With its delicate ormolu construction hung with clear and blue glass, this chandelier relates to the oeuvre of the St. Petersburg chandelier-maker Johann Adam Fischer and his contemporaries, whose chandeliers epitomise the fashion for sumptuous and glittering furnishings at the Imperial Court during the reigns of Catherine the Great, Paul I and Alexander I. Fishers fame spread beyond St. Petersburg and his chandeliers were also acquired by patrons in Moscow, including Count Sheremetiev who in 1798 used one of Fischer's most unusual pieces at Ostankino Palace (I. Sychev,The Russian Chandeliers, St. Petersburg, 2003, p. 65, fig. 321). Fischer was one of several German chandelier-makers who came to St. Petersburg in the late 18th Century. They introduced a pattern of chandelier now known as 'Catherine', which existed in two basic forms: chandeliers with a load-bearing central shafts with tiers of rings with branches and so-called basket-chandeliers with cascades of drops and central coloured glass elements (ibid, p. 57).
One of the foremost specialities of the Imperial Glass Factory in St. Petersburg was the production of vibrantly-coloured glass, the formula for which had been found by the eminent scientist Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765) around 1750 (N. Asharina et. al., Russian Glass, Moscow, 1990, p. 22). During the first half of the 19th Century, these coloured glass pieces were decorated with intricate designs finely cut into the glass. An important position at the Imperial Glass Factory was that of artistic director or 'inventor', generally filled by prominent Russian artists and architects, who masterminded the production of the workshops and provided designs to the glass-blowers and cutters, but also to the bronze-workers, who executed mounts for vases, bowls and tazze. Jean Thomas de Thomon held this position from 1804 to 1813, Karl Rossi from 1813 to 1819 and Ivan Ivanov from 1819 to 1848. The blue glass sphere of the present chandelier was almost certainly created under the latter's tenure (A. Gaydamak, Russian Empire, Moscow, 2000, p. 90).