What we now call the "Barley Twist" has an ancient pedigree. It is believed that such a form was used in Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem—thus the shape is sometimes referred to as "Solomonic Columns." Gian Lorenzo Bernini's grand 17th Century Baldacchino—which stands over the main altar (and the tomb of Saint Peter) in Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City—employs four enormous twisting bronze columns to support the massive bronze canopy.
The term "Barley Twist" is common in England. At fairs in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, children might enjoy a sweet treat (made of barley sugar) which was presented in such a twisting form. The shape became popular in the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Centuries—in architecture, furniture and other decorative objets.
The English Arts & Crafts candlesticks, shown above, were made just after the turn of the Twentieth Century. They feature robust oak barley twist columns and are set into hand-hammered pewter bases. You will find out more about them by clicking on the photo above.
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