A Pair of 19th Century Italian Silver Gilt Candlesticks, carved palmette motifs on all three sides and with original shaped tole dripping bowls. 37.5 in.H x 9.5 in.W x 9.5 in.D.
An altar candlestick consists of five parts: the foot, the stem, the knob about the middle of the stem, the bowl to receive the drippings of wax, and the pricket, i.e. the sharp point that terminates the stem on which the candle is fixed. Instead of fixing the candle on the pricket, it is permissible to use a tube in which is put a small candle which is forced to the top of the tube by a spring placed within. In the early days of the Church candlesticks were not placed on the altar though lights were used in the church, and especially near the altar. The custom of placing candlesticks and candles on the altar became general in the sixteenth century. Down to that time only two were ordinarily used, but on solemn feasts four or six. At present more are used, but the rubric of the missal prescribes only two, one at each side of the cross, at least at a low Mass. These candlesticks and their candles must be placed on the altar, their place cannot be taken by two brackets attached to the superstructural steps of the altar, or affixed to the wall. According to the Caeremoniale Episcoporum, there should be on the high altar six candlesticks and candles of various sizes, the highest of which should be near the cross. If all six be of the same size they may be placed on different elevations, so as to produce the same effect; a custom, however, has been introduced of having them at the same height and this is now permissible.The candlesticks may be made of any kind of metal or even of wood, gilded or silvered, but on Good Friday silvered ones may not be used. The candlesticks destined for the ornamentation of the altar are not to be used around the bier a funerals.