Stevens and Williams Hanging Fairy Lamp
by Jim

Fairy Lamp Club Newsletter, Issue XXVIII, August 2003

It is so rewarding when someone shares with us the results of their research. Such was the feeling when Mr. Dilwyn (Dil) Heir sent me additional pages from the Stevens and Williams (S&W) design book. If you recall, it was Dil who provided earlier pages from the design book that lead to the identification of several S&W fairy lamp designs and a much better understanding of how they were marketed. (1) The source of these pages is the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Archives. (2)

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These new pages are from the same ledger-like book with hand-drawn sketches, design numbers, notations identifying color or glass type, pricing information, and often a date. This is a real treasure trove of information that includes the identification of three additional fairy lamp designs by S&W.

11242_small.gif (6063 bytes)The first design is a hanging fairy lamp that includes a slightly ruffled bowl with a finial-like prunt, a typical S&W crimp-top shade, and a three-chain suspension device very similar, if not identical, to those found on Clarke's fairy lamps. The notations in the design book identify it as S&W design number 11.242 and includes the following pricing information:

Shaded cup   

2 shillings 6 pence

Suspension Chain  

1 shilling 6 pence

Shaded Shade   

2 shillings 3 pence

Fairy Glass? Fittings  

1 shilling 2 pence

Complete   

7 shillings 6 pence

There is no date associated with this design, however, the adjacent design number 11.241 is dated 18/3/86 (March 18, 1886). This is very early in the development of what we consider the hey-day of Clarke's fairy lamps.

I shared this drawing with several prominent collectors to see if they have ever seen it before and, hopefully, if anyone happened to have one. To my surprise, Bob and Pat just happened to have one and sent me several photos.

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This shade matches the base pretty well but a shaded red to pink S&W crimp-top shade would probably be better. It is interesting how well the Clarke lamp cup fits the scalloped base and that the lamp cup is not shown in the S&W illustration. It may have been an artist oversight that the lamp cup was omitted or further evidence that the lamp cups were made elsewhere. As we know, many manufacturers provided only parts to Clarke's finished fairy lamps.

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The hanging base is cased in white and has a finial-like prunt over the pontil mark. In this case the prunt is decorative, but it is not uncommon for glass companies to polish the pontil mark or cover it with a berry or flower-like prunt to cover the rough pontil scar. The chain hanger is marked "Clarke" but was most certainly manufactured by yet another unidentified company.

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At first glance, the prunt appears to be capped in white. However, the white portion is simply the white interior of the finial that was exposed when the pontil rod was removed and the pontil scar on the finial was polished smooth

The next design, number 11.243, is a little more common.

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It has the well-known S&W crimped-top shade (design number 11.138) on a squatty, tightly crimped, rose bowl-like base that I am sure is a welcomed addition to many rose bowl collections. Once again, however, the Clarke lamp cup is not illustrated.

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As you can see, however, the lamp cup fits nicely atop the crimps and comfortably within the opening of the bowl. The blue version has an original paper label, presumably, from an English distributor of S&W wares.

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A portion of the label is missing; however, it appears to read "Phillips 175 Oxford Street.

In addition to the documentation uncovered in the S&W design book, Clarke advertised these bowls in an advertisement that appeared in a 1888 issue of the Pottery Gazette Diary as Clarke models 98 and 104.

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These two bowls are illustrated in S&W ribbon satin with matching shades and a floral arrangement for which the bowls were used. It is interesting to note that there were two distinctly different sizes. The smaller version is illustrated in blue and caramel above . I have not seen the larger version, but a good candidate is illustrated in Collectable Glass Rose Bowls by Johanna Billings, figure 168, page 58. Without dimensions, however, it is difficult to tell for sure.

Finally, there was one additional fairy lamp shade illustrated in the S&W design book. It is identified as design number 11.494.

11294.gif (7100 bytes)This shade design has the classic S&W crimp top but with a "floral decoration." It is unclear from this sketch if the decoration is painted, etched, or applied as a glass decoration. I am not aware of any S&W shades of this type that are decorated in this manner. Perhaps, since the sketch was apparently scratched out, it was discontinued or never actually produced. I would be very interested in finding anyone who has a similarly decorated S&W shade.

Well, to wrap up this rather long-winded article, I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight the broad range of colors the S&W crimp-top shades come in.

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Several members contributed to this collection of images and I greatly appreciate their support in providing them. Are these all the colors? I sincerely doubt it. That is what makes our collections so enjoyable….the elusive search for the unknown.

Footnotes:

1  Matsu-No-Ke Rose Bowl – Or is it, FL-XXIII-3 and Stevens and Williams Matsu-No-Ke Update, FL-XXIV-4
www.dudley.gov.uk/council/library/archives/archive1.htm

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