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great synagogue chandeliers


Project name

Great Synagogue Chandeliers 


The Great Synagogue Sydney


Architectural Conservation


The thirteen gilt metal chandeliers of the Great Synagogue form a major component of the internal composition and decoration of this unique space.

Measuring some 2.6 meters in height and 1.2 meters in diameter, they were originally fabricated from steel which was then fire-gilded by the manufacturer, Cornelius & Co, Philadelphia. They were originally described as gilt and polished steel, with the central columns being left polished steel, to allow a "gold /silver" look to be achieved.

Over the years, this effect has been obscured by a coating of ‘gold' paint. Whilst initially this may have looked good, the inevitable effect is that it tarnished to a dull gold colour. In addition, the rough texture of the paint, as against the original polished nature of the original, added to the dull effect of the chandeliers.



The original finish of the chandeliers was reinstated, returning their look to the original gold and polished steel finish, and allowing allow them to reflect the original intent of the architects in terms of the place they play within the overall decorative scheme of the Great Synagogue.

The chandeliers were removed in pairs, so as to maintain lighting levels within the Great Synagogue throughout the course of the works.

The treatment of each chandelier comprised:

  • Erection of scaffold around the chandeliers
  • Disconnection of electrics
  • Removal of glass shades
  • Disconnection of chandelier from bracket
  • Lowering to the ground
  • Packing in packing case
  • Transportation to gilders
  • Dismantling of all elements and removal of electrical wiring
  • Stripping of existing painted finish
  • Gilding of all elements except central column
  • Polishing of steel central column
  • Reassembly of all elements
  • Re-wiring
  • Re-threading of fixings as necessary
  • Transportation back to site
  • Re-attachment to wall brackets
  • Re-attachment to electrics
  • Attachment of glass shades

Whilst the chandeliers were removed, the wall brackets were stripped, repainted and reattached to ensure adequacy of support for the chandeliers.


The Great Synagogue Sydney




GS Chandlier Before Conservation

 Chandelier before conservation

GS Chandelier after conservation

Chandeliers after conservation

GS Chandelier Detail before conservation

Detail of Chandelier before conservation

GS Chandelier Detail before conservation (1)

Detail of Chandelier before conservation

GS Chandelier Detail After Conservation

Detail of Chandelier after conservation

GS Chandelier Rehanging (2)

 Rehanging of Chandelier


GS Chandelier Rehanging

Rehanging of Chandelier

International Conservation Services is Australia’s largest private fine art conservation business.  Our main office and conservation workshops are located in Sydney, we have staff in Canberra and Melbourne, and we are able to work on site throughout Australia.  We provide a full range of art restoration services, including antique restoration, paintings restoration, sculpture conservation, archaeological conservation, furniture restoration, conservation of works of art on paper, textiles and objects conservation.  We work on architectural finishes and built elements in heritage buildings, structures, monuments and war memorials.  We provide condition assessments, and carry out hands-on conservation and restoration work.  We consult on issues of collection management, preventive conservation and museum planning, and have particular expertise in the management of environmental conditions in buildings housing collections.  Our associated business, Smarttrack RFID, provides a range of asset and visitor tracking solutions for museums, art galleries, libraries and archives.