Established in Broad Street, Birmingham, in 1807 by Thomas Osler and William Shakespeare, the business specialised initially in selling drops and spangles for chandeliers. They were joined by Thomas`s son Abraham Follett Osler in 1831, who brought re-newed vigour to the business. Although initially they were severely hampered by the high duties payable on glass in England, fortunately in 1845 the duties were repealed owing to pressure from the trade and the firm opened showrooms at 44 Oxford Street, London. By this time Follett had begun making innovative designs and had successfully encouraged his brother to join the firm. He expanded his business into Calcutta sharing showrooms with the silversmiths and jewellers Hamilton and Co. When Ibraham Pacha the ruler of Egypt commissioned four enormous candelabra from Osler for the tomb of the prophet Mahomet at Mecca, the company took the opportunity to display them in their London showroom attracting the attention of such important visitors as Prince Albert, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. By the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851 their reputation was sufficient to secure them a space at the centre of the transept of the great Crystal Palace in which to display their breathtaking and ambitious twenty foot high crystal fountain. A few years later the Art Journal noted, `No other producer attempts to compete with them in large pieces; in these they stand alone and have done so for upwards of a quarter of a century. But they do not rest their fame soley on the purity of their glass: they obtain the aid of a high order, and their designs are invariably of great excellence.'
The present chandelier can be attributed to Osler on the grounds of its fine quality but also on the stylistic grounds of the shape of the drops on the chains which is of a style unique to Osler. For comparison see a chandelier of similar form, the armature of which is stamped `F and C Osler' is illustrated in Martin Mortimer, The English Glass Chandelier, 2000, p.158, pl.97.
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