Beyond these practical considerations is the lamp’s highly decorative effect, one that stems from the rich interplay of glass and bronze. The basic structure is a cage created from four bronze straps, each consisting of a dozen conjoined wires, and alternating with four smaller straps. A small sphere of molten glass was blown, actually a sphere formed from six layers (the casing can be seen when the base is taken apart), and then this sphere was inserted into the cage. Following a traditional Venetian method, the parison was blown further until it made contact with the cage. Then inflating it still further, the gaffer expanded the glass ball beyond the confines of the metal cage, bulging as it strained from its confines and thus forming the undulant shape of the lamp base that we have here. Once cold, four additional glass spheres were encased in swirling bronze wire and attached to the bottom. A still more vibrant pattern of wires cover the cap at top. It is a tour de force of creative invention at the same time that is a functioning lamp.
This elaborate base was included in the firm’s 1899 brochure, Lamps and Fixtures, where it was listed as No. 38, a system of model numbers that was replaced by 1903. Understandably, this lamp was called a “Decorative Lamp,” and it was priced at $150, one of the most expensive of the “Blown glass in wire” bases then offered. Like several others, it was described as usable for oil or electricity, and was shown with a blown globe, open at the top. By the time of the 1906 Price List, few such models were still listed. It would seem therefore, that the production of these elaborate, Venetian-inspired bases was limited to the years just before and after 1900.
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