Need help identifying chandelier

TallTomSeptember 5, 2012


I bought a chandelier a few years ago in Belgium, which I estimate to be approximately 100 years old (late art nouveau/early art deco). It has an bowl in alabaster, and in the metal I found a maker's mark which looks like the drawing attached.

I have been struggling to find the resources where such mark can be identified. Can anybody help?

Many thanks,


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That's the British Registry mark....used between 1863 and 1883.

Here is a link that might be useful: British registry

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:08PM
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It seems the chandelier is older than I thought: registration before 1867 (not sure why Lindac referred to 1863 and 1883)? It is a pitty the top letter identifying the year is not readable. I attached a picture of the chandelier, just in case somebody else has something interesting to say about it :-)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Fori is not pleased

Isn't 1867 between 1863 and 1883?

It's pretty! Don't drop it! :)

Do you think the little shades are original?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:50PM
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That's really beautiful! I doubt the shades are original if the fixture is dated 1867. A 1867 chandelier would have burned gas, as electricity wasn't widely available until the 20th century. Gas burners/shades are turned upwards, only electric bulbs and shades can hang downward. However, it could be an electric chandelier from the 1920'ish years. I have seen many bowl type chandeliers from this period.

IMHO the white shades are too bright against the alabaster bowl. Amber or ivory colored glass shades might complement the bowl better.

Some close-up photos would help to determine if it is a1860's gasolier that was later electrified, or if it is an electric fixture from the early 20th century. Pay attention to where it attaches to the ceiling, where the pendant lights are attached, the ends of the arms, what is inside the bowl, are there any bits where it looks as though something has been removed/added, etc.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:40PM
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It's a beautiful chandelier but if the top letter is missing from the diamond, how did you determine that it's from 1867?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 6:50PM
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The mark is in the form of the English registry number. However, when a design is registered does not necessarily indicate when it is made. Just as when a patent is registered here, a product made from that design will carry the original patent number, but may be made years later.

Another thing about the mark as indicated in the sketch. The left most mark and the right most mark are both alphabetical. They shouldn't be. One should be numerical according to the link.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 6:51PM
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I assumed he wasn't reading correctly.
Also....only that part which is marked is "registered"...not the glass, not the "onyx"...just that which has the mark.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:13PM
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The registry mark is on the top bit which goes against the ceiling (see picture). As mentioned in the follow up by calliope, the sketch does not match with what should be possible. I can only conclude that the sketch is not accurate, and probably the D on the right is wrong (it was very hard to read from the mark). Maybe '5' or '15' is a better match (May 15th). The year mark is not readable, but as this particular mark was used until 1867, we can conclude that the design (of the piece carrying the mark) was registered 1867 latest, right?

Note: it was really really really hard to fit the chandelier to the ceiling, so I'm not keen on taking it off just to double check the mark.

About the gas vs. electricity: I will post some detailed pictures of the chandelier later. The most interesting part however (the top part) is not visible anymore, because it is hidden in the little box I made to attach to the ceiling: I did this to hide the ends of the arms sticking out a few cm, with some rollers for which I do not understand the use. Maybe I can draw a sketch of what it looks like for a better understanding.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:09AM
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The little shades are not original: there were no shades on the chandelier when I bought it. I agree that the ones on now are not the best fit (they are too white and too new), and if we find better ones, these will be replaced.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:13AM
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Detail of the arm ends. Evidence that this was once a gasolier that was later electrified?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:11PM
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This is a sketch of the little pulleys that are on the other ends of the arms, used to fix the arms to the ceiling rose, and of the 'central' pulley, larger than the other 3 pulleys on the arms, which is used to fix the rose + whole lamp to the ceiling. It's a shame I did not take a picture of this before I attached it to the ceiling, as all this is not visible anymore.

Although I fail to see how this would work with 4 pulleys technically, could it be that this pulley system was used to allow the lamp to be lowered for refil or extra light?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:36PM
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The end of the arm looks as though it was sawn off and a small filler soldered in the end. The lamp holder also seems to be soldered to the arm in an odd way, and I can see two modern screws attaching the arm to the ring holding the bowl. These three things don't look like 19th century craftsmen to me. I wish I could see a pic from above looking down into the bowl. I suspect the elbows where the horizontal and vertical rods connect are done in a similiar fashion, as well as the lamp lighting the bowl.

There are a lot of other things that don't add up with this fixture. Yes, there were gas and oil chandeliers that hung from pulleys and used counterweights so that they could be pulled down for lighting, cleaning, etc. Pull-down gas lights had a special gas fitting called a "water slide" which allowed the supply tube to be extended when the fixture was pulled down. If that were the case with this one, there are a whole lot of missing parts. But what I see as a more obvious problem is that there are not enough pulleys, no weights, no water slide (or gas supply for that matter) and there is no handle, ring, knob or finial for one to grab to pull it down. The bowl, if it is original, would make a terrible handle. All of the pull-down chandeliers I have seen have had something to pull it down with.

If it were indeed an original gas fixture, the gas would need a path to follow from the ceiling to the burners at the ends of the arms, and to some sort of burner in the center to illuminate the bowl. There are no valves or fittings that I can see, the three individual tubes do not seem to be joined at any common supply union, and the pulleys screwed in the top ends of each of the three arms would make it impossible to connect them to gas.

So if it wasn't a gas chandelier, maybe it was oil lamps held at the end of each arm, raised and lowered by pulleys and weights. Could be, but again, the bowl doesn't make sense because, it could not be illuminated by an oil lamp, and it doesn't provide a handhold to grasp in order to lower it for lighting/refilling.

The final thing is the rosette doesn't fit with an oil light. It most definetly looks like an 1860's gasolier ceiling rosette. It has the pierced design to provide ventilation of the combustion fumes, and it also has a center hole for the gas supply tube. The three downrods seem to go through the holes in the rosette, but I can't see from the pictures if those holes look like they were part of the original casting or drilled later. Also, there's the fact that there are no gas fittings and the pulleys prevent connecting a gas supply.

I might believe that someone has created your chandelier using parts of various other fixtures he had on hand, but the trouble with that idea is it doesn't make sense either. Why would someone with the skill to join all these pieces together go to the trouble of using pulleys to put it together at the top, when it would have been so much easier to use washers and nuts to attach the tops of the three rods directly through the holes in the rosette and then hang the whole thing from a threaded down rod through the center of the rosette?

Wish I had a better answer for you, but it is a mystery to me. But the only thing that really matters is that it looks really cool and you like it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:10PM
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