H. 100 cm (39 3/8 in.); D. 66 cm (26 in.)
A unique chandelier, the only recorded to be made of mother-of-pearl. Beyond the use of this extraordinary material, its pierced palmettes, stylised flowers, and scrolls evoking intricate lacework, coalesce in a real tour de force. Belonging to a corpus of artworks, comprising mostly of caskets, candlesticks, and candelabra, the piece represents the Biedermeier style and illustrates the technical achievement of the Viennese workshops between 1810 and 1830.
Its marquetry, of remarkable elegance and quality, can only be the work of a formidably talented and prominent artist at the time of Emperor Franz I (1804–1835). The mother-of-pearl, collected from mussel shells fished in Ceylon or the Persian Gulf, was the quintessence of the age’s exotic materials, and bore such solidity and preciousness that it demanded artists of individual talent who were adept at working with only small saws, drills, and sulfuric acid.