With the winter upon us and the arrival of dark evenings, it’s difficult to imagine our homes at night without light.
The simplest form of manmade light is the fire and the candle is one of man’s oldest answers to the problem of supplying light after dark. The quality of light depended on the material used for the candle. Ordinary candles for everyday use were made of tallow which is simply animal fat. Beeswax candles were used in the home by those who could afford them as they were less smoky and burned with a brighter flame.
The need to support burning candles lead to many types of different candle holder. One of the earliest forms of candle was the rush light made by coating the rush in kitchen fat. Rush lights were burned in a specially made holder with jaws which held the rush. A typical 17th century rush light holder would have been made of wrought iron set in a wooden base. Candle sticks however, were and still are made out of a number of materials. Various metals from pewter, silver and brass to porcelain, cut glass, wood and even horn. For most people a candle stick was simply a commonplace household utensil found at every social level as basic and essential as the kettles and pans in the kitchen. Of course candles need to be stored suitably in a box which not only held a number of candles but also were easily accessible. Candle boxes were sometimes freestanding but more often than not wall hanging containers were placed in the kitchen or some other convenient and dry place in the home.
The woods used to make the candle boxes were quite typically oak, elm, yew and fruit wood, with pine being used more rarely in England at the time. Some of these candle boxes were quite plain but elegant whilst others could be a lot more decorative with pierced and inlaid fronts but always made with the functional purpose in mind.
Candle sticks in all their shapes and sizes available from tall, slender elegance to primitive simplicity can transform the atmosphere of any occasion with softly lit candles. Christmas dinner at home would be incomplete without the addition of candles adorning the festive table.
Of course in the 21st century we no longer rely on the humble candle to give us light and here at Burfields not only do we stock traditional, beautiful antique candlesticks from the 18th century onwards but also stylish and contemporary lamps too. From crystal based lamps through to the stunning ceramic lamps crafted by Island artist Dennis Fairweather. What makes them particularly unusual is the fact that the shades are also ceramic which in turn creates a subtle down-light in any part of the room. There are various ranges available so why not pop in to have a look.
Quality antiques and accessories are always wanted to purchase.
Burfields Antiques Art and Design, 38 High St, Ventnor.
t: 01983 853909
m: 07710 067678