Christie’s July 14 lighting auction spans centuries

Christie's lighting auction

A pair of George VI silver, five-light candelabra, London, 1938. Estimate £10,000-£15,000. Christie’s image

LONDON – Christie’s presents Let There Be Light, now through July 14, an online themed sale dedicated to the history of lighting, demonstrating the breadth, richness and variety of styles through outstanding examples of lighting. These include candlesticks, candelabra, chandeliers, wall lights, table and standing lamps, from the 18th to the 21st century. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

The sale consists of 134 lots and showcases how precious and finely crafted examples of lighting from the 18th and 19th century, can sit alongside modern light fixtures in today’s interiors. Via a juxtaposition of lighting styles comes the creation of interiors schemes combining layers of history with modernity, which in turn showcase the character and taste of the modern-day collector.

Candlesticks and candelabra, both functional and decorative, were traditionally positioned throughout the house, especially before the invention of electricity.

Candlesticks were variably decorated depending on where they were placed: In important rooms the most precious examples were often gilt and decorated with crystal or cut-glass; in dining rooms, silver examples appear, often to match the cutlery.

Christie's lighting auction

A pair of Louis Philippe ormolu-six-light candelabra, circa 1840. Estimate £18,000-£25,000. Christie’s image

“Influential interior decorators and designers focus on lighting as a priority from the beginning of a project to fruition: It is at the heart of the planning process not only of the architectural shell, but the fully developed interior design scheme. Lighting significantly influences the overall atmosphere of a home, as well as the presence and visibility of all interiors components and works of art,” said Amjad Rauf, head of sale, International Head of Masterpiece and Private Sales.

Christie's lighting auction

A north European green and cut glass six-light chandelier in the manner of Johann Zech, St. Petersburg, 20th century. Estimate £12,000-£18,000. Christie’s image

Amjad continued, “We are also delighted to be working with Martin Brudnezki as a tastemaker on this sale. Martin Brudnezki Design Studio is an internationally acclaimed interior architecture and design studio based in London and New York. MBDS expertise in lighting residential properties globally is recognized as second to none with a large team dedicated solely to the art of lighting.”

Christie's lighting auction

A monumental north European ormolu 12-light chandelier in the manner of Karl Rossi, St. Petersburg, 20th century, (estimate £18,000-£25,000). Christie’s image

Lighting has been essential since the earliest civilizations. Elements of light have been key in the study of the history of Interior Decoration and Design: the homes of the Egyptians, Greek and Romans already contained a form of lamp, and Roman Emperors were often depicted flanked by an oil-lamp. More is known of the great luminary schemes at the Royal Courts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Louis XIV’s Chateau de Versailles is particularly noteworthy as the abundant and luxurious lighting features were the main focus of the palace, which demonstrated the wisdom and power of the king.

The monumental candelabra, crystal and bronze chandeliers in the Galerie des Glaces in Versailles are still the main focal point in one of the most recognizable rooms in the world.

Christie's lighting auction

Commonly seen in Neo-Classical palaces and the courts of Europe, north German ormolu and cut-glass, 12-light chandelier in the manner of Werner & Mieth, Berlin, early 19th century, (estimate £18,000-£25,000). Christie’s image

The invention of electricity in the late 19th century allowed for new methods of lighting. Table lamps were developed in a variety of shapes and styles, occasionally incorporating an earlier artifact such as a vase or column. Let There Be Light also includes an eclectic variety of modern table lamps including examples in brass, painted wood and plaster, porcelain and glass. The recurrent shapes – ovoid, baluster, vase and column – have classical connotations but often with a modern twist giving them a fresh, contemporary feel. Let There Be Light includes contemporary lots consigned by some of the most prominent and renowned British decorators and designers including Vaughan, Robert Kime, Jamb, Soane and Colefax & Fowler.

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