George Booth and Palermo: the Paschal Candelabrum

Christ Church Cranbrook Candelabra

Stone carvers at the Chiurazzi Foundry, 1929. Cranbrook Archives.

Even though Christ Church Cranbrook has not officially been a part of the Cranbrook Educational Community since 1973, our staff is often asked to give presentations or tours relevant to the church and the objects that George Booth purchased to adorn it. Gothic in architecture, and a showplace for the Arts and Crafts movement, Christ Church Cranbrook also features objects from the 12th century. One of these is a reproduction of the original Paschal Candelabrum located within the Cappella Palatina (1130-1140) in the Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans) in Palermo, Sicily.

It appears as if Booth first became aware of the medieval sculpture in Sicily through his son, Henry, who traveled on a European trip in 1922 with his close friend, Bob Swanson. Henry wrote several letters home to his father describing his visits to Monreale and Palermo, and the artistic and architectural wonders he saw there. Records in the Cranbrook Archives show that in 1929, George and Ellen Booth traveled to Italy where they made several purchases, including a faithful reproduction of the candelabrum. George and Ellen discussed where to place the candelabrum in the church and George wrote Henry: “Now as for use–I thought if at the chancel we could establish a custom of lighting the big candle for weddings or at Easter and Christmas and if in the Narthex when a baptism was to occur. There is plenty of time to think it over as I have yet to place the order and they estimate it will take one year to complete.” The candelabrum was installed in the Christ Church Cranbrook Narthex in March 1931.

One thought on “George Booth and Palermo: the Paschal Candelabrum

  1. Wonderful background on the candle piece- I recently toured Christ Church Cr. this summer, twice because it is so stunning.

    Do I see a bust of Henry Wood Booth in the background of this picture, behind the sculptors? Sure resembles him……….

    Like

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