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A 19th Century Gilt Brass Three Arm Colza Lamp

Attributed to Messenger & Sons, circa 1835.
The foliate ceiling rose with three extending ornate linked chains, the looped handles joined by serpent cast ‘s-hooks’, enclosing a central flame topped urn. The three branches with extensive leaf cast details, each terminating in a bearded male mask, each with differing seasonal and pastoral head-dress (rose and fishes, thistles, and bulrushes).

The name of Messenger has been associated with the brassfoundry industry for over 200 years, active in the manufacturing of gilt brass ornamental lighting fittings such as candelabras, lamps and gas fittings, mounts, branches, and sprays, and traded from 1826-27 as ‘Manufacturers of Chandeliers, Tripods and Lamps, of every description in bronze and ormolu’ (E. Moncrieff, ‘Argand Lamps’, Antique Collector, February 1990, p. 47). The firm established a thriving metal foundry in Birmingham, further opening a branch in London in 1826 (C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds, 1998, p. 606, cat. no. 733). An impressive range of chandeliers, candelabras, and fittings incorporating crystal glass was staged by the company at the Paris Exhibition, and also at the great Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851; at the International Exhibition held in London in 1862 the Messenger Company’s products were described as showing great artistic skill; “Mr Messenger has long been recognised as the best British producer in works of bronze, and his collection … fully upholds his fame with regard to design, as well as manufacture”.

Included in the imagery is a trade card, taken from the Heal Collection (Heal,66.45) advertising “Messenger and Sons, Manufacturer of Chandeliers, Tripods and Lamps of Every Description in Bronze, and Or-Molu [sic]. Birmingham and London.”

Height: 98 cm, 38 5/8″
Diameter: 58 cm, 22 7/8″