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Candlesticks

At the beginning of the Victorian era, homes were lit by either candles or oil lamps. Hanging chandeliers and wall sconces were lit for special occasions, but ordinary life after sunset was illuminated by candlesticks, oil lamps and firelight. By the end of the 19th century gas lighting and electricity became common in urban homes. Still, candlelight was a mainstay for ordinary evening activities such as dining, reading and playing cards throughout the Victoria period. In the dining and living rooms of fashionable homes, candlesticks and candelabra were placed on the mantelpiece, dining table and other side tables. Portable chambersticks lit the way at bedtime. Early Victorian candles were produced from either beeswax or spermaceti wax procured from the whaling industry. By the end of the 19th century the production of candles from modern paraffin wax became commercially viable.

Majolica candlesticks are frequently of a figural nature although naturalistic designs were produced by Minton, George Jones and others. Owing to their placement in the Victorian home, candlesticks were often produced as a proper pair to enhance the symmetry of a mantelpiece or dining table. Both Minton and Wedgwood drew upon their heritage in the design of majolica candle holders. Many of their most impressive majolica candlesticks and larger candelabra were based upon molds previously used in the production of Parian, jasperware and black basalt.

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