An interesting gilt tole Eight-arm chandelier with faux lace ‘ruff,’ in the barochetto taste

Italian. Circa 1840.


Height: 29 1/2" (75 cm); Diameter: 30 3/4" (78 cm).

Of gilt tôle. The compact bulbous stem with tiers of embossed, gadrooned and foliated ornament pierced to the upper  body. The center issuing eight scrolling foliate s-shaped arms, each terminating in a vase-shaped nozzle, the arms encircled by a pierced repeating diaper pattern ‘ruff,’ the whole terminating in a foliate flared finial.

A North Italian Collection

The present chandelier is made of gilt tôle, a decorative material created by covering sheet iron with tin-plate and then varnishing and painting or gilding it. The material was invented from technical investigations into the rust-proofing of iron in the early eighteenth century. Aside from its practical uses, its decorative potential was quickly recognized; during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the technique was practiced throughout Europe.

The present chandelier is an unusual example where a tôle surface has been entirely gilded as opposed to a more typical finish of a predominating color with partially gilded accents. A further, probably unique feature of this piece is the inclusion of a pierced encircling ‘ruff’, clearly designed to resemble seventeenth and eighteenth century lace.

Generally speaking, the style of the piece hails from the transitional moment where the massivity of late Baroque design meets the first flowerings on the Rococo, known in Italy as ‘Barocchetto.’ The chandelier dates from around the year 1840, a moment of sudden renewed interest in early eighteenth century furniture and interior decoration. 

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.