These domed displays were found in many Victorian households. They were made in Germany, and some can be found stamped "Austria" as well. A great many of them have a religious subject, while others depict scenes with animals, children, etc. This relatively large glass dome is almost a foot tall with a Christmas nativity scene of Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, two sheperds, a lamb and flowers sitting on a moss-covered stairstep base. The flowers encircling the scene are made of embossed paper. Many incorrectly describe the figures as made of wax, but they are actually made of "Tragant" (a mixture made mainly of sugar and a few other ingredients). Early confectioners, most notably those from Berlin and Vienna, were masters of this and created Christmas ornaments and decorations fashioned of Tragant. They were then handpainted and many hung from the Christmas trees. My German friend Maria tells me the early glass-domed nativity scenes were usually made in Austria.
Welcome to Living Tastefully’s “Antique of the Week” page. Our love of antiques is reflected in every aspect of our everyday lives. We are passionate about collecting and also love functional antiques that can actually be used and not only admired. Hopefully we can inspire you to incorporate antiques in your home and your life to add charm and beauty to your surroundings.