Baccarat Chandelier

Buckart Chandler – In the first of a new series revealing how Christie’s experts value works of art and objects, Giles Forster shares his checklist for this stunning Baccarat chandelier, circa 1890.

French ormolu and cut glass 24-light chandelier, Baccarat, Paris, circa 1890. 60 inches (152.5 cm) high; 33 inches (84 cm) diameter. Estimate: £30,000-50,000 Offered in Collector: Silver and 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture and Works of Art Christie’s London 23 May.

Baccarat Chandelier

Baccarat Chandelier

“Baccarat is the most famous name in glassmaking and the only 19th-century glassmaker left in business today,” explains Giles Forster, head of 19th-century furniture and sculpture at Christie’s London.

Chandelier 24 lights

In 1764 King Louis XV of France gave permission to establish a glass workshop in Baccarat. By the 19th century it had become the Compagnie des Crystallaires de Baccarat, producing objects that were and still are synonymous with luxury.

Baccarat chandelier drawing (c. 1880) related to the one pictured above © Baccarat, Archives de la Manufacture

In the mid-19th century, Baccarat discovered that the addition of nickel oxide to the manufacturing process produced a completely transparent, colorless product that imitated precious rock crystal. Baccarat glass was designed as “crystal glass,” which, according to Forster, is “highly prized not only for its extraordinary clarity, but also for its great strength and weight.” The term “crystal” can only be applied to glass containing 24% lead oxide.

An important part of Baccarat production in the 19th century were dinner plates, perfume bottles, weights and decorative objects. The chandeliers are among the most expensive pieces of art created by Baccarat, often produced for display or commissioned only by wealthy clients such as Russian tsars, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and Indian royalty.

Bringing these features 19t contrasted gilt bronze and crystal, six gloss chandeliers, bi-bucket.

Baccarat chandeliers still in production are particularly fascinating, and the best examples are from the late 19th century, when baccarat combined ‘crystal glass’ with gilded bronze or ‘ormolu’, sculptural mounts.

The ormolu mounted cherubs on these chandeliers mark this as one of the most desirable examples of 19th century baccarat. French Ormolu and cut glass 24-light chandelier, Baccarat, Paris, circa 1890. 60 inches (152.5 cm) high; 33 inches (84 cm) diameter. Estimate: £30,000-£50,000. Offered in the collector: Silver and 19th century furniture, sculpture and works of art in 2019. May 23 Christie’s, London

The best and most desirable Baccarat chandeliers of this period feature gilt bronze or ormolu-mounted sculptural figures, such as the cherubs holding candlesticks in the example above.

Baccarat Chandelier

To create such elaborate and valuable works of art, Baccarat collaborated with sculptors such as François Hippolyte Moreau (1832-1927) and Ormolu bronze foundries such as Thibaut Freres. The combination of Baccarat glass and gilded bronze makes this chandelier more desirable and rarer than a plain glass example.

House of Crystals

“I always look at the casting quality of Ormolu mounts,” explains Forster. “They must have been cast in pieces joined together before the gilding and surface finishing, so I look for traces of joins visible under the gilding between the arms and the torso of the figures.”

Forster also looks for “the quality of the finer details – how the surface behaves after flooding or chasing as it’s called”. It’s obvious how to finish faces and hands – the digits on the hands need to be distinct, and the faces need to be animated and realistic with defined features.

When using chandeliers, it is inevitable that some glass drops and pendants will be lost, replaced or moved, as the chains and drops need to be removed and reattached each time they are moved.

“I make sure that most of the glass is original,” says the expert. “Baccarat glass is hand blown and perfectly pressed. You can tell by the slight unevenness of the scale, especially if it is a teardrop pendant.

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The work of a glass cutter is as highly skilled as that of a glass blower. “Crystal is sculpturally carved to nuanced depth by holding the glass against a rotating wheel of a sandstone or diamond set,” explains Forster.

“With baccarat, I’m looking at glass weights,” explains Forster. “It should be heavy in the hand, and the crystalline color of the rocks breaks a little when you look at it. The black shade and bright cut of the baccarat glass diffuses the light in a particularly attractive way, giving the diamond sparkle.

Forster looks for marks, stamps and signatures to establish authenticity and accurately estimate the date. You will usually see a white etched mark on baccarat glassware. On light fixtures, this is often done with raised molded capitals on droppers,” he says. A gilt bronze on the Baccarat stamp shows a decanter between a wine glass and a goblet (as shown below).

Baccarat Chandelier

A gilt bronze or bass chandelier on a solid glass ball base is marked with baccarat signs depicting a decanter between a wine glass and a goblet on the underside.

Very fine gilt bronze & crystal chandelier. These were Louise and Style. B. Bakkart.

This Baccarat chandelier will be offered at Christie’s London on May 23rd. The Collector: Silver and 19th-Century Furniture, Sculpture and Arts of Art. Estimate: £30,000-50,000 Given the natural color of the metal, the metal parts are made of brass.

To achieve the silver color, the brass part is covered with a layer of nickel or chrome. This is why the silver surface finish is more expensive, more difficult to manufacture.

The luxurious chandelier with 24 lights is particularly eye-catching with its beautifully cut crystal parts. Elegant vases – called tulips – surround the bulbs, which reflect and multiply their light. The bowls under the bulbs and in the central part of the light combine a cut decoration with a sandblasted matte finish. The luster of the lamp is further enhanced by the decorations, exquisitely cut from Czech crystal. The lamp is suitable for large representative interiors with high ceilings.

Do you want to see for yourself the quality of our lamps? To see how they reflect light and how they can change a room? Visit our showroom. Information here >>

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You don’t need to remove anything and wash it by hand. Once a year, spray it thoroughly with a special cleaning spray, all the dirt will dissolve and drain away by itself. You can find the complete cleaning procedure here >>

LED lights have undoubtedly made the most technological and design advances in recent times. They have a long service life and low energy consumption. So your chandelier uses less energy than your TV. About LED bulbs in our lamps >>

Whether you are interested in chandelier maintenance, chandelier customization, or are unsure about your choice, get in touch. We are happy to answer all your questions – please contact customer service >>

Baccarat Chandelier

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