The Melbourne centrepiece

The Melbourne centrepiece
1839-1840

Artist/s name
GARRARD &
CO., London (manufacturer)


Medium
silver-gilt
Measurements
(a-m) 122.7 x 64.0 x 64.0 cm (overall) (large candelabrum) (n-s) 82.2 x 38.9 x 32.8 cm (overall) (male candelabrum) (t-y) 81.0 x 36.6 x 32.8 cm (overall) (female candelabrum)
Place/s of Execution
London, England
Accession Number
D158.a-y-1975
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased by the Government of Victoria to mark the official opening of the new premises of the National Gallery of Victoria at the Victorian Arts Centre on 20th August, 1968
Gallery Location
18th & 19th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

This monumental three-part centerpiece was made by Garrard & Co., a premier manufacturer of plate in the nineteenth century. It was originally presented by Queen Victoria to Viscount Melbourne, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Lord Melbourne, after whom the city of Melbourne is named, was a close confidant and companion to Queen Victoria prior to her marriage and a significant influence in the early years of her reign. The engraved inscription reads: 'Presented to Viscount Melbourne as a mark of regard and esteem by Victoria R. and Albert, February 10, 1840' – the date Victoria and Albert were married.

The ornate form of the centrepiece is characteristic of the rococo-revival style so popular in early mid nineteenth-century England. This complex, curvilinear style of the eighteenth century was revived in the nineteenth century, combining floral elements of the rococo with the naturalism newly popular in the Victorian period.