OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PATRICIA M. SAX
Although many Argand, astral, sinumbra, and other types of lamps have survived with the label of Baldwin Gardiner, J. & 1. Cox, and other American firms of the early nineteenth century, trade catalogues of the period suggest that most of these lamps were actually made in Birmingham, England, from where they were exported to retailers in the United States and elsewhere. Possibly some American retailers were able to offer exclusive designs, as there appears to be some correlation between specific designs and the firms that marketed them. Baldwin Gardiner had one of the most successful retailing establishments in New York in the Classical Revival period, selling lighting, china, silver, hardware, and a wide variety of other household furnishings.
This pair of lamps bears the name of "Messenger" cast into the iron weight in the base of each that serves to balance the weight of the asymmetrical arm with burner, shade, and chimney. The "signature" is placed discreetly, on the upper-and thus hidden- side of the weight, as it was not intended to be seen by the ultimate consumer, who was clearly encouraged to believe that the lamps had been made by Baldwin Gardiner of New York.
The oil tanks are identical to those on a suite of three Argand mantel lamps, which are again marked both by Messenger and Baldwin Gardiner, in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland (acc. no. 1939a-c; see Wendy Cooper, Classical Taste in America 1800-1840, exhib. cat. [The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1993], p. 158 fig. 116 illus.).
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