Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Note of Gratitude at Christmas

Holidays are about celebrating. Different countries and cultures celebrate different holidays and traditions, but they usually come down to celebrating. Whether it’s a holiday celebrating someone’s life, someone’s sacrifice or someone’s birth, holidays are always a good time for reflection. Christmas season is no exception, and for us at A. Tyner Antiques the word of this holiday is: Gratitude.

One of the wonderful things about this time of year is that we are usually forced to step out of our everyday normalcy or routine. For some people, this is a very difficult season. For others, it’s the most magical time of all. Either way, it’s a time where your heart is being exposed. The “Christmas spirit” takes many forms: you focus on finding your loved ones the perfect gift that will bring that smile you love so much. You work many extra hours to decorate your client’s house on time so that she / he can have the most brilliant holiday party. You decide to volunteer to serve the less fortunate ones. You’re part of the choir in your chosen place of worship… It’s a time of giving and receiving.

At A Tyner Antiques, we wanted to take this opportunity to give our thanks to you all, express our gratitude, because we have been receiving from you so much… We have been counting our blessings all year long, but we want to take advantage of this blog post to tell you all how we are grateful for your presence in our lives. We hear from some of you almost daily while with others it’s here or there. Regardless of the frequency, we know that it is our designers, our clients and our friends that give us the good fortune to be able to live every day in the world of beauty and brightness that is the antiques business.

So this Christmas, or whatever holiday you may be celebrating, all of us here at A Tyner Antiques hope that you have the most magical, wonderful holiday yet. May you enter 2016 full of joy and hope and enthusiasm for an extraordinarily prosperous year!

With gratitude,

The  A. Tyner Antiques Team

Christmas Celebrations...

New York City


Washington, DC


Vatican City



And of course just down the road in Stone Mountain, Georgia...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

700 Years of Light - Chandeliers From Simple Wooden Crosses to Shimmering Bursts of Light

The English word chandelier comes the French world chandelle, which means candle, and chandelle comes from the Latin word candere, which means ‘be white, glisten.’

Today glisten is definitely a word most of us would associate with chandeliers. When we think of chandeliers, we usually think of a giant, ornate, crystal or glass covered fixture that features dozens of lights and seems like it might illuminate an entire stadium… albeit a small one! Of course such chandeliers do exist, but that’s definitely not how they got started.

An electric version of an early wooden cross chandelier
The first chandeliers of the 14th century were little more than wooden crosses with nails at the end of each arm to hold candles. Soon more complex forms were created based on ring or crown designs. Although early chandeliers were relatively simple, they were still quite expensive and therefore typically only found in churches, abbeys, other large gathering places as well as in the homes of the wealthiest merchants and nobles. Indeed, with the poor housing construction of the time, chandeliers would have posed a great fire hazard in most other structures.

As manufacturing techniques and materials evolved, chandeliers became far more varied and elegant. While wooden chandeliers remained a staple for centuries, over time metals, glasses and crystals would come to dominate the chandelier universe. This is particularly true of wealthy households and in public spaces that were intended to impress nobles and commoners alike.

By the late 17th century chandeliers were quite ornate, with long curved arms, dozens of candles and unique designs. Although the majority of pieces at the time were still wood and cast metals, gilding was an increasingly sought after feature. In the 18th century developments in Bohemian glassmaking allowed lead crystal, with its light refracting facets, to become a common element of high end chandeliers. At the same time, the Venetians, not wanting to be left out of the mix, began crafting unique chandeliers of their own which included intricate carvings of leaves, flowers, fruits as well as a spectrum of colors that were a specialty of Murano. In addition, Murano glass, because of its unique properties, was some of the lightest glass in the world, which allowed for more decoration without adding tremendously to the weight of the piece. These embellishments were particularly important to Venetian success as Murano glass was not suitable for faceting.

In the mid to late 19th century gas challenged candles as a the primary light source for chandeliers. By the dawn of the 20th century however, as access to electricity became widespread and dependable, replaced both gas and candles as the main light source for chandeliers. In the case of some extraordinary chandeliers, they started out with candles, were reworked to use gas then were reworked again for electricity.

The Hall of Mirrors at Herrenchiemsee
Of course the advent of electricity and the move away from candles made chandeliers far more accessible to the common household – although still reserved for the relatively well off. The cost savings came from the fact that chandeliers with candles burnt a lot of candles and often took large and expensive staffs to light and maintain. Perhaps the greatest example of this can be found in Schloss Herrenchiemsee, King Ludwig’s Bavarian tribute to Versailles. In one room alone – the Hall of Mirrors – Ludwig had 52 candelabras and 33 giant chandeliers. Together these 85 lights were illuminated by 7,000 candles, which took a staff of 70 a full thirty minutes to light every night the king was in the residence. Not surprisingly, Ludwig ran out of money in 1885 and had to stop construction on the palace. When he died a year later Herrenchiemsee had 50 rooms that were still unfinished.

Today chandeliers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are shimmering with countless faceted crystals while others are made of wrought iron. Still others are made of brass or even wood. A chandelier is often the first item that attracts the eye and as such usually sets the tenor of the room. Whether it’s in a brightly lit dining room with a high white ceiling or a dusky wood paneled den, like the cherry on top of a sundae, finding just the right chandelier can pull all of a room’s elements together and create an ambience that is far more than the sum of its various parts.

A French Six-Light Iron Chandelier with Applied Gilded Elements. Circa 1960.

An Art Deco Chandelier with mirrored ball

An Italian Basket Crystal Four-Light Chandelier with Crystal Center Column and Gold Mercury Glass Accents. Early 20th Century.

