ICS Logo
ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

great synagogue chandeliers


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.

For More Information

Visit the website of The Great Synagogue Sydney


The Great Synagogue Sydney


Architectural Conservation

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