Redware Chamber Lamps
Presented here, we have two Glazed Redware Grease Lamps with the most marvelous green glaze with yellow undertones and manganese and cobalt "splotches and drips", and overglazed with a clear lead glaze that gives a beautiful glassy finish. They are not a pair, per se, as they are slightly different in size but they most likely were made by the same hand.
According to Thwing in Flickering Flames, while pottery lamps were rather common in their day, they almost always appear in the area of German settlement "among the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch in that state and in Ohio, among the Moravians in North Carolina and to some extent at a late period in Tennessee." These lamps were turned out by country potters who used the local clay.
The smaller finger lamp stands about 2.6" tall with a base that is 2" in diameter. From its rounded strap handle to wick tip it is 3.8" wide. The larger finger lamp stands approximately 3.1" tall with a base that is 2.25" in diameter. From its strap handle to wick tip, it is 4.25" in diameter.
They both have exposed wick channels for spouts. Clearly as the evolution of lighting devices became more sophisticated, lamps which burned fat and grease were eventually replaced with those burning other, more efficient fuels and the little pottery lamps were replaced.
Likely these were chamber lamps that were kept in a group at the foot of the stairs in a home, tavern, or inn. The user would light one of these diminutive lamps from a larger lit lamp and illuminate their way to a bed chamber for the night. Both lamps are in very fine, well used condition with no cracks, breaks or repairs. They do show some wear due to age and usage . . . the "dings" that are typical of redware because of the porosity of the redware body due to the low firing temperature as well as a "kiln kiss" from being too close to another in the kiln.
They date circa 1725 and are quite rare, especially in this condition. Finding one would be excellent, but to find two is a real coupe. These, for the advanced collector of early lighting or redware . . . they will be a highlight of any serious collection and a wonderful lighting display in any early room setting.
Questions? Ask the Ferret!