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 Chandeliers The crowning glory in many a classically proportioned room, the chandelier is once again enjoying the spotlight. This book takes the reader through the history of the chandelier from its first candle-lit forms to the innovative designs produced today. With 200 beautiful photos in a variety of settings, this book reveals what a chandelier can do for your home.

  Date Published 11/12/2001

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Rated By: design book lover
From: Atlanta, GA
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Comments: Shimmer and Shine
If you are a student of decorative arts or you simply love the sparkle of crystal droplets and soft candlelight in a dimly lit room, "Chandeliers" is for you. It is lavishly illustrated and informative. Hilliard offers a thorough history of the chandelier, from the most rustic wood or bronze medieval pieces to the highly refined crystal showpieces of the 18th and 19th centuries to fanciful Venetian glass creations and contemporary works. Chandeliers are shown in period settings as well as in modern homes and in unexpected settings. An excellent resource list of antique dealers and retailers is also provided complete with website addresses.
Rated By: Lightman
From: New York
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Comments: Creative Possibilities - Straight Up Please
Elizabeth Hilliard is at her best when dealing with the creative possibilities that chandeliers bring to interior design. She does well in describing the recent renaissance in decorating that follows from a new freedom to break the rules of traditional design periods. As she writes, "Today decorating is about choice. Gone are the style police, bent on telling us that something or other will or won't do. Instead, we can choose for ourselves, opting for the extremes of severe minimalism or flamboyant opulence, or indeed anything in between".

I particularly liked the images that depict the unexpected eclecticism that this freedom affords. For instance, Hilliard describes the use of an ornate Versailles style chandelier in a modern kitchen as follows: "A glamorous Schonbek chandelier hung low over a simple kitchen table provides a study in contrasts: remove it, and the room loses far more than merely a source of light".

Unfortunately, most of the text is devoted to a rather dry and somewhat incomplete history of chandeliers. An exception is the chapter dealing with Murano and the rise of the Venetian tradition, which conveys the romance and intrigue that accompanied the development of crystal chandeliers in that part of the world.

One final note; while the pictures are indeed gorgeous, the orientation of a significant number of them onto the diagonal is distracting. This design decision might have been appropriate for a subject lacking in visual interest - clearly not the case with the beautiful chandeliers featured in this book.