THE WEAVERS’ COMPANY CANDELABRA
The Weavers’ Company Candelabra by Rauni Higson created to celebrate the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II
The Worshipful Company of Weavers is a Livery Company based in the City of London.
The Company had three pairs of candelabra and wished to commission another pair to celebrate the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II, for use at its formal dinners and for display with the Company’s silver collection.
“Provide ideas and sketches for a pair of candelabra. The design should be functional and complement the Company’s existing candelabra. The design could incorporate engraving to distinguish it as a Company Piece, and could include the Company’s crest or motto, or part of these, or an allusion to weaving. The Company does not wish to stifle individuality and innovation by specifying more than the above.”
The final design represents the history of the Weavers’ Company, with the three upright elements that hold the candles, representing the ‘warp’ threads of a weaving loom, and the horizontal elements weaving in and out, as the ‘weft’ threads, which develop into billowing cloth, blowing in a breeze to create a sense of flowing movement.
For this large scale, one-off pair, I began by sketching freely in charcoal. These sketches were then developed in three dimensions, as I made models, initially smaller scale, using aluminium mesh and modelling materials. Once the design was resolved, I made full size models, to really test and refine proportions, form and balance from every direction. I hammered out test pieces of the complex horizontal elements in copper, to really understand the forms in 3D, and also to establish the exact size and shapes I would require in silver, to minimise wastage. The longest ‘weft’ pieces were close to 2 metres long, hammer formed from sheet silver into a flowing open tube form. They were quite a handful to work with in the early stages! The long, narrow form is made stable by the three uprights not being in a straight line, they follow a gentle arc, so there is no danger of the candelabra falling over. For more stability they have extra weight concealed in the bases, created by utilising the offcuts. The candle sconces are removable for easy cleaning, and each locates perfectly so that the candles stand upright. Each one is unique so there is a concealed code inside to ensure they cannot be mixed up.
The uprights have a subtle hammered texture representing the twist of single threads coming together to create weaving thread, as does the flared form. The ‘weft’ threads follow the ‘over/under’ pattern of woven cloth, and they each develop into flowing cloth billowing out, with the texture of the hammer blows that create the complex curves evoking the softness of fabric. They may appear delicate and fragile, but the forms are exceptionally strong, they are built to last centuries, as befits a company with over 800 years of history. They are each engraved with the company motto ‘Weave Truth with Trust’.
Height 34 cm, Length of 58 cm, total weight approx. 6kg. Hallmarked in London, 2018
For ease of transportation the candelabra has a custom made flight case on wheels.
The Worshipful Company of Weavers is a Livery Company based in the City of London, who hold dinner events in various venues around the City. The commission was to celebrate the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II. They required a pair of six light Candelabra that would make a statement, and be suitable for any size or shape of table, including fairly narrow ones. For ease of transportation the candelabra has a custom made flight case on wheels.
If you would like to find out more about the commissioning process, Rauni would be delighted to have an informal no-obligation chat. You can also find more information here.