If you follow us on the social medias, you may have already seen some photos of the subject of this blog post. Brandy, our lighting department manager, recently finished a most massive restoration of impressive proportions: this huge Maria Theresa chandelier.
Measuring about 5 feet across, this fixture was originally made c. 1900. This beauty was finally lit last for the first time in over half a century—25 lights in total! The fixture sold recently but we wanted to commemorate this 8 year journey to restore one of the most regal light fixtures we've seen.
We sat down with Brandy for a little Q & A. Lucky for us, Brandy had photographed most of the process.
Hippo: What year did you start collecting pieces?
Brandy: 2009 (same year I bought champagne for it!)
H: The champagne?
B: Yes, the champagne to toast to its completion!
H: What was the first piece you collected?
B: It came in pieces, not complete. Mostly arms
H: Where did you find the pieces at?
B: They came in through Hippo
H: What parts did have to build/collect?
B: I fabricated all the center clusters, collected all the crystals and dishes (bobeches), re-welded the arms, pieced the whole thing together as I went. I hand-wired every crystal, put pins in rosette and every bobeche then curl them in a very specific style. Plus, re-wire the wiring—tied in correctly to code/UL certified.
I’ve done many smaller ones, so I had a good feel for what it should look like.
(This picture shows the up close detail of the individual wiring of each rosette. Notice the wire curls at the end of each one.)
H: it seems a lot like it you were putting skeleton bones together.
B: Yes, it’s exactly like that. There was no specific way it was intended to be. I had to design the overall appearance.
H: Did you know it would be this huge?
B: I knew it would be at least a 6-arm fixture, at least 4-5 feet across.
H: how many hours do you think it took you in total?
B: At least 15 hours/arm (min of 120 hours just on the arms), and I can’t even count with all the wiring, welding, repainting of the interior, etc.
(Each crystal is hand-wired. This is just a few inches worth!)
It was a bit like doing one of the world’s largest 2-sided puzzles, a great challenge, frustrating but fun. I had it laid out on the floor as I was piecing it together since each piece has a specific side and spot it had to go to.
Thanks for your time Brandy! We just have one final question:
H: Have you opened the bottle of champagne yet?
B: Nope, I will open it as soon as that chandelier walks out that door.
(We do have a customer who has purchased this lovely piece so that champagne toast will be happening soon!)
We can’t wait to celebrate and witness that last step in 8-year long project.