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Tin Sconce

ca.1750-1850
Origin: America
Height: 16 1/2" Width:6 3/4" Depth: 4 3/4"
Tinned sheet iron, iron wire and solder
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1952-18
Tinned sheet iron wall sconce composed of four components including a crimped, forward-arched back plate with a suspension hole at the center, wired sides, and three bands of swedged triple-beads. Back plate made from two pieces of tin, joined with a soldered horizontal lock seam. Its semicircular bottom plate has a turned edge where it is soldered to the wire-edged side wall. An open candle socket with a folded lip is soldered to the center of the bottom.
Label:Though dark and dull now, this sconce was brilliant and silvery when new. In an age illuminated by candlelight, the "tin" sconce was superior to other sorts of candle holders in certain applications. Quick to make and inexpensive to purchase, such a sconce could rest on a table as easily as it could be hung on a wall. Its tall back plate served two purposes: it simultaneously protected the wall from the flame and soot of the candle and reflected light back into the room it was brightening. Even the decorative features of this sconce served purposes. The forward curving top of the back plate, with its fancy crimped edge, would have directed light downward, and the swaged in beads would have added rigidity to the piece.
Provenance:Vendor: Miss Helena Penrose, New York