Lantern with Counterweight

London, England
Circa 1820

This extremely fine Regency hall lantern with exquisite cutting on the shade retains its original patinated and gilt lacquered finish. A pressed brass band secures the arms holding the chains. The reservoir of the counterweight is filled with a quantity of shot to offset the weight of the lantern. Chains and pulleys ease movement to adjust height and attend to the functioning of the lantern.

Virtually all suspended lamps, chandeliers, and lanterns required counterweights to move the fixture up and down for filling, lighting, extinguishing, and cleaning. With the advent of gas and later, electricity, the converted fixtures were made stationary as they no longer required the up and down movement previously needed. The survival of this original functioning counterweight is remarkable and shows how period lighting would have been originally appointed.

The only other functioning counterweights known to me personally are on a pair of argand chandeliers in the dining room at Hyde Hall, the great neoclassical country mansion designed by architect Philip Hooker, located in Cooperstown, NY.

Brass and glass
Height: 60” Diameter: 11”

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