Argand lamps (pair)
each overall: 7 1/2 x 26 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (19.1 x 67.3 x 36.2 cm)
Pair of cast Sheffield plate Argand lamps; each with a hour-glass shaped pedestal with molded midband ring and cast foliate scrolls applied around the center, a lobed circular foot and a spiral gadrooned rim; each pedestal seated on a square platform with an applied gadrooned edge and four cast hairy paw feet with foliate scroll knees; each pedestal supports a second smaller baluster pedestal with fluting around the lower half and a gadrooned rim; the second pedestals support cylindrical shafts with molded rings; each has two cast arms with acanthus decoration applied to the sides of the shaft; two cylindrical tubes applied to the tops of the arms at the lamp ends; cylindrical lamp shafts applied to the arms vertically; globular reservoirs with ball drops, concave shoulders, applied gadrooned rims and circular perforations in the tops, applied to the bases of the lamp shafts; gadrooned rings around the centers of the shafts hung from circular supports at the tops; circular pedestal applied to the top of each shaft which support the burners; baluster pedestal with a cast foliate scroll base applied to the top of the central shaft; large globular bodies with fluting around the lower halves applied to the tops; bodies with concave shoulders, gadrooned rims and applied fluted domes surmounted by pineapple finials; both rewired for gas; no maker's marks.
In the 1780s, Americans learned of a revolutionary new alternative to candlelight and primitive oil lamps. The Argand lamp, patented in London by Swiss chemist François-Pierre Amié Argand in 1784, produced ten to twelve times more light than a single candle and emitted less smoke and odor than simple oil lamps. This handsome pair of lamps was probably purchased by John Beekman (1768-1843) and Mary Elizabeth Bedlow (1771-1848) of New York in the 1810s. They were converted to gas lamps during the mid-nineteenth century. Once converted, their location had to be fixed, as the lamps were plugged into gas pipes projecting through the wall.
Gift of Effie Beekman Borrowe
Probable descent: John Beekman (1768-1843), who married Mary Elizabeth Bedlow (1771-1848); to their daughter Jane Beekman (1805-1876), who married Dr. Jacob Hallett Borrowe (1808-1873); to their son Samuel Borrowe (1837-1896), who married Euphemia Campbell (1839-1928); to their daughter Effie Beekman Borrowe (1863-1951), the donor.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.