Mobile menu

The Art of the Garden

Attributed to Josef and Ludwig Lobmeyr

Chandelier mid-Victorian

Glass and gilt metal | 150 x 122 x 0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 41785

Audience Room, Osborne House

Your share link is...


A large chandelier in the form of opaque flowers (lilies and convolvulus, and translucent leaves of tinted glass in green, blue, white, pink and yellow on gilt metal branches) with a gilt metal basket. Flowers and leaves climb up to the top lily finial.

A glass chandelier from Osborne House demonstrates the exuberance of floral ornament in the mid-nineteenth century. The chandelier is recorded in nineteenth-century photographs of Osborne, but is not described in any of the late nineteenth-century inventories of the residence. Recent research has revealed that it was probably made by the famed Viennese glass company, Lobmeyr, who were commissioned for many royal and civic chandelier and glass services across Austria and Germany. Archduke Franz Josef of Austria (1830 – 1916) commissioned a large glass table service, and his brother Prince Ferdinand Maximilian, later briefly Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico (1832 – 67), commissioned a chandelier similar to this Osborne example.

A sketch survives in Lobmeyr's archive which unmistakably relates to this chandelier. Lobmeyr exhibited in the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, and although this chandelier is not known to have been exhibited there and does not feature amongst Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's known purchases, it seems likely that their interest in the modern use of glass was captured. Arum lilies envelop the candles and morning glories entwine around the leaves. They may have reminded Prince Albert of his childhood home at the Rosenau in Coburg, which featured interior décor of climbing plants and trelliswork in several of the rooms.

Although fashioned of glass rather than porcelain, it also followed in the German tradition of elaborate presentation chandeliers embellished with flowers that had been established by Frederick II (The Great) of Prussia (1712–86), with his order of five Dresden porcelain chandeliers. As with the glass chandelier at Osborne, which hangs in the Audience Room, these presentation chandeliers were similarly publicly displayed in the Audienzzimmer in the Residenz at Ansbach, and in public rooms at the Dresden Schloss and the Neues Palais, Potsdam.