The chandeliers are a crowning point in the Washington State Capitol Legislative Building. The architects felt the most important fixtures were those in the north portico, in the rotunda, and in the entry in the south porte cochere, as well as the large gathering rooms. They went all the way to New York City to have Louis Comfort Tiffany create the fixtures (no one here in this wild wild west was competent), which, along with the six bronze doors, cost the state $158,000. They were designed by Carl Moser.
I love the chandeliers in the entry in the South Porte Cochere.
The warm glow of the glass hits the delicately detailed bronze and
colors it nearly copper in places, so the lamps look like they are on fire.
I started with sketches to understand the construction.
I didn’t lie on my back to sketch the underside because my architectural training allows me to see in plan anything I look at — building plans, drawings of the cars I sit in, etc.
I am glad, because I really would have looked ridiculous sprawled on the stairs.
This is so helpful, to look and do some sketches that allow you to see, in this case,
the twelve knobby “arms” that attach to the bowl with a decorative shell motif,
and look much like hand-held candle torchéres. Or the hanging mechanism,
which consists of chains hanging from a pendulum to four medallions before opening
and attaching inside the fixture, so they do not mar the exterior decorative bowl.
I was able to draw it from the side because the second floor balcony looks
straight into the light, and you are also closer to the fixtures.
I cheated when it came to the details. I took a close-up and sketched at home.
I wanted to be able to see the sweet floral designs that I only hinted at
(because it is so far away) in the two side views. The bottom band, just above the large glass lamp at the base, has the teeny tiny egg-and-dart motif found everywhere.
When I returned to the studio (running around inside the building on carpet with watercolors is not appreciated) I added color with raw umber from Sennelier, quinophthalone yellow from Daniel Smith and nickel azo yellow QoR watercolors.
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