A Dale Chihuly glass chandelier

A French Eight-Light Wrought Iron Round Chandelier with Twisted Arms. Circa 1940 or 1950.

A Lüsterweibchen Austrian Light Fixture - c. 1820-30 consisting of the torso of a maiden with "Antlers Wings" and a Coat of Arms.

A chandelier in the Napoleon III Apartments in the Louvre

A Pair of Italian Early 19th Century Crystal Chandeliers With Wooden Central Column, Multiple Faceted Crystals and Swoop Gilded Arms. 2 Available, Priced and Sold Separately.

A French Vintage Eight-Light Painted Iron Chandelier with S-Scroll Arms
from the Mid 20th Century.

Empire 24 Carat Gold Hotel Chandelier

Beautiful Italian Late 18th Century ~ Early 19th Century Church Hanging Lantern. Wonderful Paint and Carving.

An Exquisite 10-Light Italian 19th Century and Later Crystal Chandelier with Blue Crystals and Central Painted Wooden Column.

A French Six-Light Painted Wood Chandelier with Barley Twist Central Column and Arms from the 20th Century.

Chandeliers hanging in the Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior, India

A Lovely Italian 18 Lights on Two Level Crystal Chandelier from the Mid 20th Century. At the Lower Level, the Lights' Arms Alternate in Width, Giving a Lot of Life to this Chandelier.

A French Vintage Painted Iron Six-Light Chandelier with Flower Shaped Bobeches
from the Mid 20th Century.

The chandelier in the Small Senate Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol

A Very Large Size Forged Iron Eight Light Chandelier made of Old French Arms and Two Tiered Newer Rings, with Diamond Patterns. Mid 20th Century. Adjustable height.

A Crystal Italian 12-Light Chandelier with 2-Tiered Bobeches and Gilded Iron Armature. 
Mid 20th Century.

A Porcelain Chandelier in Schloss Herrenchiemsee

A 19th Century Italian Eight-Light Silver Gilt Chandelier with Leaf Arms and Flower Shaped Bobeches.

A French Eight-Light Iron Chandelier Made from a 19th Century Spitjack. Circa 1950

An Italian Six-Light Crystal Chandelier with Lower Round Crystal Finial, From the 1950's - 1960's.

A Pair of 19th Century Italian Three-Arm Painted and Gilded Wood Chandeliers with Swoop Arms, Tassels and Floral Decor.

And if you'd like to see how modern crystal chandeliers are made, watch the great video above.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris: A Beautiful City, A Resilient People, And a Treasure to Behold...

Usually these blogs are the products of a week or so of starting and stopping and rewriting and revising. We started to write this piece last Wednesday, we were working on it again on Friday when we heard about the attacks in Paris. Over the weekend we discussed whether we should change subjects and avoid the topic for a while. We finally decided against it and decided to celebrate Paris rather than let terrorists distract us from all that makes Paris the city that we all love so much, so this is our tribute to Paris.

Indeed if there was ever a question as to whether Paris would recover or not, the Parisians have an answer. It can be found on the city’s seal, exactly where it’s been since 1358… Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, which means Tossed but not sunk. The City of Lights was tossed last week, but it is far from sunk.

Paris is an extraordinary place. There are museums such as the Louvre, Orsay and Picasso that everyone knows about. At the same time there are somewhat lesser known gems such as Jacquemart-André and the Maison de Victor Hugo that offer their own unique combination of beauty and wonder. Then there are the hidden in plain sight jewels such as the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont and the Cognacq-Jay museum.

Then of course there are the parks and the monuments and the bridges… And it goes on. Paris is a beehive of activity, with things to do everywhere you go, around every corner. Every step you take offers the opportunity to breathe in history… Stand outside the Conciergerie and you can almost imagine the grace Marie Antoinette exhibited as she walked to her fate. Climb the Eiffel Tower and stand in awe as you look down at the work of Napoléon III’s architect, Baron Haussmann, whose renovation of the city transformed Paris from an overcrowded, dangerous and disease ridden nightmare into the majestic work of art on a giant scale with wide boulevards, beautiful parks and a sewer system that saved countless lives. Visit Montmartre or the Sacré Coeur and watch the sun set and the city become a whirlwind of activity with streetlights, shoplights, headlights and of course the shimmering Eiffel Tower.

With nightfall, the city almost becomes a different place all together. Walking up the bustling Champs-Élysées seems like a fantasyland and as you approach the illuminated Arc de Triomphe, you feel a majesty that is hard to imagine during the day. The Moulin Rouge’s Fin de siècle atmosphere comes alive with the night and the left bank’s restaurants and cafés become hubs for wine, conversation, and if you’re lucky, romance. Paris may be the only city in the world where you improve your view when you divert your gaze from the stars…

Paris and its environs offer a myriad of delights that could easily keep one occupied for a lifetime. You could almost spend a lifetime living there and not see everything there is to see. And even if you did, you’d likely want to see it all again.

Thomas Jefferson said: A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life. Indeed he was right. Just walking around Paris is breathtaking, not just going into the museums or monuments or the cathedrals. The city itself is beauty. We hope we captured some of that beauty in the many images below.  There are of course the things you'd expect to see like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but many are simply beautiful façades of buildings, young and old that make up the tapestry that is Paris. At times, we find ourselves so busy, so worried about getting from one place to another, not wanting to miss this or that, that we don’t take the time to look at the beauty all around us in the midst of the journey, even in places where we don’t expect it… like on the sides of buildings! We hope you enjoy.