Two-Light Argand Chandelier in the Regency Taste, about 1820–25
English (probably Birmingham; possibly Johnston, Brookes & Co., London)
Patinated bronze, with lighting mechanism, glass shades, blown and internally frosted, and glass chimneys
37 in. high, 21 in. wide, 11 1/4 in. deep
Original matched pairs of Argand chandeliers from the period around 1820–25 are extremely rare. Since many of the ornaments on the present chandelier, including the canopies and pomegranate finials, are identical to those found on other chandeliers signed by, or attributed to, the London firm of Johnston Brookes & Company, it is possible that these handsome chandeliers, too, originated in their shop.
The firm of Johnston, Brookes & Company, whose name first appeared in the London City Directory for the year 1814 as “brass founders,” at 32 New Street, Shoe Lane, was one of the most important manufacturers of lighting of different forms during the Neo-Classical period. The same listing appeared in 1820. In 1824 the name was given as Johnston, Brooks & Co. at 32 New Street, Fetter Lane. Apparently Johnston and Brookes split by 1835, for in that year Jonathan Johnston was listed as a “brass founder” at 19 Cursitor Street, and William Brookes and Company was listed as a “brass founder, lamp manufacturer and gas fitter,” still at 32 New Street, Fetter Lane. Brookes’s directory listing remains the same thereafter, and Johnston’s changes in 1843 to “lamp manufacturer and gas fitter,” 9 Cursitor Street, and in 1852 it reads “Johnston Brothers, lamp manufacturers and gas fitters,” 9 Cursitor Street.