Did you know that the convex mirror used to be known as the butler’s mirror? Hung above the dining room sideboard, the decorative convex mirror would allow the butler to keep a discrete eye on guests while keeping his back turned.  A quite cunning collaboration of form and function.

Like the convex mirror, most of us have items in our homes that no longer fulfil the original purpose. Instead, they’re cherished quite simply for their beauty.  Over the coming months, we’ll look at some other ‘form & function’ contenders. To light the way, here’s one that sticks in our minds.

The Candelabra – aka ‘the girandole’ or, less grandly, ‘the candlestick’

Candles were invented more than 4,000 years ago to provide a much needed light source. Over time, simple, utilitarian holders evolved into more elaborate and decorative candelabras. Once made of clay way back in 400BC, nowadays  you find them in  any number of materials: silver, glass, hardwood, plastic, stone, metal. And the list goes on.

Thanks to the wonder of electrical lighting, candles today don’t generally perform a necessary function. Yet candelabras and candlesticks continue to be used in modern homes as ambient accessories to set the mood…

Feeling flamboyant, darling? Why not take a gold leaf out of Liberace’s book and tinkle on your grand piano, flickeringly lit with a fabulously extravagant candelabra?