This beautiful hat-stand was exhibited at the 1867 World's Fair by Henry Crichley and Co from Birmingham. With a beautiful patina, this work presents characteristic forms of eclecticism then in vogue.
This cast iron hat-stand is composed of two parts, separated by a shelf. The upper part, hat-stand, is ornated with flowers whose geometry and stylization is pushed to the extreme. The lower part, which is an umbrella-stand, is decorated with an aquatic ornamental vocabulary like shells and sea monsters.
Presented on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1867 held in Paris, this hat-stand has been then noticed by the public and is thus illustrated in The illustrated catalog of the Universal exhibition: published with 'The Art-journal', page 91. The catalog also publishes some lines on Henry Crichley which remains today relatively unknown:
Henry Crichley and Co, of Birmingham, uphold the long-established repute of that town by exhibiting a collection of admirable works in cast iron – stoves, hat-stands, umbrella-stands, and so forth. Of Umbrella-stands, we engrave two, and one of a Hat-Stand, or rather a combination of both. They are good in design, excellent in execution, and admirably cast. Messrs. Crichley thus sustain one of the staples of the Birmingham trade, which supplies so large a portion of the world.
The back of the hat-stand presents the diamond-shaped English Registry mark, diamond shaped which gives us valuable indications of its specificities. We have the confirmation that the object was made in March 1867, the month before the opening of the Universal Exhibition on April 1st.
This work of art, made especially to be presented at the 1867 World's Fair, is truly an exceptional object produced by Henry Crichley and Co, who considered this hat-stand as the excellence of their work.