Chandeliers and Luminaria

This collection, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, is divided into two sections: ornate candelabras and luminaria.
The approximately 1,900 artistically designed chandeliers, wall sconces and table candelabras made of high quality materials date from the 17th to 19th century. For the most part they are luxury objects crafted or acquired for specific palace interiors. They were important prestige objects demonstrating the status of the Hohenzollerns.
Everyday lighting was achieved solely with table candelabras. It was only for large festivities that the chandeliers and wall sconces were fitted and lighted with the precious bleached beeswax candles.
The oldest lighting device in the collection is a signed brass chandelier made by the Amsterdam master brazier Elias Eliassen Vliet in 1647. It hangs in Charlottenburg Palace.
Extremely rare is a group of 280 small, colored glass lamps. They represent the last examples of several thousand such lamps that were used to illuminate garden festivities held in the 18th and 19th century.
The second group, the luminaria, includes about one hundred lanterns and oil lamps from the 18th to 20th century as well as the electrified lamps that lighted the secondary rooms during the era of Emperor William II. They were intended exclusively for everyday lighting.

Outstanding examples are:

  • Mid-18th century French chandeliers with pendants made of rock crystal (Sanssouci Palace and the New Palace)
  • Chandeliers with glass pendants modeled on French prototypes produced by Potsdam and Berlin glass grinders (Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace, the New Chambers)
  • Mid-18th century glass-arm chandeliers from the Zechlin glassworks (Rheinsberg Palace, Charlottenburg Palace, Sanssouci Palace)
  • Chandeliers of ormolu bronze produced in France, c. 1700 (André-Charles Boulle), and Potsdam, c. 1750 (Sanssouci Palace, the Chinese House, Charlottenburg Palace)
  • 18th century porcelain chandeliers from the Meissen manufactory and the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM) Berlin (the New Palace)
  • Mid-18th century wall sconces of ormolu and silver-plated bronze (Charlottenburg Palace, the New Palace, the New Chambers, the Chinese House)
  • Chandeliers with glass pendants, from the bronze workshop of Werner & Mieth in Berlin, 1796–97 (Charlottenburg Palace)
  • Late 18th century chandeliers from Bohemia (in the Palace and the Dairy on Peacock Island)
  • Chandeliers designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (Charlottenhof, Glienicke, and Charlottenburg Palaces; the New Pavilion in Charlottenburg Palace Park)
  • Chandeliers of cast zinc for Babelsberg Palace
  • Neo-Rococo Chandeliers from the era of Emperor William II, late 19th century to early 20th century (the New Palace)


Dr. Verena WasmuthSPSG | Department Palaces and CollectionsCurator
Postfach 60 14 62
14414  Potsdam
Fax: 0331.96 94-104

Collection catalogue of the Collection of Chandeliers and Luminaria

Käthe Klappenbach:
Kronleuchter mit Behang aus Bergkristall und Glas sowie Glasarmkronleuchter bis 1810
Bestandskataloge der Kunstsammlungen: Angewandte Kunst; Beleuchtungskörper.
Herausgegeben von der Generaldirektion der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2001
ISBN: 3-05-003520-X
451 Seiten
– out of stock –