June 3 Art Minute: Probably J. & L. Lobmeyr, “Morning Glory Chandelier”

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Probably J. & L. Lobmeyr (Vienna, active 1823–present), Morning Glory Chandelier. Cast and gilded bronze frame; transparent green and opalescent white glass, molded, enameled, gilded, about 1850–60. 36 in. by 27 in. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 2005.96 Gallery 34

Made in the mid–1800s, this morning glory chandelier recalls floral chandeliers made with porcelain or painted tin blossoms that were fashionable in French-style chateaux in the 1700s. Since the morning glory flower blooms and dies within a single day, it came to symbolize love, affection, or mortality in the Victorian era.

A drawing of a chandelier covered in morning glory vines from about 1850 remains in the company archives off venerable Vienna chandelier company J. & L. Lobmeyr. The design was probably created in preparation for Lobmeyr’s display in the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851—the first World’s Fair. Queen Victoria purchased a large chandelier of this type at the fair for her Osborne House, her new summer retreat on the Isle of Wright, and consequently such charming chandeliers became exceedingly popular.

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