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Wall light (one of a pair)
  • Wall light (one of a pair)
    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924
  • Enlarge image

Wall light (one of a pair)

  • Place of origin:

    Hammersmith (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1902 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
    W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper, brass and opalescent glass

  • Museum number:

    M.14, A-E,-1979

  • Gallery location:

    20th Century, Room 74, case CA1, box 1 []

William Arthur Smith Benson (1854-1924) became articled to the architect Basil Champneys in 1878 during his last year at Oxford and remained with him until 1880. During this time he shared lodgings with with the painter and etcher, Heywood Sumner, who introduced him to Burne-Jones who in turn introduced him to William Morris. Benson became a close associate of Morris who encouraged him to establish a small workshop for the production of turned metalwork which he did in 1880. However, unlike Morris, Benson fully accepted the implications of mechanical production and designed exclusively for it. He prospered by manufacturing an extensive range of oil and electric light fittings and household utensils in copper, brass and electroplate. Shortly after starting his business, he expanded by building a factory in Hammersmith and in 1887, he opened a shop in Bond Street with the facade designed by himself.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the factory was made over to the production of aircraft parts for the newly formed Royal Flying Corps. At the cessation of hostilities in 1918, Benson never really recovered interest in his original business and on his retirement in 1920, the firm went into voluntary liquidation.

Physical description

Wall light, (one of a pair), the bracket is of stamped copper in the form of a leaf, the branch is a strip of cast brass terminating in a scroll. The light is suspended from the branch by a two strand flex. A circular reflector hood with radiating ridges and a turned over rim surmounts the glass ovoid shade which is contained within a brass, tripod fitting.

Place of Origin

Hammersmith (made)

Date

ca.1902 (made)

Artist/maker

Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Copper, brass and opalescent glass

Dimensions

Height: 31 cm, Width: 36 cm

Historical context note

William Arthur Smith Benson (1854-1924) became articled to the architect Basil Champneys in 1878 during his last year at Oxford and remained with him until 1880. During this time he shared lodgings with with the painter and etcher, Heywood Sumner, who introduced him to Burne-Jones who in turn introduced him to William Morris. Benson became a close associate of Morris who encouraged him to establish a small workshop for the production of turned metalwork which he did in 1880. However, unlike Morris, Benson fully accepted the implications of mechanical production and designed exclusively for it. He prospered by manufacturing an extensive range of oil and electric light fittings and household utensils in copper, brass and electroplate. Shortly after starting his business, he expanded by building a factory in Hammersmith and in 1887, he opened a shop in Bond Street with the facade designed by himself.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the factory was made over to the production of aircraft parts for the newly formed Royal Flying Corps. At the cessation of hostilities in 1918, Benson never really recovered interest in his original business and on his retirement in 1920, the firm went into voluntary liquidation.

Descriptive line

Copper, brass and opalescent glass, designed by W.A.S. Benson and made by Benson & Co., Hammersmith, London, ca.1902.

Materials

Copper; Brass; Glass

Techniques

Stamping; Casting; Glass-blowing

Categories

Lighting; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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