Collection Online

The La Trobe testimonial candelabrum centrepiece

silver, glass
(a-h) 81.2 × 50.9 × 52.1 cm (overall)
Place/s of Execution
London, England
Accession Number
International Decorative Arts
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Hugh M. Morgan, Governor, 1986
© Public Domain
Gallery location
Gallery 5
Level 2, NGV Australia
About the work

During the nineteenth century, prominent figures were regularly presented with testimonials in recognition of service. In Australia these invariably took the form of a flamboyant silver presentation object. The most lavish are elaborate decorative centrepieces.

During the second half of the century, when Australian cities could support large numbers of silversmiths, centrepieces were nearly always made locally. A few, like this one, were produced in England for those who had worked in Australia. This candelabrum was commissioned for Charles Joseph La Trobe, the first Lieutenant Governor of the colony of Victoria.  The candelabrum, with its figures of an Aboriginal person, miner and shepherd, was an allegory of the colony of Victoria.