In early 2008, the ceiling of the Orford United Congregational Church collapsed, and the chandelier that once hung shattered to the ground. Entombed in a closed-off section of the bell tower, lay a magnificent 67″ dodecagonal gothic-style chandelier. The original gas mirrored reflector chandelier was made circa 1850-1870, and led the restoration search committee chairman Carl Schmidt and Reverend Wilson to Grand Light’s restoration team.
Once they had been entrusted with the task, the restoration specialists conducted a survey of the damage the chandelier sustained while secluded in the bell tower for over a hundred years.
The historical frame needed to be restored and reinforced in order to sustain the weight of the glass paneling. Pieces of the decorative crown were missing or severely decomposed and majority of the corrugated mirror glass panels were shattered. The structural integrity of the historical frame had been compromised, and the center pendant needed to be fabricated to house the twelve custom lights that would illuminate the piece in place of the original gas lights. Also, because the chandelier had been painted green, the finish needed to be stripped and then reapplied at the discretion of the church.
Just as Grand Light’s restoration specialists began working on the chandelier, they made an interesting discovery. While delicately cleaning the oxidation off of the frame, the team discovered a striking poly-chrome stencil pattern beneath the Verdi green overcoat. Excited by the find, the Church must decide whether to have Grand Light replicate and restore the stencil or continue as they had originally intended with a solid finish.
With the parameters of the project now redefined, both Grand Light’s team and the administration at Orford United Congregational Church eagerly anticipate the completion of the task, scheduled for June of 2008.