F & C Osler of Birmingham

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The Library holds this early 20th century trade catalogue of light fittings by F & C Osler.

The firm of F & C Osler of London and Birmingham, were the leading makers of chandeliers and lighting during the nineteenth century. The glass works were founded by Thomas Osler in 1807 in Birmingham and specialised in glass furniture and chandeliers for the overseas market.

By 1850, the firm was commissioned to make a giant crystal fountain for the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. The fountain stood some 8.25 meters or 27 feet high and contained 4,000 kgs or 4 tons of crystal. The original catalogue of the exhibition makes particular note of the scale to which this magnificent glass fountain dominated the entrance: ‘Forming the centre and, or nearly so, of the entire building, and dividing alike the transept and the nave, rises the gigantic fountain of Messrs. Osler, the culminating point of view from every quarter of the building…’. The brochure also goes on to say that the fountain ‘..is perhaps the most striking object in the Exhibition; the lightness and beauty, as well as the perfect novelty of its design, have rendered it the theme of admiration with all visitors.’

In 1856 the firm supplied a large chandelier for St George’s Hall, Liverpool; Liverpool was then the leading and richest port in the country. This was followed by other significant commissions including a thirty-six light example for the Mansion House, London.

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