On the first day of Christmas the 1862 Committee gave to me… a Partridge in a Pear Tree
Vast. Bombastic. Opulent. Extravagant. Luxurious. These are perhaps some of the best words to describe many of the objects that were displayed at the 1862 International Exhibition. Intended as a celebration of the best in contemporary design, the exhibition was full of over-sized ceramics, metalware and furniture – not to mention machines, inventions and decorative majolica fountains! This gilt bronze candelabra, standing 76.60 cm high and spanning 36.50 cm wide is a perfect example of these extravagances. Fluttering at the top of this metal tree is (admittedly not a partridge) a phoenix rising from the ashes – the pinnacle of celebrations about revival and renewal. Design was on its way up in 1862.
© Helen Cresswell and Ruth Mason, 2013