Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Electrolier, Gasolier, Chandelier II

Further to a previous blog entry, I am happy to report that the gasolier purchased at auction has now been installed in the Gentleman's Dressing Room. We are slowly getting the decorative items for this room into position. You can see a rag-bag of curtains, pictures and mirrors strewn around waiting to be mounted. The first image shows the chandelier essentially sans shades, with a single "try it for size" shade at the back:

installed electrolier pre-shades today

The second image shows the chandelier essentially avec shades, with a single shade still to be delivered - hopefully tomorrow. I angled the photo to hide the single bare light bulb.

installed electrolier post-shades today

Even a basic opaque globe shade was next to impossible to track down in this size in the UK. Each shade has a flanged or splayed neck, which fits into a 2 1/4" brass gallery, with brass screws holding the glass in place. There are plenty of suitable shades in the US on eBay, but the delivery costs worked out at $200+ ! I would have preferred a different design of shade, but beggars can't be choosers. :-)

A correspondent pointed out that the arms of the electrolier are on upside down. Once someone tells you, it's obvious. The gas mantles would have pointed upwards as flames go upwards so the galleries would originally have been at the bottom.

My research into the history of lighting, reveals that there was a revolutionary gas mantle design that allowed the flame to burn pointing downwards. However, I am pretty certain my chandelier is not of this variety. This technology was very rare and short-lived and indeed the visual balance of the light fitting's design works better with the arms rotated 180 degrees.

Another correspondent suggested an oil lamp should be called an "oilier". :-)

One day I may fit better shades and set up the light fitting as originally intended...

And on the theme of installations that occurred today, Gregor fitted a marble fireplace in the bedroom that he is currently working on. My email records show I bought this in 2015 from UK Architectural Heritage on eBay. It is rare to get a good price from an architectural antiques yard but I think the dark fossil patination put most people off bidding. Of course, precisely what I love about the fireplace is the Victorian period aesthetic. And if you are into geological aesthetics, you can see cross sections of mega-limpets that are millions of years old. 

The fireplace opening in question had latterly been blocked up to connect a wood or coal burning stove. And years of experience, largely chilly experience, at the castle has convinced me that is the better way to heat such a large room compared to an open fireplace. So far we have kept open fireplaces open, as there is really nothing like an open fire. This also honours the spirit of the building, but I daresay I will be judiciously be putting stoves in front of other fireplaces in future.

installed fossil marble fireplace

The plan is to tile the surface of the historic concrete infill: an emerald would fit the room's upcoming colour scheme.

Gregor swept the chimney thoroughly before installing the fireplace. It took twelve lengths of 1m sections, before his sweep's brush appeared out the top of the chimney. And this is on the top floor of the castle!!! Goodness knows how we can sweep the flues for the fireplaces in the basement of the castle.

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