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Jonas Defries & Sons, RD 35778, 26 June 1846 - Night lamp

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I recently bought this piece on Ebay purely on the basis that it was listed as bearing a diamond registration date mark for 1846, and I couldn’t recall ever seeing any piece of glass pre-1849 with a registration mark.

It is round shallow bowl or dish (just over 4cm deep) with straight sides that taper outwards and then develop into a flared rim (9.3cm top rim diameter). It has a short stem that broadens at the bottom into a short step joining the round foot (7cm rim diameter). The floor of the bowl is slightly conical, and at the centre is a conical hole (about 5mm diameter at the top and extending into the centre of the stem for about 8mm). The surface of this conical hole is roughened. The underside of the foot rim has a deeply-impressed diamond registration date mark for 26 June 1846 – Parcel 3.

The glass itself is quite thick, and there are no signs of any mould marks or seams. The whole piece appears to be either free-blown, or possibly initially mould-blown before the formation of the stem and foot. There is a small slag inclusion in the side of the bowl. The underside of the foot is slightly hollow, and there is a snapped –off pontil mark in the centre. The diamond registration mark must have been impressed with some sort of tooled stamp after the foot was finished because the stamping of rim at that point has squashed and distorted it somewhat.

There is only a single glass design registration on 26 June 1846; the registrant was Jonas Defries, Houndsditch, [London], and the RD number was 35778.  The National Archives registration summary describes the subject as a Night Lamp.

Without the diamond registration mark, the piece would simply have appeared to have been something like an unsophisticated sweetmeat dish with a strange conical hole in the centre of the bowl base. There is a small conchoidal chip to the interior edge of the bowl rim, but there are very few signs of age or wear to the bowl or the underside of the foot.

I’m not at all conversant with antique glass lamps and lighting, and am not sure if this  night lamp is more-or-less complete as it stands. There is no sign of any way of securely attaching a shade. Might it have had a metal stand of some kind? Did the hole in the bottom of the bowl act as some kind of attachment point for a wick? Would it have been a candle lamp, or would it have been fuelled by some type of oil?

Comments or suggestions invited. Please?

And a couple of photos of the rough-edged conical hole in the centre of the bowl interior.

Paul S.:
Suppose there must be a few pieces out there that are dated in the early to mid 1840's since Registrations started in September 1842.

Can't offer any serious or positive comments other than to suggest that next time I go to Kew I will look at the Representations and take a pic. of the whole unit, assuming there is more than one piece.

I suppose you could have a thin spike of sorts that projected up from the hole, and onto which a candle might be fixed, or perhaps a wick?        I'm not very well up on night lights/lamps, and only have two rather ordinary sorts where the top half sits, conventionally, on the inside of a raised lip which forms part of the base - one a Clarke and of all things a Royal Brierley.
Suppose there might have been variations whereby the top sat outside of the base, possibly, or maybe there simply wasn't a top.

Must admit the lozenge impression does look unusual  -  do you get any feeling that this piece might not be genuine??     Although uncommon, snapped pontils do occur on pressed pieces, and the seed would not be out of place.

I have no reason to suppose that the piece is not genuine. It came with a genuine 1872 Sowerby sugar bowl, the seller had been listing whole batches of mixed mid-Victorian tableware for several weeks without any real idea of what he was listing beyond reading (or sometimes mis-reading) the year indicator on the lozenges, and the opening listing prices were purely nominal. The chip on the rim of the bowl is certainly genuine. I've had another look at the underside of the foot (with a lens this time) - the underside is quite domed, so that the only point of contact is the extreme edge of the rim, which does show some wear marks. There are also some very small slag inclusions that match those in the bowl.

Thank you for your kind offer to check the registration details at Kew - that is obviously the definitive next move. I look forward to the results.

I don't think it's pressed Paul

--- Quote --- The whole piece appears to be either free-blown, or possibly initially mould-blown before the formation of the stem and foot.
--- End quote ---


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