Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monumental Triple Overlay Lamp

The Monumental Triple Overlay Lamp was produced between 1965 and 1875, by the Boston and Sandwich Company, the primary, domestic glass manufacturers of the time. Highly rare in its existence, this piece is deemed by Dr. Sylvia Yount, as an “outstanding example,” of the accomplishment that is 19th century glass making. In the late 1850s, the company modified their lamps to accommodate kerosene. In doing so, they also redesigned aesthetically to instill more detail and beauty in their product.
The lamp is made of blown glass, which has been wheel-cut and overlaid. A frosted glass shade with a glass chimney tops the piece, and each glass section is connected with brass and marble. After fusing and molding multiple pieces of colored glass together, workers would cut designs, through the opaque glass, and leave the clear transparent layer visible. Softening the light , the designs would add depth and warmth to the piece. Standing at 41 5/8 inches, the Overlay Lamp is both elegant and ornate.
This lamp, though not entirely similar, can be compared to Marian Mahler’s curtain, solely for visual purposes. Clearly evident is the mutual color scheme of the two pieces. Equally significant is the concept of repetition. The two pieces are designed with a red backdrop, made interesting by recurring patterns dispersed throughout.
Other than the use of bright colors and the quality of illumination, the Overlay Lamp and the Lava Lamp have exceptionally few comparisons. Produced some tens of decades later, the Lava lamp is regarded as more of a novelty item than anything else. Where the Overlay Lamp uses opaque and transparent material to alter light quality, the lava lamp hardly functions as a light source. Also, the psychedelic nature of the lava lamp regally clashes with the sophisticated elegance of the Overlay lamp.

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