For sale is a lovely table lamp made by The Jefferson Lamp Company of Chicago, IL. The lamp is known as a "Scenic Reverse Painted" table lamp. The lamp is quite large as it stands 25" tall and is 18" in diameter.
The shade depicts a beautiful lake scene with a cottage on a hill overlooking its view. You can see the beautiful Lake, along with trees and a meadow circling around the lake and wrapping around to the cottage. The colors are vivid and well defined. The exterior of the glass has a sandblasted chipped ice texture to it. The base itself is one of Jefferson's best. The metal is a very heavy cast zinc. It displays a very deep rich green with black highlights patina. It has 4 raised claw feet with wide acanthus leaves rising up from the feet forming the corners of the base. The column as a vertical ribbed pattern with ties in the shape of an "x" mounted in 7 evenly spaced sections on the column. It has 2 P+S lamp sockets with round pull chain balls. The lamp has been rewired with the antique style brown rayon cord. It still retains its original plug and has been tested for use.
This lamp is considered to be in excellent condition as the Reverse Painted shade has no nicks, chips or cracks. The base is in equal condition as there are no major dents or dings to the metal. The patina on the top heat cap shows wear from lifting the shade on and off the lamp. The shade lifts on and off the lamp very much like their contemporary, "The Handel Lamp Company of Meriden Connecticut" and later on Handel moved to New York City. I would think that Jefferson copied Handel's technique as Handel was producing reverse painted lamps earlier than Jefferson. This was a wonderful way to mount the reverse painted lamps and many survived because of that. The Pittsburgh reverse painted lamps were hard mounted in that the cap was put on top of the glass and then the finial tightened it down to the base. If it was tightened too tight when the shade got hot from the light bulbs and expanded the shade would crack. This cap and ring assembly allowed for Jefferson and Handel lamps to survive many more years than their contemporaries.
The lamp is signed on the inside bottom edge of the shade. It reads "1878 Jefferson. Co F". I believe the "F" is the artist initial that painted this lamp and do not know the name of that artist. There is very little information on The Jefferson Lamp Company. Here is a chance to own a fine piece of early American lighting for a lot less than a Handel lamp of similar quality. I believe this lamp was made circa 1907-1912.
To understand reverse painted lamps means exactly as it sounds, "reverse paint". When one learns how to paint on oil or board they are taught to paint the background and then go to the foreground. When you paint on glass blanks for lighting it was the reverse of this. One would have to paint the foreground and then go to the background from the inside of the shade. This was simply because when the light was on you would be looking through the glass and the foreground is the first thing you see. You can take the most gifted artist and they can't paint in this method as it is extremely difficult to do.
I have shown a picture of the same exact lamp base on a similar shade made by Jefferson. This picture is taken from the reference book "Quality Electric Lamps" by L-W Book Sales. The lamp is on page 81 lower right.
This lamp will have to be shipped in 2 boxes. It is also quite heavy as it weighs 18.5 lbs without any boxing