Wilkinson Chandeliers on view at Chelsea Harbour

8lt Thornham with cut arms crystal chandelier by Wilkinson Yes, masterpieces from royal warrant holders Wilkinson, the finest English source of traditional chandeliers, are now on display at the Chelsea harbour showrooms (3rd floor, central dome) of the equally illustrious Watts of Westminster.

The example above is a magnificent eight light early Georgian design. Strong and masculine, it dates from the early days of glass chandeliers, when they were emulating the shapes of the brass chandeliers that had previously been the norm -- polished brass globes acting to maximize the light being produced by the candles. This therefore means that it predates the festoons, swags, pendaloques, pear drops, &c. of a "traditional" crystal chandelier. As such, it is a great design for people who don't like chandeliers! -- who normally find them too fussy.

Bronze and gilt dishlight by Wilkinson

This chandelier doesn't have pendaloques either! It is an early nineteenth century dishlight (also called a Grecian lamp, for obvious reasons) with the typical cut glass dish and ormolu frame suspended by chains from a decorative top feature. It would have burnt colza oil (similar to rape seed oil and with no smell) which is put into the urn-shaped reservoir at the centre of the dish. The oil passes to the lamps via those tubes that you can see.

Two very different designs therefore, but merely scratching the surface of what Wilkinson can do. Besides their extensive archives, they are restoring the finest chandeliers from all around the world, so they know them better than anybody. They always have a selection of chandeliers -- including continental designs -- available at their bucolic workshops that nestle in a quiet Kentish valley.  See the gallery on their site here, but there are always more.

Wilkinson barn

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