All out of darkness we have light

Which made the angels sing this night;

 All out of darkness we have light

Which made the angles sing this night;

"Glory to God and peace to men,

Now and forevermore. Amen.".







The Winter Solstice - the shortest and darkest day of the year - is the beginning of the "12 Days of Christmas".  

On this day, the 18th century British home would be decorated with mistletoe, ivy, and other greenery.

And the Yule log or a Yule candle would be lit...

....bringing light into the darkness. 

It was then considered very bad luck should the fire go out.


Traditionally the revelry of wassailing began on the Winter Solstice as well,

culminating on the Twelfth Night - the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany (January 5th)

 - which was actually Christmas Eve before the calendar changes took place in 1752.


May we, too, bring you a bit of light this year!




Rare Charles II Silver Brazier

London, 1677

Mark of "B"

4" High x 6.25" Wide / 12.5 oz.


Oil lamps and braziers were an early source for light. 

Braziers have been in use for over 2000 years - for light, warmth, cooking & ritual - in almost every civilization in the world.  The Bible speaks of braziers heating the winter palace of King Jehoiakim.

Bronze braziers have been found among the ruins of Pompeii. 

In Japan, a brazier is called "hibachi".  


Most braziers were made of clay or a strong metal.  

The brazier above is of fine silver, from the 17th century in England, where it was a receptacle for hot glowing coals and fitted with supports for heating food or perhaps scents for the air. 

The form is similar to the clay braziers used in The Netherlands for warming hands,

and often for igniting sulfur sticks for lighting tobacco pipes (as below).



Two Paintings by Cesar Boëtius van Everdingen, c1650, The Netherlands





THE ORIGIN OF CANDLESTICKS themselves is something of a MYSTERY

The 5th century introduction of "Candlemas Day" might have fostered their introduction, as a procession of clergy blessed and distributed candles that were to be used throughout the year.  The large number of candles necessitated a "holder" - probably a stick of wood.  Within a short time, candlesticks and candelabra were made from precious metals to adorn church altars - the earliest being "pricket", with a sharp point on the end.  These "pricket sticks" did not find use in English churches until the 12th century.

However, in the 16th century, the English clergy decided "pricket sticks" were terrible "monuments of destruction"...

and had them destroyed.


About that time, a candlestick with the cup-like socket that we now know was introduced. 

For the most part, these early English candlesticks were quite small - about 6 inches high - straight and rather functional.  In the mid-17th century, brass candlesticks might have had a wide drip-pan for the then-messy tallow.  But all of that would change from c1670 on, as candlesticks became taller - inch by inch - you can almost date the English candlestick by height.  As the century went on, they became more ornate - baluster, knopped, fluted, twisted, ribbed, branches (candelabra), be-figured, be-leafed, be-ribboned

all providing wonderful reflective and supportive structures from a multitude of substances -

for candlelight - still today a mysterious pleasure that cannot be equaled by "flame-shaped light bulbs" and "rheostats".







 The above left is a small late 17th century Continental brass candlestick from my collection,

likely from The Low Countries.  It is 5.25" high and has a plain spool nozzle. 

On the right it is shown with an English candlestick, c1740.

Most 17th century English candlesticks were either small, or had a large flange mid-stick to catch the melted wax.

Most were imported prior to c1660. 

By 1740, a better tallow that dripped less enabled a "new Form" with the nozzle surmounted by a small flange

- and slightly later the separate "bobeche".




Pair of George II Bell Metal Candlesticks

England, c1740

Having the beginnings of a nozzle "bobeche"

Each verso twice scratched "EMW"


Bell metal generally applies to an alloy of copper and tin that was traditionally used to make a variety of bells, cannons, and very fine ornamental castings.  As there is no zinc in its composition, "bell metal" is a type of bronze rather than a type of brass.  However, the term has for years been applied to a reddish brass that has a high proportion of copper to zinc. It is used for the finest castings.

8.25" High




Fine Pair of Continental Brass Candlesticks

France, c1800 - 1825

Well cast and quite heavy, with original bobeches

10.25" High


A Tip :

Brass requires polishing far less frequently than silver.

