Deborah Thomas - Design London Wednesday, April 26, 2023 | Phillips

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  • The British designer and artist Deborah Thomas began her career in the world of theatre design in the 1980s, with a sense of theatricality unmistakably present in her awe-inspiring creations up until present. The unique dramaticism of her work has in recent decades earned her numerous commissions for private collectors as well as Peter Marino Architects, and her pieces have been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum.


    Central to Thomas’s practice is how our perception of materials can change through the processes of reuse and reassembly. This notion emerged in response to a trend in British design in the 1980s, when the tendency to recycle materials came to be most famously associated with the work of Ron Arad and the collective practice of Creative Salvage. Likewise, since the start of her career, Thomas has been constructing her masterful works out of discarded or forgotten objects. This is best evidenced by her glass chandeliers, which she has executed for a range of contexts including private residences, exhibitions and theatre productions. Thomas initially began by reconfiguring broken fragments of glass to create inventive forms. With the progression of her career, she has transitioned towards using tools to break pieces of glass from bottles and polishing the edges to mimic the natural erosion of the wind or the ocean.


    The large chandelier offered here is constructed out of hundreds of pieces of broken glass, with each piece intricately wired to the next to create an undulating, organic form. The structure is lit using a central lightbulb, though other examples include multiple halogen lamps. Thomas’s craftsmanship is palpable within the intentional placement of each fragment. An intriguing contrast is established between the use of modest, found materials and the resulting opulence of the piece; a reflection of Thomas’s ability to bring grandeur to the everyday.

    • Provenance

      Commissioned directly from the artist by the present owner, 2003

    • Catalogue Essay

      Phillips wishes to thank Deborah Thomas for her assistance in cataloguing the present lot.


Unique ceiling light

Glass, coloured glass, steel wire.
87 cm (34 1/4 in.) drop

Full Cataloguing

£7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for £8,255

Contact Specialist

Antonia King
Head of Sale, Design
+44 20 7901 7944


London Auction 26 April 2023