Item of the Month - In Depth

Item Of The Month In Depth, May – Chelsea Barrack’s Chandelier


This month I would like to highlight this unusual chandelier. It was rescued from the neo- Byzantine Victorian chapel in what was the Chelsea barracks here in London. The chapel is the only surviving original part of the old Barracks, along with some railings. The remaining 60’s barracks were recently demolished as part of the controversial Candy & Candy development of the site. There is a huge question mark over whether the chapel will survive, as it does not have listed status, which makes this chandelier quite special.

This chandelier is unusual in that firstly it was for oil and gas and now has been converted to electricity and more so in that it is of North American manufacture. How it ended up in the back of the Chelsea barracks chapel is uncertain, but it was probably the gift of an American family.

It dates to the mid 19th Century and takes its influence from the Regency colza chandeliers in England during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.

It depicts on all three sides a mask of a native American face, which stylistically mimics the classical faces often found on European Colza lights.

The chandelier is made of gilt brass, is triform in shape, and has been newly electrified with hand blown frosted shades. It measures 67cm high x 63cm wide and dates to around c.1850