A chandelier is a type of light fitting suspended from the ceiling.

However, this definition barely scratches the surface of an extraordinarily rich history. The chandeliers of the Middle Ages consisted of a simple wooden cross mounted with candles, but by the 16th and 17th centuries they had evolved into metal crowns suspended by a central support, ranging from understated to incredibly ornate designs.

Chandeliers as we know them—decorated with crystal drops to refract the light, sometimes concealing the metal frame—became popular in the second half of the 17th century. By the 18th century, they had even made their way into private homes.