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Light fitting

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed and made)
    Hammersmith (made)

  • Date:

    1880-1915 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    W.A.S.Benson, Esq., (designer)
    W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)
    James Powell & Sons (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper, brass and opalescent glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ian and Rita Smythe

  • Museum number:

    M.27-2018

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

William Arthur Smith Benson (1858-1924) was born in London and educated at Winchester and Oxford. Benson was first articled to the office of Basil Champneys until 1880. Through his friendship with the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne-Jones, he met William Morris, whom he had long admired and was inspired to set up a workshop for the manufacture of metalwork in 1880. He later opened a well equipped factory in Hammersmith and in about 1887, a shop in Bond Street.; the firm survived until he retired in 1920. Benson was an active member of the Art Worker’s Guild from 1884, a leader in the formation of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society from 1886 and wrote an essay on metalwork in the catalogue of the first exhibition in 1888. On Morris’s death in 1896Benson became chairman of Morris & Co. for whom he designed furniture and wallpapers. In 1914, he was a founder member of the Design and Industries Association.

Benson’s firm produced some simple furniture but his great output consisted in well designed utilitarian metalwork, usually in copper and brass but sometimes in electroplate, including lamps, teapots, food warmers etc. Benson had always been interested in engineering and, unlike so many of his Arts & Crafts contemporaries, had little compunction about the use of the machine.

Physical description

Single lamp wall light of brass, copper and opalescent glass. A curved brass wall mount from emerges embossed copper and brass leaf decoration and a curved tube , encircled with a brass, spiral strip and terminating with a trumpet shaped holder, deep flange and screw fixings for the glass shade. The shade of opalescent, veined glass, teardrop shape and a convex rim for securing to the holder.

Place of Origin

London (designed and made)
Hammersmith (made)

Date

1880-1915 (made)

Artist/maker

W.A.S.Benson, Esq., (designer)
W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)
James Powell & Sons (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Copper, brass and opalescent glass

Dimensions

Length: 44 cm, Width: 14 cm without shade, Height: 14.5 cm, Diameter: 12 cm glass shade

Descriptive line

Wall light, single lamp, copper, brass and opalescent glass, London, 1880-1915, made by W.A.S. Benson & Co.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ian Hammerton, ed. W.A.S. Benson, Arts and Crafts Luminary and Pioneer of Modern Design, Woodbridge, Antique Collectors' Club, 2005. ISBN: 1851494766
Shirley Bury, A Craftsman who used the Machine, Country Life, CXXXVII, no.3550, March 18, 1965. pp.624-7.

Materials

Copper; Brass; Glass

Techniques

Stamping; Extrusion; Twisting; Glass blowing

Subjects depicted

Leaves

Categories

Architectural fittings; Lighting; Metalwork

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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