Chandeliers | The Fashion Museum
Image: Chandelier, Kristy Field Image: Chandelier, Kristy Field Show image info

Chandelier, Kristy Field

Chandeliers

​The Assembly Rooms are lit by a set of nine chandeliers, made for the building in 1771. Today they are considered to be one of the finest sets to have survived from the 18th century.

Jonathan Collett of London originally provided a set of five chandeliers for the Ball Room when it opened in September 1771. Shortly afterwards the arm of one of the chandeliers fell off - narrowly missing the artist, Thomas Gainsborough, who lived nearby at the time. The Ball Room chandeliers were taken down and a new set was ordered from William Parker of London. Parker had already supplied three chandeliers for the Tea Room.

It was agreed that Jonathan Collett should salvage the rejected set of Ball Room chandeliers and make one large chandelier to hang in the Octagon Room.

The chandeliers in the three rooms are each an average height of eight feet and they are made of Whitefriars crystal from the Whitefriars Glassworks in London.

The chandeliers were originally lit by candles: the Ball Room and Tea Room chandeliers with 40 lights each and the Octagon chandelier with 48 lights. Some time in the 19th century they were fitted for gas and were later converted to electric light.

At the start of the Second World War the chandeliers were put into safe store and escaped destruction when the Assembly Rooms were bombed in 1942. During the extensive refurbishment of the building in 1988-1991 the chandeliers were restored by R. Wilkinson & Sons of London.