Whenever you see an antique shop in person or an online, you are bound to find antique brass ceiling lights. These are usually the items that comes to a person’s mind when they think antiques. Chandeliers are usually associated with this term so there’s no wonder this sort of lighting is popular among buyers.
We here love to work with all sort of metals and materials. Brass is up there with our choice of reproduction materials. So let’s dive into the world of metallic beauty and see what antique brass ceiling lights are about.
What exactly is brass?
Brass is an alloy mix that consists of copper and zinc so that it can be later used for mechanical and electrical properties. Like with bronze, another alloy, brass includes other elements such as arsenic, lead, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese and silicon.
Brass was a popular for its expensive looking appearance. At one time, particularly in wealthier homes, brass was used in just about every decoration. These decorations and accessories included, door handles, lamp stands, sconces, draw knobs, mirrors, just to name a few. This alloy was used for many electrical and thermal conductivity.
Today we still use brass for low friction and corrosion resistance. This includes plumbing, zippers, valves, gears, bearings and hinges. If you’ve ever heard of a “brass ensemble” or “brass section” you’ll know this has to do with a collection of musical instruments.
A history of antique brass ceiling lights
When someone mentions ceiling lights, in our modern day we think of the round circular lights that are embedded into the ceiling its self. That or, chandeliers, we will primarily focus on chandeliers as this type of lighting is the staple of antique lighting.
In the dark ages we had to rely on wooden or iron creations to light our rooms. A newer, more robust solution was desperately needed. It wasn’t till around the 15th century we began to use brass.
This is where the Dutch ball chandeliers made their first appearance. They were also known as Flemish chandeliers. Flemish being a town in Dinant which is now known to be Belgium today.
These chandeliers where made with the illustrious brass metal that gave it a holy yet decadent appearance. Notable for the large central brass sphere and upward curvature candle holders, they were a very popular styles for many, many centuries to come.
These were the very definition of antique brass ceiling lights. Flemish chandeliers gain attraction in the interiors of old churches. This is where Jan Van Eyck made the beautiful painting of the earliest know Flemish chandelier in 1434.
Rock Crystal Chandelier
Another notable style of antique chandeliers is the rocky crystal style. A classic example that has survived the test of time and can be seen in many homes today in smaller scale.
With the success of the Flemish chandelier, this style emerged in the very late of the 16th century in France. It consisted of a large metal frame crowded with many decorative crystal rocks that dangled downward. The rock crystal is a clear form of quartz and was known for being very difficult to cut thus being expensive for it’s time.
Through metal workers this style has made it’s way across Europe and began to slowly spread even further. There’s no real clear answer to when this style became so popular but it gave way for more styles to emerge and take over.
Keeping up with the crystal theme, we then see the Baroque style. Another style that has also originated from France. Antique brass ceiling lights are also associated with this style.
This style was utilized by King Louis XIV of France or the “Sun King” to exercise power and to reflect his glory over the Italian renaissance’s rising influence in the arts and fashion. This gave birth to the Baroque style also known in France as “Le style Louis Quartoze”.
A bronze or brass frame was used to create a “birdcage” design. Large and layered cut crystals were formed at the top and spread outward at the base, giving it a vase like shape. This style lead to yet another form of chandelier to come out of France.
France has a knack for the arts and design. When you’re at an auction, you are most likely to spot this style of antique brass ceiling light.
The Rococo style also known as “Late Baroque” is a successor of French Baroque. Rococo became popular throughout Europe in the mid 1700s, just as our family business was beginning to emerge.
The word Rococo translates to French as “rock work” or “rocaille” as its extravagant style resemble thick, twisted sea-shells. It was a much more excessive and decadent style to its former predecessor. Curves, swirls in various irregular directions with a grotesque, yet beautiful leaf-like appearance. This quickly grown popular among churches and wealthy establishments across France and Europe.
We have always been fond of working with antique brass ceiling lights. Over time we have created and replicated near enough every early known style that is associated with the material.
Today we have an endless amounts of choice and an unmatched selection for design. If you are an avid antique who enjoys fancy lighting, we may have something of interest.