The shine of the metal offers the same decorative and reflective qualities, as well as age, at far less cost than silver. 

And yes - metal candlesticks should shine

(unless intentionally patinated, as some of the late 19th century metals). 

Picture a dining room (before electricity) : a fire in the fireplace, candles flickering, and the dancing lights emanating from the all the polished surfaces.  Metals (and glass) long served as a secondary sources of light.  No light switches yet.




Pair of William IV Cast Silver Candlesticks in the George II Rococo Form

S.C. Younge & Co., Sheffield, England, 1830


          The most popular form of mid-18th century candlesticks was "waisted and knopped", resting on a square

or petal form base with shells.  However, their height was still only about 9".  This is the same form, but

with the grandeur and mass that became more popular during the Regency and George IV period. 

 11.5" High






Set of Four George III Old Sheffield Plate Candlesticks

England, c1815


On my personal dining table, I keep a set of 4 Old Sheffield Plate candlesticks around a center-bowl raised

on a silver dish cross - and display the candelabra on the sideboard.  Not only do the four single sticks make

conversation and viewing easier, but on a pedestal-form table offer more stability when the table is

occasionally bumped - which happens.

10" High






Pair of George III Mahogany and Brass Telescoping Candlesticks

England, Last Half 18th century

Finely turned with cast brass acanthus form candlecups


"A considerable variety of wooden candlesticks was made by Thomas Chippendale and his contemporaries,

introduced in the mid-18th century, the stems elegantly turned, and decorated with gadrooning or acanthus ornament." 

(Dictionary of English Furniture, MacQuoid & Edwards) 

I have been fascinated in using these, as they have an entirely different effect from metal, ceramic or glass candlesticks. 

They actually appear to become part of the wooden furniture upon which they rest,

extending the furniture upward in space, rather than simply sitting on the top.

15.75" High, Extending to 23.5"




Pair of George III Old Sheffield Plate Telescoping Candlesticks

Matthew Boulton

Birmingham, England, c1800-1810

Each marked with the double sun and crested with an earl's coronet


For those of you unfamiliar with Matthew Boulton :

Boulton was not only an important British silversmith who was active in establishing the silver assay office in Birmingham, but he was a pioneer with James Watt in the development of the steam engine, making possible the mechanization of factories and mills throughout the United Kingdom.  His techniques were also applied to minting coins, striking millions of coins for the British Royal Mint, as well as for other countries.

8.5" High, extending to 11" High







Pair of George III Old Sheffield Plate Convertible Two-Branch Candelabra

England, c1815, Unmarked

Excellent quality, weight and strong distinctive design;

With central extension and retaining the original central flame

Convertible to candlesticks

The candelabra, 19.5" High





Large Pair of George III Old Sheffield Plate Convertible Three-Branch Candelabra

England, c1815-20

Quite large; of excellent quality and weight,

With central extension, and retaining the original central flame

Convertible to candlesticks, as shown below with "flame"

The candelabra, 21.5" High




"There's a light, there's a light in the darkness

And the black of the night cannot harm us

We can trust not to fear for our comfort is near

There's a light, there's a light in the darkness"

                                                       -Beth Nielsen Chapman,

                                                                                                      Performed by Emmylou Harris, Light of the Stable




"St. John's Vision of the Sever Candlesticks", Albrecht Dürer, c1497-98, Woodcut

George III Silver-Mounted Lignum Vitae Wassail Bowl, England, c1800, Personal Collection

"All Out of Darkness...", "Sussex Carol", Traditional



Please click the above images or titles for further images and information

Click below for our other Christmas Catalogs :

But Now We Come a-Wassailing

Now Bring Us a Figgy Pudding

"Wassail! Wassail! All Over the Town"...& for the Fruit Trees




As usual, please email or call if you have any questions. 


Wishing you light and laughter throughout this Holiday Season !

 "Wæs Hal!"

 Millicent Ford Creech


901-761-1163 (gallery) / 901-827-4668 (cell)



Hours : Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment

Complimentary Gift Wrapping


mfcreech@bellsouth.net  or  mfordcreech@gmail.com



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All out of darkness, we have light! Light for the darkness