When I first saw it I thought it looked so familiar. I was sure I had seen it before. But what was it? Was it a wine cooler or bucket of some sort?
It was copper with what appeared to be silver accents. There were three dimensional palm fronds on one side and a bird on the opposite side. The band had palm fronds, leaves and a reclining nymph. And the handles looked to me to be tiger heads with rings in their mouths. An unusual grouping of details but decidely aesthetic in look.
I turned it over and saw there was a round opening in the bottom. So it was not a wine cooler or bucket. But then I saw it, “595” and the Meriden Britannia mark.
I had a reproduction of the 1886/87 Meriden Britannia catalog. I have looked through this catalog on many occasions; sometimes to search for a specific item and other times as entertainment. There were 3200 illustrations within, all beautiful and remarkably detailed. In the Introduction to this reproduction catalog, Edmund P. Hogan states, in part:
“The catalog is illustrated throughout with wood engravings. These pictures were actually engraved by hand onto the surface of blocks of fine-grained wood. It required a large measure of artistic ability to render the elaborate and highly embellished patterns so popular in 1886. Meriden Britannia Co. had its own wood engraving department, in which six or eight men were steadily employed.”
Hopefully No. 595 was in the 1886 catalog. But the problem was the items in the book were not listed in numerical order; they were listed by category like “brides baskets”, “casters”, “napkin rings”, etc. And I had no clue what this was, so I started flipping through the pages. And there it was, in the lamp section. It was a lamp base!
Following are some of the pages from the lamp section of the catalog:
Page 216 had my base, No. 595:
After “No. 595” it reads, “Enameled Copper Old Silver Mountings, $22.50, Shade Extra”.
Notice on Page 217 they have an “Extension Lamp”.
These extension lamps could be used to convert a table lamp into a floor lamp.
You’ll see on Page 220 below the lamp base on the extension is similar to the lamp on the right side (No. 690) except that the “feet” have been removed.
It is not easy to find any of these Meriden Britannia lamps these days. The mixed metals of copper and old silver in an aesthetic design are especially pleasing (to me at least).
Another bird view:
Palm frond up close:
Tiger close up:
The three dimensional palm frond and bird are held on to the sides by nuts:
View of the entire bottom:
Closeup of condition:
This lamp base is listed for sale on my Etsy shop:
Now to find the burner and the shade! Hope you found this interesting!