of the rarest and most expensive at the time, attests to the wealth of its patron.
Two criteria were used to estimate the value of rock crystal in the 18th century. Firstly the weight, which was measured in marcs, ounces and gros as for silverware, and the purity, also called "water" of the crystal, which could triple the price of the clearest pieces which were then qualified as "of very beautiful water".
The elegance of our chandelier comes from its shape as well as from the arrangement of the rock crystals and it is, like the most luxurious chandeliers, topped with a royal crown,.
Our chandelier can be linked to the Italian barochetto of the 18th century, of which some examples have done well at Christie's in Paris on December 7, 2001, lot 54 and at Sotheby's on December 15, 2010, lot 49.