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Exceptional American "Fancy" Reflective Candle Sconce.....SOLD
New England or Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), ca. early 19th century. Encased-glass facing over tin body enclosing highly reflective components that were cast by pouring molten tin-lead alloy or pewter onto glass objects, such as the underside of cut tumblers and wine glasses. These imaginative elements created reflections that were a delight as the flickering flame moved across them. The crimped tin candle cup surprisingly separates from the body to become a little chamberstick that can be carried or placed on a chest or stand. As can be seen, the condition is remarkable in a high state of originality, and early dry red paint about the rim and candlecup. About 9 1/2 inches diameter x 6 inches deep. Wintherthur owns 13 of these reflector sconces. For reference, see IRON AT WINTERTHUR, Don Fennimore pp.293-295; and AMERICAN FANCY, EXUBERANCE IN THE ARTS 1790-1840, pp. 167-168, Sumpter Priddy. A quote from Sumpter's book: "Few sconces projected enough light for intricate work like sewing or reading, what mattered is that they turned light and shadow into pattern, and the resultant images into Fancy". They were highly imaginative ways to tease the eyes. And from the MAGAZINE ANTIQUES: "When or whence came those elaborate sconces whose reflecting powers were intensified by metal discs protected by a pane of glass, we know not. They were a luxury item for fine establishments and today are reckoned among major rarities in the category of early lighting.....
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