Pair Blue Tole Sinumbra Lamps
French, about 1820
Tole (painted tin) and gilt brass, with lamp mechanism, and with glass shades, blown, frosted, and wheel cut, and glass chimneys
27 1/2 in. high (to top of chimneys)
Sinumbra lamps, literally lamps giving light "without shadow," became an important technological innovation in lighting during the period of the Classical Revival. With its light source set at the center of the circular tank that held the fluid that was burned to produce light, the illumination that fell on the table surface was "without shadow." Many forms of table lamps and hanging lamps were produced, and the light was modulated by the use of domical and pyriform shades that were variously clear and frosted, and wheel cut with a wide variety of classical designs.
The lamps themselves were variously made in ormolu, gilt and patinated bronze, glass, and tole, or painted tin, as in the present pair. What makes this pair unusual—perhaps unique—is the very rare blue color.