The ivory turner Lorenz Spengler, who was from Schaffhausen in Switzerland, arrived in Copenhagen in 1743. He was made court turner and taught most of the Royal family, among them Christian VI and later Frederik V, in the art of turning.
Some of Spengler’s best work is preserved in Rosenborg, among them cups of ostrich egg, ivory and amber. The principal work is a chandelier of amber made from a drawing by Marcus Tuscher. The chandelier is made as a crystal chandelier and indicates that the use of amber was continued at the Danish Court long after it went out of fashion at other European courts.
From 1771 until his death, Spengler was manager of the Chamber of Curiosities, a position later taken over by his son. As a natural scientist he became a member of the Society of Sciences. Parts of his large collection of conch shells, art materials and paintings were later taken over by the state.
Queen Sophie Magdalene’s lathe designed by Diderich de Thurah, 1735-36. Turning had traditionally been a men’s hobby. In the 18th century royal women and children also learned the art, probably encouraged by the artist Lorenz Spengler who was brought to court in 1743. The lathe symbolizes Sophie Magdalene’s belief that royal dignity demanded magnificience in both great and small matters.