This 'Crystal Throne Chair', stamped by Osler, is exemplary of the firm's output of glass furniture which was prized for its prismatic quality and miraculous construction. Osler produced chairs, settes, beds and tables exclusively marketed to Indian princely families through their Calcutta showroom. The maharajas were embarking upon a palatial building program of boundless opulence and Osler's jewel-like furniture was both suitably magnificent and 'cooling' in India's climate. A substantial order from Osler of tables, armchairs, beds and fountains was made by Maharana Sajjan Singh (d. 1884), and although he died before it arrived, his collection is today preserved in the crystal gallery at the Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. Not to be confused with the proliferation of modern copies, original surviving furniture by Osler is rare. A group of glass furniture by Osler, including two similar armchairs, is illustrated in Mallett, London, 2001, pp. 76-77. Further examples including a pair of chairs and chaise longue, also upholstered in pale blue velvet, and therefore possibly from the same suite as the present lot, sold Sotheby's, 20 November 2007, lots 84 and 87. Another chaise longue is at the palace at Baroda and a settee at the Motibagh Palace, Patiala.
The design of this armchair shows a distinctly Moorish influence as popularised by Owen Jones' drawings of the Alhambra. It is a variant of two recorded in Osler's pattern books. The first is dated December 1880 (V.I p.163) and the second April 1888 (V.I p.178). These have different backrail crestings to the present lot, whereas a third drawing from 1880s, reproduced here, shows the exact design of the present chair (J. S. Spillman, European Glass Furnishings for Eastern Palaces, The Corning Museum of Glass, New York, 2006, 'F. & C. Osler', illustrated on title page).
For further information on Osler please see lot 120.