Friday, July 5, 2019

Decorating With Antique French Altar Candelabras

If you have picked up a decorating magazine or looked on any of the social media decorating sites you have to notice that religious icons are no longer just meant for personal use. In fact they are increasingly being sought out and used as design elements in homes. The interest in collecting religious artifacts started a few years ago and is still very popular with no signs of letting up. It's not a trend but a way of life if you enjoy old world aesthetics. Many high end auction houses now even have Christian religious antiques and art departments. 

This blog post spotlights one element of antique religious decor which I simply adore and that is the French altar candelabra. While you enjoy the images of them, I thought you might like to know some history behind these amazing French altar candelabras.

Years ago these altar candelabras were brought to French churches, usually around Thanksgiving or Easter, for offerings of thanks and for prayers.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

French altar candelabras should have the wheat, grape, and lily embellishments plus an intricate and highly decorative spray of foliage. All these elements are symbolic. This is a large pair I found a few months back that have all the elements.

via Pinterest

The clusters of grapes on the altar candelabras signifies the wine of Holy Communion.  The grapes and vine also represent the church.

whiteandfaded on

The sheaves of wheat symbolize the blessed bread used for Communion.

A French altar candelabra should have seven holders. The seven candle candelabra was used in the Old Testament tabernacle for generations as a symbol of light. In the New Testament, it symbolizes Christ as the light.

The white Candidum Lily (Easter Lily), found wild in what is now Palestine, Asia Minor, and Syria, is symbolic of our Risen Lord.

via Marcel Troganowski on Pinterest

These lovely candelabras come in several designs and in all shapes and sizes. The images you have seen above are what is generally associated with French altar candelabras. This look you see here is accomplished by bending two tall ones to form a sort of arch and topping it with a crown.  I think they are so pretty like this too.

Even though most of these wonderful furnishing come from older Catholic churches, you don't have to belong to the religion to embrace their beauty.

via Pinterest

Another pretty arched altar candelabra effect.

Home altar with lovely candelabras.

These French altar candelabras are highly collectible for brocante chic decor.

K&Co. Antiques.

via Pinterest

A close up of this altar candelabra focuses attention on the branch design that features decorative white milk glass lilies throughout.

Having once graced the altar of a French church, these stunning candelabras look fabulous today displayed on mantles, desks, buffets, tables.........

and chests of drawers.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

These candelabras are generally used more with the painted French Nordic/Gustavian style but you don't have to paint all your French pieces before you can reap the benefits of the ambiance they  bring to a room. This vignette is in my bedroom and features one of a pair of French altar candelabras.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

In my living room I use more creamy whites so the other French altar candelabra works well on this painted piece.

Another images that shows these candelabras look fantastic in more formal interiors as well as the simple brocante style spaces.

Sometimes the altar candelabra will only have the milk glass lily embellishments.

And altar candelabras can also be found with only five candleholders.

This French altar candelabra pair is loaded to the hilt with milk glass lilies.

You can also find altar candelabras with green lilies..........

Via Tatiana Lijbaert on Pinterest

via Pinterest

Other times the lilies will not be milk glass but will instead be made out of metal.

According to antique dealers the increase in demand for these beautiful pieces have them working tirelessly to find more inventory.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Still another style of altar candelabra. These are smaller and would probably be used for personal home altars instead of on the altars of churches.

via Pinterest

I like the curved design of this French altar candelabra. For some reason this holds nine candles instead of the usual seven.  Still manages to maintain a faded elegance even with chippy and distressed surroundings.

Some altar candelabras have porcelain roses and chrysanthemums. Probably for personal altars. The lilies hold religious significance and would have been used in churches.

Lovely mid sized altar candelabras. 

via Pinterest

all images via Pinterest

As far as I'm concerned they are all beautiful. Even the smallest of the small are delightful. 

Even though there is a big demand now for religious art and antiques and the prices have risen dramatically, collectors can sometimes get lucky at flea and antique markets, thrift stores, and estate sales. I certainly did!!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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