A Victorian exhibition quality gilt and patinated bronze colza chandelier by Thomas Messenger, dated 1867
Lot 162
A Victorian exhibition quality gilt and patinated bronze gasolier by Thomas Messenger, dated 1867 and possibly exhibited at The Paris Universal Exhibition of the same year
Sold for £18,750 (US$ 30,610) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Victorian exhibition quality gilt and patinated bronze colza chandelier by Thomas Messenger, dated 1867 A Victorian exhibition quality gilt and patinated bronze colza chandelier by Thomas Messenger, dated 1867
A Victorian exhibition quality gilt and patinated bronze gasolier
by Thomas Messenger, dated 1867 and possibly exhibited at The Paris Universal Exhibition of the same year
The anthemion cast corona above a five inoperative pulley-weights decorated with stylised foliage and flowers, the reeded stem with a leaf-cast baluster section above a series of five Neptune figures each holding reins linked to hippocampi and holding Tritons, the branches encased with foliate decorated collars and each with a colza tap, the bowl with a pendant finial; bearing the registration of design lozenge for 5th February 1867, converted for electricity and the stem above the baluster section possibly associated

Footnotes

  • The firm of Messenger & Sons were founded by Thomas Messenger in the early 1810's originally as a maker of fine furniture mounts. However by the 1830's Messenger went into business with his Sons to produce fine and highly crafted chandeliers, lamps and candelabra in brass and ormolu. Based in Birmingham, the company had premises on 15-16 Broad Street, in the heart of the Birmingham bronze and plate industry. The firm quickly grew gaining a reputation for producing outstanding original and highly decorative designs manufactured to the highest standards. This was evidenced by the firm's expansion in 1860 to include new premises in No. 19-20 on Broad Street and 73 Hatton Garden, London. However the company operated on an exclusive level largely relying on recommendation for the promotion of the business. Their numerous clients included the 4th Duke of Newcastle who commissioned three pairs of antique style lamps in 1838 (One of which sold at Christie's London, 29 November 1984, lot 91), following a visit the Messenger & Sons factory in Birmingham. The firm gained further recognition when they exhibited a number of chandeliers in the Great Exhibition of 1851, and again in the international exhibition of 1862. The businesss continued to flourish well into the following century when they finally ceased trading during the 1930s.

    The Design

    Messenger & Sons worked from a set of design books in which items were drawn and illustrated by hand very often in colour. (National Archives- design registers BT 43/20). It is from just such a book that this gasolier is listed having been created and approved with the registered stamp of the British Diamond mark. The Diamond mark was issued to all British made items between the years 1842-67 and 1868-83. Instituted by the Patent Office, the Diamond mark along with the design number was issued once a design had been registered. The mark gave a buyer the reassurance that the item was of British design and offered the designer some protection against copying. The British trade register for the years 1865-70 stated that Thomas Messenger & Sons registered the pattern for this gasolier on the 5th of February 1867, design no. 205912. From the registered design book for the period 1865-70, three such gasolier designs were presented. The one offered, being the later design and of the most detailed and complex in nature, constructed from the very highest quality materials for exhibition. The date of its registration suggests the strong possibility that it was designed specifically for inclusion in 1867 Paris Universal Exhibition which opened on the 1st April that year. It is worth noting that gasolier here is similar in pattern to one exhibited by the firm at the 1862 international exhibition in London.

    Literature:
    Jonathan Meyer 'Great Exhibitions: London-New York- Paris-Philadelphia 1851-1900'. Antique Collectors Club, Suffolk, illustration D57, p 140.
    J.B.Waring 'Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture 1862' plate 246.
    The National Archives- Design Register. Reference document BT 43/20. Design No. 205912.
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