Pendant 3-Light Lacquered Brass Argand Chandelier


Labeled: Bright & Co./Late/ ARGAND & Co. / BRUTON St.

London, 1825-1830


The matte and burnished lacquered brass cylindrical oil font suspended from a brass loop and hook, with three fuel arms each with burner tubes with drip cups, the font with a pendant ball finial.


Condition:  Excellent; patination restored, electrified, glass chimneys replaced.


This fixture is closely related to one in a  c.1784 design by Penton & Co. New Street Square, London, that is held within a large hexagonal lantern.[1]  George Penton was a London brass founder who was closely involved with Ami Argand and the development of the Argand lamp in England in the 1780s and 1790s and was the first manufacturer of Argand's lamps in England.  Argand's partnership with Elgar, Argand & Elgar, operated from the shop in Bruton Street, London, as early as 1792.


Geneva-born philosopher and inventor Francois-Pierre-Ami Argand (1750-1803), finally received a British patent for his lamps developed a few years earlier in Paris on March 15th, 1784 (patent no. 1425).  His invention which promised "a lamp that is so constructed to produce neither smoak [sic.] nor smell, and to give considerably more light than any lamp hitherto known" consisted of a tubular wick held between metal tubes, a rack and pinion wick riser assembly and a tall, narrow chimney that fit closely around the wick causing air to be drawn up through the center of the flame as well as around its outside creating more thorough combustion.  It was designed to burn rape-seed (colza) and whale oil, issuing from an oil reserve or “font” positioned so that the oil would flow from the force of gravity to the burner. 


This invention, developed initially with Matthew Bolton, Penton  and James Watt in England, was subsequently manufactured by a host of makers in Birmingham including Messenger, Johnston-Brookes (successors to George Penton), Phipson & Lambley, Fletcher & Day and J. & C. Ratcliff.  Hailed by Rees in his encyclopedia of 1819 The Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature saying "it may be justly ranked among the greatest discoveries of the age" and by Benjamin Franklin who noted it was "much admired for its splendor."  Thomas Jefferson enthusiastically bought several sets for himself, James Madison and Charles Thompson writing to Madison in November of 1784 that they "give a light equal to six to eight candles" with a "very small consumption of oil."[2]  Argand's invention was the most important advancement in home lighting since the discovery of fire.


[1] Country House Lighting, Temple Newsam Country House Studies #4 (Leeds: Leeds City Art Galleries, 1992), pl. 56.  The pen and ink original is from the Leeds City Art Gallery, courtesy of the Burton Constable Foundation, Yorkshire.

[2] John J. Wolf, Brandy, Balloons, & Lamps: Ami Argand, 1750-1803 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999), 43-46.

Dealer Carswell Rush Berlin, Inc.
Date: 1825-30
Origin London, England
Artist/Maker Bright & Company
Measurements H: 15" Diameter 10"
Inventory View Dealer's Inventory
Contact Carswell R. Berlin, 646-645-0404 or

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