Illuminating Space

Unique Chandeliers for Darby House

The present lot installed in the Racing Room at Darby House, c. 1954

In 1935, John W. Galbreath purchased Darby Dan Farm, a country estate situated on a rolling creek just ten miles west of Columbus, Ohio. Over the next few years, Galbreath, an international developer, sportsman and philanthropist, expanded the property from the original 110-acre Amish farm to a sprawling 4,500-acre estate for breeding thoroughbred horses. The farm produced several champions, and Galbreath remains the only man to have won both a Kentucky Derby and a World Series Championship (he owned the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1946-1985). 

Galbreath built Darby House, a modern home situated on the original 110 acres, as a retreat for entertaining guests, hosting dinner parties, screening movies and watching baseball in 1954. To light the grand Racing room of Darby House, Galbreath commissioned Finnish designer Paavo Tynell to create these stunning fixtures. Refined, yet commanding, Tynell expertly melded traditional craftsmanship with a modern sensibility resulting in these timeless, elegant designs. The chandeliers remained installed at Darby House (now a venue for special events) until recently, where they have illuminated countless celebrations throughout the years. 

Paavo Tynell 1890–1973

Finnish designer Paavo Tynell first encountered metalwork as a teenager when apprenticing to become a blacksmith. Possessing a natural talent for manipulating metals, Tynell began working for Koru Oy, the famed Finnish metalsmith company. Perfecting the techniques of metal finishes, he was awarded the title of master craftsman in 1913. Moving from metalwork to jewelry, Tynell proved skillful in making delicate pieces; he designed and crafted the wedding rings of his friends and fellow designers, Alvar and Aino Mandelin Aalto.

Noticing a need for designed metalwork in Finland, Tynell founded his own company Taito Oy Ab in 1918. At first the company focused on interior and exterior metalwork, but later moved on to creating creative lamp designs in the 1930s. Tynell was responsible for a majority of the company's designs but Taito Oy also featured the work of emerging designers like Kaj Franck and Alvar Aalto. Working with Aalto and his company Artek, Tynell designed the lighting for many buildings and interiors by Aalto, including the Paimio Sanatorium, the Savoy Restaurant, and the Viipuri Library.

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Auction Results Paavo Tynell