Origin: English Period: Mid/Late 20thC Provenance: Date: c.1970-80 Height: 68” Width: 43.5” Depth: 32.5” (all at extremities)
The bespoke made three-piece Cuban mahogany and curved glass carcass, of remarkable build quality, having double opening doors to both ends for access, and adjustable Perspex fanning vents for ventilation, the thirty-two-piece glass structure with a trefoil shaped top, to a plinth base and to chamfered legs with large brass castors, to a curved and spherical halo stretcher, the whole design being based upon the Palm House at Kew Gardens, surviving from the third quarter of the twentieth century.
The glass house remains unused and perfectly stable after forty odd years of storage and breaks down into three parts for transport. Largely she remains in very good order. There is one curved pane with a hairline crack, and some bending to one of the Perspex slides. The doors remain in good operative order, with some glue residue staining to the panes which have obviously been replaced at once stage. We have given the piece a thorough clean and wax.
The designer of this glasshouse first drew up the plans for an interior glasshouse forty years ago, using the Palm House at Kew Gardens as inspiration. The construction was given as a private commission to an excellent staff cabinet maker at the Royal College of Art and solid Cuban Mahogany was selected for the construction, whilst the glass bending was given to Bowdens of Ilford, who were the original contractors at Kew. The piece is accompanied by a wooden board showing sketches and notes relating to its design.
The original Palm House was constructed in 1844 by Richard Turner to Decimus Burton’s designs to provide a home for the tropical plants that Victorian explorers brought back from their adventures in the tropics. No one had ever built a glasshouse on this scale before and to do so the architects borrowed techniques from the ship building industry which may explain why the Palm House looks like the upturned hull of a ship. Today the Palm House is one of Kew’s most recognisable buildings having gained iconic status as the world’s most important surviving Victorian glass and iron structure.
Whether housing plants, insects, taxidermy or reptiles, this is a unique opportunity to acquire a standout piece of craftsmanship, second to none.