Grant Macdonald London’s candelabra commissions over the last five decades represent a fine study in both artistic interpretations of the form, and practical design concepts. The execution of the form needs to reflect the tastes and aesthetic preferences of the customer, however it also needs to function as effective table lighting. There is something special about the light from wax candles at an evening function that cannot be reproduced by electric bulbs, and it’s for this reason that people and institutions still commission candlesticks and candelabra from our workshops.
Many of our candelabra commissions have come from City of London Livery Companies, who host dinners in large, high-ceiling halls lit by chandelier. These beautiful antique lights can be a little dim for table lighting, and so supplementary light from an atmospheric candelabra adds a sophisticated illumination. However, they can also cause problems of their own. Many 19th Century candelabra were designed to be large, ornate items, decorated with very fine silver craftsmanship which means although they are beautiful to look at, if you are sitting on either side of one, you can’t see the person opposite. This means our designs, in addition to being beautiful, also have to be useful for lighting a diner’s plate and allow diners to converse across the table.
Perhaps one of the most notable examples of our design philosophy can be seen in this pair of four-light candelabra designed for the Scientific Instruments Company in 2008, commissioned by past Master Brian Lowings. Produced in silver with golden coats of arms on the base, they appear as very modern items, finished to a mirror-polish. At first glance, they appear to have an almost minimalist symmetry to them, and no chasing or engraving as you might expect, their decorative nature coming from the unusual twisted metal framework of the stand and arms. However, take a moment and you realise the metal framework is the double-helix of DNA.
These candelabra show the depth of thought that we put into a design. The DNA motif references the work of the Scientific Instruments Company, the design allows the candlelight to be reflected and cast across the table with minimal shadow, making them supremely functional as table lights. The openworked metal and flowing, perfect curves shows incredible precision and attention to detail, the hallmark of a true master craftsman. Together, our candlesticks and candelabra reflect our commitment to blending design, form and function to create bespoke pieces that are unique to the owner, their story and their needs. In many respects, this is why we define Grant Macdonald London’s work as both luxury and legacy.