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Treasured: Matthew Williamson on his favourite possession

An eclectic collection of candlesticks has become part of a daily ritual for the British designer

matthew williamson with his candlestick collection
Kate Bellm

I’ve always been a collector of things; it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where my habit has come from.

I’m certainly inspired by meticulously curated museums. Sir John Soane’s Museum is a perfect collection in my eyes – it’s eclectic, endlessly interesting and has been built over time. Collecting is a creative exploit and incredibly rewarding, as you start to amass things you love.

I have around 60 candlesticks, which I started collecting around 20 years ago. I consider them to be something of a library I pick and choose from each evening when the sun begins to set. I’m obsessed with lighting in all its forms and each room in my home is filled with lamps – including some from my new collection with Pooky – while the movement of flickering candlelight is so romantic and the best way to alter the mood of the room.

I’m not precious about where they come from, their style or their price – the eclecticism of the collection is what makes it, like a jewellery box containing something special for any occasion or outfit. A significant number have been given to me as gifts, like a pair of porcelain candlesticks in the shape of parrots given to me by my partner, but the ones I have bought for myself have come from all over the world.

There is something ritualistic about selecting them and lighting the candles; it signals a gear shift, from daytime to evening. This is not a collection that needs dusting – each candlestick is well used and well loved. matthewwilliamson.com

This article appeared in ELLE Decoration August 2020 issue

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