The ‘Maufe Candlesticks’ at Bradford Cathedral have been packed up ahead of planned conservation work.

The collection of liturgical candlesticks comprises of one pair for the altar and one pair of floor standards. The pieces are formed in timber and then gilded and date from about 1963 when the East End of the cathedral was dedicated.

The extension and interiors of Bradford Cathedral were designed by the architect Sir Edward Maufe in the late 50s and early 60s. The candlesticks are believed to be largely in their original condition but have not been comprehensively refinished or professionally conserved in the past.

On each altar candlestick is a Diocesan emblem for Bradford showing a woolpack and crossed keys standing in relief on a blue painted background. The wax candles are placed in a brass candle holder which slots into the top of the timber.

It has been noticed recently that the pair of candlesticks – which are placed on the altar and are often moved by the vergers so that they can change the altar cloth – have fractures in the timber, and rock when moved. There are visible signs of cracks, missing pieces and worn gilt, alongside dents, marks and scuffs caused by wear-and-tear. The concern is that the candlesticks will fall apart when lifted and so repair and conservation was advised.

Ulrike Knox, Bradford Cathedral’s architect, says:
“Given their prominent location within the Sanctuary it is important to repair the damage sustained to strengthen the candlesticks and refinish them to conserve the aesthetic quality within the cathedral.”

The candlesticks have now been sent off for inspection to decide on the next course of action to secure them for the future, and there is likely to be some regilding, with the ambition of retaining their attractive distressed finish.

Bradford Cathedral would like to acknowledge the support of the Conservation Department at the City & Guilds of London Art School for agreeing to undertake this work as a collaborative project with their students and to The Headley Trust for their financial support.

It is hoped that the candlesticks will return to the Cathedral early in 2025.

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