Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Southwark Cathedral chandelier

click photo to enlarge
Lanterns and chandeliers began to appear in churches from around 1600 to augment the candles and small oil lamps that had been used for centuries. The first, quite plain, English chandeliers were soon supplemented by more ornate models imported from Flanders. Drooping arms fixed to rings featured in seventeenth century examples and highly decorated finials were favoured at the top. By the eighteenth century they had become very ornate with scrolls, brass balls and often a flame as a finial, though doves were popular too: opened winged and feathered was the London style, closed winged and smooth if originating in Bristol.

The example shown in today's photograph is suspended under the crossing of Southwark Cathedral in London. It is inscribed, "The gift of Dorothye relict of Jno. Appleby Esqe to ye Parish Church of St Saviour Southwarke 1680" (the parish church of St Saviour was raised to cathedral status in 1905 though before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 it was a priory - hence its large size). The design of this particular chandelier is quite forward looking and from a distance could be mistaken for one of the Georgian examples that are frequently to be seen in English parish churches.

The silhouette of the chandelier presented a fine shape to photograph in front of the illuminated Gothic vaulting of the nave. Anyone who has followed this blog's photography and discussion of vaulting might be forgiven for thinking it to be a fine example of Early English architecture, along with the lancet windows and the nave arcades, triforium and clerestory. However, they are the work of Arthur Blomfield and date from 1890-1897. Though quite a bit of Southwark Cathedral dates from medieval times successive fires have meant much rebuilding down the centuries and a visitor can glean quite a bit of enjoyment from working out what is original and what is later but in the Gothic style.

For a couple more of my photographs of chandeliers see here and here.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 65mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/50
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On