Brass chandeliers, practical as well as ornamental, were particularly suitable lighting fixtures for churches and they were often gifts bearing the name of the donor and the date. These dated examples track a long-lived tradition that began as early as the late 16th century through to the mid-19th century when gas-lighting eliminated the use for candles. The chandelier evolves in its details but its essential form may remain unchanged for years. Few makers are known but the main centers of manufacture were London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cheshire.
One known maker was the brass-founder James Giles, who supplied chandeliers to St. Dionis, Backchurch, London, the church at Framlingham, Suffolk, and a further example still in its original setting in a church in Kingston, Jamaica, dated 1749. The latter is very nearly identical to another sold at Christie's, London, '50 Years of Collecting: Decorative Arts of Georgian England', 14 May 2003, lot 76 which was attributed to Giles on this basis. Another unsigned two-tier example (one of a pair) given by Dean Thomas Cheyney to Winchester Cathedral in 1756 is illustrated in R. Sherlock, 'Chandeliers adn the Scrapyard', The Connoisseur Year Book, 1959, p. 94, fig. 13. A further two-tier pair, reputedly from the Rothschild family home in Piccadilly, was sold Christie's, London, 19 November 1992, lot 16. The present chandelier exhibits an essentially mid-18th century form with its gadrooning, banded flattened body and scroll arms. A similar chandelier, was sold Christie's, New York, 30 April 2007, lot 73.