"CANDLELIGHT" has long had deep and powerful significance for humankind.
Lighting candles can symbolize birth, death, sacredness, vitality,
as well as hope, friendship, compassion and love.
Even the 'flickering of a flame' is known to bring calm in times of trial.
Candlelight holds a prominent role in a great many secular and religious ceremonies.
Once I had the magical experience of participating in Christmas
through the narrow (6'wide) streets of old Guanajuato, Mexico, in which processions,
even very young! children carefully carry lighted candles,
as all participants symbolically
"hope to find room at the inn".
Perhaps one of
the more dramatic examples of the
occurred at the 1969 Woodstock (NY) Festival.
A young inexperienced Melanie Safka was unexpectedly called forth from attending artists
to substitute for a band who did not wish to perform in a rainstorm.
Melanie's mother had brought her to the concert - the weekend having been envisioned as
"three days of peace, love, and music ... going to be more like a picnic with kids, families ..."*
When Melanie walked onstage - to perform solo from a single folding chair with only her guitar -
she was "shivering with fear and feeling way out of her league".*
The masses (100,000+) of people covering the rain-soaked hillsides must have sensed her intimidation
and responded by lighting candles, matches, and lighters in encouragement -
raising them high into the rain
(now a common occurrence, but unheard of at that time).
"I was seeing this hillside come toward me with this flickering light.
It was a vision, an absolute vision of this flow of humanity coming toward me."*
The flames' overwhelming
encouragement enabled the young singer to rise above her fears,
gradually perform with
excellence ... and to walk off the same stage a new star.
In 1970, Melanie Safka wrote and recorded the power
of the event in the
now internationally famous
"Lay Down (Candles In the Rain)",
with the spoken intro :
"Candles in the rain / Men can live as brothers
Candles in the rain"
Purposely following Woodstock's model of
"candlelight and encouragement",
in April 2020 - 51 years
after that August weekend -
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi
urged millions of India's people to light candles, torches, and mobile flashlights
on balconies and
windows for nine minutes
Sunday evening, April 5,
to "challenge the darkness" of COVID-19.
As the clock struck 9, people gathered at windows and
on balconies (shown below),
flashing mobile lights,
and lighting candles and diyas (lamplights)
as a symbol of unity in the fight,
which had, at the time, inflicted over
1,200,000 people in India.
... The above are just a few examples in the long history of
the magic of "mere candlelight".
However, the origin of a stable "holder" for this "candlelight" remains something of a mystery.
It is thought that the 5th century Christian introduction of "Candlemas Day"
could 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 simple stick of wood.
A VARIETY OF "CANDLELIGHT" HOLDERS FROM OUR STOCK
"COPPER ALLOY", or "BRASS"* :
'Capstan' Copper Alloy Candlestick, Spain or Portugal
17th Century / Peened connection verso
5" High, The Base 4.5" Wide / 13.1 oz
Rare Early 18th Century Copper Alloy 'Spulenleuchter-type' (coil) Chamberstick
Nuremberg, Germany, c1700-1720
The central slide with three candle height positions
Since the 15th century, Nuremberg has been known for their high-quality small copper alloy objects.
7.4" High, 6" Diameter / Weight 16.6 oz.
Pair of George II Brass Petal Base Candlesticks
England, c1740, with the beginnings of attached bobeches
6.5" High, The Foot 4-5/8" Wide / 26.4 oz.
Brass Baluster Candlestick with Saucer Base, in the 17th Century Spanish Style
Probably Iberian, c1720
9.75" High, The Saucer, 5" Wide / 44.1 oz.
18th CENTURY BRITISH "TAPERSTICKS" :
Rare George I Glass Taperstick, England, c1720
raised on an applied terraced folded foot; rough snapped pontil
4.25" High, The Foot, 2" Wide / 2.2 oz.
Early George III Cast Rococo Silver Taperstick
'Hex Foil' Shell Base with Original Bobeche
5.25" High, The Foot 3.25" Wide / 5.7 oz.
