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Call for information – candlesticks found in wrecks

Five European brass candlesticks, 16 th -18 th century

Five European brass candlesticks, 16th -18th century

Call for information – candlesticks found in wrecks

Back in the days, candles used to be the main source of light after sunset. Candles and candlesticks belonged to the basic needs. On ships, sailors lit their cabins and all other spaces on the lower deck with candles. The candleholders they frequently used, were designed with a pin. These could easily be pricked in fixed components of the cabin, where they would safely stay while the ship was rocking. However, there are also examples of more luxurious candlesticks that have been found in shipwrecks. These were probably used during special occasions by the captain for example, or they could have been private merchandise. This ‘call for information’ is placed here, to ask for help in the search for these kind of candlesticks, found in shipwrecks.

Dutch art historians Anna Koldeweij and Eloy Koldeweij are currently preparing a book, including an extensive catalogue, about European brass candlesticks up to 1800. Because almost none brass candlesticks are marked, it is a challenge to date these objects properly. By assembling as much benchmarks as possible, the authors hope to be able to refine the dating of certain groups of candlesticks. Finds from shipwrecks have never been researched in this context before, although they are a very promising source of information!

So, do you have information about candlesticks found in shipwrecks? Please be so kind to let us know, and help make this innovative interdisciplinary research a success! All sorts of candlesticks and candleholders could reveal new insights: brass, bronze, or even other materials, and similar or not to the candlesticks on the pictures above. In case you know of any archaeologically excavated candles, and you can also provide us with some of the context, that would be the most ideal.

Also, do you know of any evidence/remains of the candles themselves? That would be great as well. Thank you very much in advance! Please e-mail to