Antique Lamps - A Classic Beauty or the More You Look, the More You See

Posted on June 17, 2019 by Maurice Robertson | 0 Comments

Many interesting lamps have been included in our antique lamp range, but some have a lot more to say than others.  When we think of an antique lamp, we automatically think of a means of illuminating a room, or, an area, maybe, to read by.  This lamp, however, tells an interesting story, the more you look, the more you see!  The story is in the detail, which follows.

A rare and very smart, English, 19th century, cylindrical shaped antique lamp in Greco-Roman, revival style.  The lamp base was produced by Samuel Alcock of Burslem, in the English county of Staffordshire.  Alcock produced porcelain and earthenware during the second half of the 19th century.  During this period there was a revival of interest in Greco Roman painting and Alcock designed ceramics in the style, which he named "Greek Etruscan".  The lamp decorated with a finely detailed, copper plate engraving, the lamp base with a rich Pompeian red, ground colour.  The engraving derived from Roman art, circa 200 AD.  The lamp Circa 1865     Overall height (including shade) 24" / 61cm

Greek influence on Roman art.....

Classical Greek design and decorative art was greatly admired throughout the Roman Empire and was the primary influence on the art of imperial Rome.  The typical colour range of this neoclassic revival included black motifs outlined against terra cotta and Pompeian red, powder blue, puce and olive, these colours sometimes also used as a monochrome, as with this lamp.

A slightly less elaborate version of this print can be found in “Le Corset Travers Les Ages” published in 1893.  The title translates as "The Corset Through The Ages" and makes reference to the strap-like garment, or "strophium" (Latin), shown being handed to the seated lady by a maid.  The strophium was worn under the bosom over an inner tunic, or, chemise.

socially elite lady!......

She is shown wearing a finely pleated, Greek style Peplos similar to the Toga as worn by Roman men.  Her Peplos would have been made from expensive, Egyptian, white linen and was seen as the wardrobe of the socially elite.  The lady is an aristocratic lady attended by male attendants and a maid.  The Roman Empire was a slave owning society and a lady of rank had many such house slaves, (servus domus).  The young male attendant is seen handing her a jar of perfumed oil as a hair dressing. 

She is illustrated seated in a very elegant, classical, Greek style chair known as a "Klismos", originally designed as a light chair that could be easily moved around.  It was also a style of chair principally used by women.  Although two thousand years old, the design looks remarkably modern, with its smooth and flowing shape and delicately curved back and legs.  The curved back or "Stiles", was designed for maximum comfort to perfectly fit the curvature of the sitter's back.


She holds an elegant parasol over her head, protecting her complexion from the strong light.  A small winged figure bathes her feet over a wide rimmed bowl.  In Roman and Greek classical mythology, this winged figure usually represents victory and in this case may reflect her elevated status.  The base of the lamp printed with a band of Greek Key.

the back and forth of Greek revival.....
At various periods throughout history, revivals of the superb designs of Greco-Roman classicism have emerged in art and design.  These revisits are generally known today as periods of “Greco-Roman Revival”. These movements were dominant from about the middle of the 18th century, lasting almost until the close of the 19th century.  The peak revival was the Napoleonic First Empire throughout the first quarter of the 19th century.
The background to this photo shows an example of the original source engraving as published in 1893.
© Antique Lamp Shoppe 2017


Posted in Antique Lamp, classic lamps, Greco-Roman Design, Greek revival lamp, Pompeian Red, Stylish, table lamp



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