Bigelow & Kennard Sunflower Table Lamp

Bigelow & Kennard Sunflower Table Lamp

This is a large, elegant, original and very rare Bigelow Kennard of Boston leaded glass and bronze table lamp with all its original signature parts including 280 pieces of carefully chosen glass which have been leaded to form the shade.

It dates from around 1906. This lamp has been in the same family since the fall of 1975 when it was purchased from a fine art antique shop in Chicago.

It is "very rare" because the shade and the base are the original match to one another as shown in a magazine article photo about Bigelow Studios, see below.

Both shade and base are signed.

About the company: The Bigelow Kennard & Co. of Boston was one of the leading merchants of Boston in the 19th and early 20th century, selling very high-quality domestic and imported glass, silver and clocks. John Bigelow founded the firm around 1824 and was soon joined by his brothers, Alanson and Abraham Bigelow. In 1830, they were known as Bigelow Brothers. But when Martin Parry Kennard of Brookline joined the firm around 1846 the company became known as Bigelow Brothers & Kennard until 1863. Then from 1863 to 1972 it was Bigelow Kennard & Co.

Below is a wonderful part of its provenance: An 8-page article on the Bigelow Studios appeared in the “New Series, Volume XLI September 1909 — February, 1910” edition of the "New England Magazine, An Illustrated Monthly." On page 517 there is a photograph that shows this base and finial with this shade. Because this original photo was supplied directly for use explicitly in this article by the Bigelow Studios (as indicated in the caption),
it is positive proof that this lamp’s highly ornate and very substantial base is original to this shade and its finial, and may in fact be a "limited edition" as there are no records to be found of another lamp like this one. It is also fascinating to read the page just for the way they describe the choosing of the individual pieces of glass to go into this very fine lamp shade.

You can download a pdf file of the full issue by clicking on the image, it starts at page 512

The photo caption reads:
The contrast in this
shade between the delicate
petals and the mellow
toned sepals is a notable
example of congruity.
The Standard is of Bronze.
By Permission
Bigelow, Kennard & Co."

Image and article copyright The Open Library, all rights reserved.

Description: This Bigelow Kennard lamp has a domical shade composed of four overlapping tiers of heart and petal-shaped, striated and textured glass leafage shading in hue down through the four tiers. It starts at the top in emerald and ivory bands, grading into deeper emeralds, olives, ecrus, then caramels, and ending in the last tier with touches of swirling ambers and tangerines. These tiers are above the iridescent pearly-white, elongated and relatively smooth petal-shaped glass panels which form the outer and lower edge of the "flower" (it was impossible to photograph the fiery "iridescence" seen in these "petals" when the bulbs are turned on). The shade takes on ever differing hues, as you can see by the changing colors in the photographs of the shade depending upon the light source.

The lamp is raised on the rare, heavily decorated, bronze baluster base with circular foot which is also cast with overlapping leafage and florets, and further raised on eight bronze flattened-ball feet.

The glass used in this shade had to be carefully sorted and precisely hand cut in order to achieve the eye-catching symmetry of both color and design—unlike the florals so often seen in this genre, which for the most part are more randomly cut and chosen. Even the New England Magazine article (mentioned above), talks about the craft person's expertise necessary in choosing just the right piece and cut of glass when producing this lamp's shade.

Condition: It is in excellent and fully functioning condition. The glass is all original and there are no chips, replacements or repairs. After very careful inspection under magnification, only two small tight hairlines (indicated in the last photo by two white arrows) can be found. The one at left is approximately 1.5 centimeters and the one at right is approximately 2.5 centimeters. The three Harvey Hubbell Inc. sockets are original and have their classic acorn pulls intact.

Authentication: This lamp was authenticated and documented by Sotheby's, Inc. New York, over 23 years ago in 1991.

The engraved markings on the lamp and shade are as follows:

On the shade: Bigelow Studios
On the base: Bigelow Studios Bigelow Kennard & Co. Boston

On the sockets: Harvey Hubbell Inc.
Pat'd Aug 1 '96
May 8 '00
July 30 '01
Feb 6 '02
250 V 50 C.P.

Dimensions and weight:
* Full height: 23-1/4"
* Shade diameter: 18"
* Finial diameter: 4-1/2"
* Base height: 22"
* Shade height without finial: 6-1/2"
* Base diameter: 7-3/4"
* Base weight: 10.2 lbs.
* Shade weight: 7.8 lbs.
* Total weight: 18 lbs.