Kaunas County Public Library (former Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts)

The unique code in the Cultural heritage register – 8435

Address: K. Donelaičio g. 8, Kaunas

Time of origin: 1938

Place of origin: the Czech Republic, Kamenický Šenov (Elias Palme chandeliers factory)

Material, Technique: glass, crystal: casting, cutting; metal: casting, repoussé

Dimensions: height – 220 cm, diameter – 130 cm

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts in Kaunas (now Kaunas County Public Library) is one of the most significant works of an architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis. The architect not only supervised their construction and installation works but also took care of the interior decoration and furniture. According to the correspondence stored in the archives of 1938, the equipment for this building was ordered from the most modern companies in Sweden, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic [2]. The opening ceremony of the chamber took place on 18 February 1939, after the completion of all interior fittings and decoration of the building.

Three chandeliers designed to illuminate the Great Hall still hang on the 3rd storey of the building. Perhaps the most ornate accent of the chamber’s interior was outstanding chandeliers in the well-lit and harmoniously furnished hall (Figure 6). Currently, they hang in the darkened and little-visited Old Print Exhibition Hall and accordingly, they are a little noticeable.

Each stem-type chandelier has three bowls to receive arms. There are twenty curved S-shaped arms in the lower and largest bowl, ten in the middle, and five in the upper bowl. The project of these chandeliers is stored in the Central State Archives of Lithuania. It also clearly shows all the lost parts. The chandeliers terminate with spires beneath, and pendants decorate all the arms at the drip pans. These elements are still visible on the chandeliers in a photograph taken in 1947 (Figure 7). The pendants have survived only on the arms of the two upper rows. However, the spire-shaped terminals beneath are, unfortunately, lost.

These chandeliers were ordered from Prague-based Haas & Cžjžek A. G. workshop* in 1938 [3]. This porcelain company probably performed only the function of an agent, because the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences stores the letters and invoices of the Elias Palme factory located in Kamenický Šenov to the Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts* [4]. A review of the comprehensive catalogues of Elias Palme’s chandelier factory stored in the Vilnius Academy of Arts [1] shows that the factory was undoubtedly capable of producing these and many other chandeliers to decorate the most famous interiors in Europe.

Czech glass chandeliers could be seen in Lithuanian interiors as early as the 18th century, and become more often in the 1st half of the 19th century. The three chandeliers ordered for the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts are undoubtedly one of the most valuable glass chandeliers in Lithuania of the 20th century.


* For the reference of the file, I would like to thank my fellow art critic dr. Skirmantė Smilingytė-Žeimienė.

* For the reference of the source, I would like to thank my fellow art critic dr. Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė.

Literature and sources:
  1. Elias Palme sietynų dirbtuvių Bohemijoje XX a. 2–3 dešimtmečio apšvietimo priemonių katalogas, in: VDA bibliotekos Senų ir retų spaudinių skyrius, 749.3Gl33.
  2. Kauno architektūra. Vilnius: Mokslas, 1991, p. 88.
  3. Prekybos, pramonės ir amatų rūmų statybos byla, 1938, in: Lietuvos centrinis valstybės archyvas, f. 987, ap. 1, b. 804.
  4. Elias’o Palme’s fabriko raštai Lietuvos prekybos pramonės ir amatų rūmams, 1938, in: Lietuvos mokslų akademijos Vrublevskių bibliotekos Rankraščių skyrius, f. 215–1822.
  5. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 253.
  6. Vanagienė Žibutė, Dailės kūrinio aprašas K795, Uk8435, DV437, 2003, in: Kultūros paveldo centro Duomenų skyriaus archyvas.