Rare & Fine Pair South Staffordshire Enamel on Copper Tapersticks
England, c1760, with delicate and precise detail
Tapersticks usually came as a single stick. Pairs are quite rare.
6 .5" High, The Foot 2.5" / 8.7 oz.
in SILVER :
Pair George III Silver Clustered-Column Candlesticks
William Cafe, London, 1768 / crested for the Dukes of Gordon,
Provenance : By descent through the family,
Letterfourie House, Morayshire, Scotland
(designed for the Dukes of Gordon by Robert Adam)
12" High / The Foot, 6.25" Wide
57 oz. Total (loaded stems, inset carved wooden bases)
Good Set of Four George IV Silver Neoclassical Candlesticks
Creswick & Co. Sheffield, 1820
11-1/8" High / 12 lbs. 14 oz. total (loaded)
Good Pair Regency Silver Candlesticks
John Roberts & Co., Sheffield, 1813
Each Crested to the Foot & Bobeche : 'a stag's head erased, attired'
10.75" High, The Foot, 5.75" Wide / 40.5 oz. (Loaded)
Pair of George III Flat-Cut Glass Candlesticks
England, c1770 / 10.5" High, The Foot, 6" Wide
68.4 oz (4 lbs. 4.4 oz)
Sentimental but powerful thoughts about candlelight would be incomplete
without mentioning the following :
the symbolism of candlelight cited by Elton John, in
in the Wind",
written for Marilyn Monroe, and reworded for Princess Diana;
"Light One Candle",
written by Peter Yarrow and recorded by Peter Paul and Mary :
"Don't let the light go out! Let it shine through our hope and our tears."
And just that 'one more thing' : It is well known that
'all ladies' - of any age - appear more beautiful in the soft glow of
A Few Notes Regarding British Candlesticks:
Most early 17th century candlesticks used in England were of Continental origin.
* Most were made of "copper alloy" - an alloy of varying proportions of copper and zinc -
also known as "brass".
Due to this variance and additions of other elements (lead, arsenic, etc.),
increasingly museums are using the more general term "copper alloy",
particularly regarding pre-18th century wares.
The earliest remaining British candlesticks generally date from c1650.
While Continental candlesticks ranged in height and form,
17th century English candlesticks became
(as opposed to the earlier "pricket form")
and were relatively small - most about 5 to 8 inches high.
The mid-17th century English candlestick also featured a wide drip-pan mid-stem,
to collect the then-messy tallow.
Around 1740, a better tallow that dripped less enabled a "new form" with
the nozzle surmounted by a small flange (above left)) -
and slightly later the separate "bobeche"(above right).
This drip pan moved up the stem toward the nozzle as the century progressed.
From c1670 on, candlesticks slowly became taller,
until they reached 12" in the mid-18th century.
In addition to increased height, 18th and 19th century British candlesticks became more ornate -
baluster, knopped, fluted, twisted, ribbed, branched (candelabra), figured, leafed, beribboned -
all providing wonderful reflective and supportive structures serving as
'additional sources of light'
beneath the VERY IMPORTANT FLAMES they held!
"Candle light in the dark" :
"Opening ceremony at Woodstock, August 15, 1969" : Mark Goff :
"New Delhi, India, April 5 2020" :
People light diyas or oil lamps
in a show of solidarity and support for frontline workers,
on day twelve of the nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus,
at Moti Nagar, on April 5, 2020 in New Delhi, India : Imago (by lease)
Quotations regarding Melanie Safka :
"three days of peace...", "Melanie | 50 Years of Peace & Music",
by Wade Lawrence & Scott Parker /
"shivering...", and "Candles in the Rain Intro"
"Melanie – About a Song : 'Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)'",
by Madeline Bocaro, August 16, 2019 /
"I was seeing this hillside..." : "Melanie on 'Candles in the Rain,' 'Brand New Key' & More",
by Jeff Tamarkin, Best Classic Bands Editor,
bestclassicbands.com (accessed 3/10/2023)
Inventory Photography :
Millicent F. Creech