Victorians loved to collect and display objects of opulence and curiosity. To facilitate that purpose and desire the glass dome was created.
This would allow the object to be displayed and viewed from all angles without the need to touch, nor dust I suspect! Many a dome was used for displaying taxidermy, a small bird or mammal in a woodland scene or shells from a warmer clime. Many in France were used to display religious icons.
I’m a huge fan of these delicate and charming items, but I do like a more modern use and take on what they display. I love to use them as a focal point on a mantlepiece or window sill. It’s the way the light catches the glass, playing with reflections that can lift a darker area or give the impression that a delicate item, such as Allium seed heads are suspended in the air, adding to their fragile form. There are now many imported modern versions but the same delicacy and detailing to the bases is missing and can’t be replicated in the same way. If you buy a dome make sure it’s a classic .