Rayburn Chandelier Restored to Former Glory
Part of a larger conservation effort taking place at the museum
March 20, 2014
Restored Rayburn Chandelier
BONHAM, Texas — The Sam Rayburn Museum’s New England Colonial style chandelier has been successfully restored and rehung in the museum’s foyer. The Rayburn Museum is a division of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Funded in part by the Friends of Sam Rayburn, the chandelier’s restoration is part of a larger conservation effort that continues at the Rayburn Museum,” said Denise Mayorga, assistant director for facilities and construction projects at the Briscoe Center. “Pettigrew Luxury Furnishings removed the piece in August and transported it to van Enter Studio in Dallas for repair and restoration.”
The chandelier dates to 1928. Over time, one of the chandelier’s arms had cracked, and the silver plating had worn away, leaving a dull patina. Conservators at van Enter Studio disassembled the chandelier, cleaned and replated the individual pieces, replaced the broken arm, and rewired the entire piece. In addition, they applied lacquer to the silver plated components to insure a long-lasting polished appearance.
Crafted in Dallas by Potter Art Metal Studios, Inc., the chandelier was originally hung in a church in New England. It was designed to resemble the New England Colonial style, complete with hand-blown “Old Boston”-type crystal hurricanes. Roscoe DeWitt, the museum’s architect, discovered the chandelier in an antique shop and believed that the fixture would fit perfectly into the museum’s main foyer.
“DeWitt had been concerned about locating a chandelier that would match the grandeur of the room’s black marble walls but would not compete with the chandelier in the replica Speaker’s Office,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center.
For more information about the Rayburn Museum or the Friends of Sam Rayburn, please contact the museum at 903-583-2455 or on the web: www.briscoecenter.org/rayburn