A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU

an article of Giorgio Busetto - www.silvercollection.it
for ASCAS - Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
a small collection of antique silver and objects of vertu
click on images to enlarge

ITALIAN ANTIQUE SILVER OIL LAMPS
(lucerne)

After several centuries in which oil lamps (in Italian: lucerna) was into disuse, they became popular again around the mid 18th century in the form of a silver lamp with a reservoir, applied to a long rod, and supported by a large base (usually wood weighed). This new production of silver oil lamps was restricted to Italy, mostly being produced in Rome and Papal State, and limited quantity being produced in Naples, Milan, Genoa, Venice and Florence. Some examples have Maltese hallmarks, mostly destined for customers in Naples and other cities in Southern Italy.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the neo-classical taste resulted in the production of figural oil lamps in which the reservoirs are supported by human figures (mostly in Egyptians clothing), Greek or Roman Divinities (especially Mercury) and, sometimes, animals.

shade 
of a silver 
oil lampsilver oil lamp:
 snuffer, tweezers, 
estinguisherMost lamps were provided with a shade and were equiped with snuffers, tweezers and estinguishers hanging from chains applied to the rod. A pecualiarity of some lamps made in Genoa is the glass reservoir. Production of silver oil lamps ceased in the late19th century when more efficient sources of illumination became available, even if a limited production survived in the 20th century exclusively for decorative purposes. The photos that follow depict some examples of silver oil lamps.
silver 
oil lamp 
silversmith
Vincenzo Bugarinishade of 
silver oil lamp
silvesmith
Vincenzo Bugarini

Rome 1807/1837, silversmith Vincenzo Bugarini. Four wicks spouts in shape of animal heads. The shade is decorated with the Chigi coat of arms.
silver oil lamp 
silversmith
Vincenzo Belli


Rome, around 1780, silversmith Vincenzo Belli. Shade decorated with two butterflies
silver 
oil lamp 
Rome 
circa 1835


Rome, around 1835,
silver 
oil lamp: 
figural finial decorated with a figural finial depicting an angel with a shield
shade 
of silver 
oil lampsilver 
oil lamp
silversmith
Filippo Pacetti

Rome, around 1820, silversmith Filippo Pacetti. The lamp has parts from other makers, the handle is by Vincenzo Bugarini, the butterfly-form shade has a maker's mark not clear, the tweezers are by G.L. Valadier, the snuffer and estinguisher are of later date
silver 
oil lamp
silversmith
Vincenzo Parentisilver 
oil lamp
lyre finial


Rome, around 1820, silversmith Vincenzo Parenti, snuffer and shade of other silversmiths.
Genoa 
silver 
oil lamp 
1752


Genoa, hallmark 1752. The lamp has a crystal reservoir. The use of crystal for oil reservoir is a typical of Genoan lamps
silver 
oil lamp
silversmith
Girolamo Menazzi

Rome, 1825, silversmith Girolamo Menazzi. Stem is a column supporting reservoir with four wicks spouts in the form of human heads. The lamp has chains for its maintenance accessories
silver 
oil lamp
Rome 1830

Rome, 1830, reservoir with one spout held by a figure over a globe
Mercury 
oil lamp
silversmith
Antonio Mattei


Rome, 1814, silversmith Antonio Mattei. Mercury was the favourite among Divinities and was frequently used for figural oil lamps
silver 
oil lamp
silversmith
Roberto Tombesi


Rome, 1820, silversmith Roberto Tombesi. The female figure holding reservoir is in bronze. The shade was fitted with parchment paper (now missing)
retour d'Egypte 
silver oil lamp


Rome, 1805, silversmith Antonio de Caporali. Silver, bronze and polychrome marbles. A typical example of "retour d'Egypt" style which spread after Napoleon's campaign in Egypt
retour d'Egypte 
silver oil lamp


Rome, 1810, silver and bronze. Another example of "retour d'Egypte style"
winged Cupid 
silver oil lamp
silversmith
P.P. Rancini


Perugia, 1830, silversmith P.P. Rancini. A winged Cupid supports a one-spout reservoir and the shade in the form of a butterfly
Giorgio Busetto - 2004 -
www.silvercollection.it


this article is published on website                               
this is an abstract from a wider study of Giorgio Busetto on oil lamps, available on the web clicking here