This example is a fake, a modern table lamp that simulates the look of early 20th century decorative table lamps with reverse painted glass shades. 'Reverse painted' means decoration applied to the inside surface of the shade. Originally reverse painted lamps made by companies such as Pairpoint, Jefferson and Handel were expensive due to all the handiwork involved to produce them. After collectors rediscovered their charms later in modern times, values for examples in original condition skyrocketed. Not surprisingly it didn't take long for reproductions to begin to arrive from reproduction sources. Some examples made in China are even hand painted, like the originals they mimic.
The design of the new shade shown here is of flowers and butterflies in blue, brown and red tones. The decoration is very attractive but it has neither the quality or qualities of an old original. Old authentic reverse painted shades were typically produced by makers of very high quality consumer goods. All aspects of their production should be illustrative of that fact, if authentic. For instance, designs were always carefully painted and even today after many decades of use they still exhibit distinctive, fine detail. The outer surface of most original reverse painted shades was textured in some way. For lamps made by the Handel company, for instance, look for a 'chipped ice' effect. In contrast, almost all new reverse painted shades have a smooth, modern exterior surface.
This shade sits on an unmarked metal base with an old-style 3 bulb socket arrangement and pull chains. The color and style of the base makes it seem to be old, too, if you do not look to closely. In reality it has no 'patina' but only a dark surface treatment applied at the factory. Even if they know this lamp is new (perhaps because they bought it directly from a wholesale source of new items) it won't stop some dealers from suggesting it might be 'antique' in age. Some may explain away parts of a piece like this that look modern by saying it has been refurbished or 'rewired,' a state often deemed acceptable by collectors who typically prefer to actually use vintage lamps in their collection. Always be sure to examine detail and components that always should have remained present on a lamp when considering whether or not it is authentic and old, or not. To do this there is a need to know what is 'right' about a lamp shade or base, and what is not. A reputable dealer will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have in that regard.
Measures 24 1/2 inches tall, with a shade diameter of approximately 16 inches, but expect a wide variety of sizes may be available from modern wholesale sources.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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