Dear Helaine and Joe:
I have a vintage television lamp that depicts a ballerina on a marble base with a glass globe on a stand over a lightbulb. The only marking I see indicates it was made by Murano Glass in Italy. It still works. What can you tell me about it?
Thanks for your time,
We are old enough to remember the days when televisions were new in most homes. We were fascinated by Roy Rogers and Howdy Doody, but our parents were a little unsure about the new technology and insisted we would damage our eyes if we watched too close to the glowing tube or in the dark.
This resulted in television lamps, which had fairly small bulbs and were often shaped like animals or people. Today, these are rather collectible, but we do not believe the lamp in today’s question was originally intended to be a television lamp.
Science took a long road to arrive at the televisions that were available for home use in the 1950s. We have seen timelines that actually start in the 1830s and wind their torturous way to televising the New York World’s Fair in 1939. After the end of World War II, an increasing number of us found ourselves glued to the living room television.
Most television lamps were products of the 1950s and ’60s, but we believe the example from D.V. is somewhat earlier and was initially used as a boudoir lamp. Many people would look at this and call it an art deco lamp with a dancing harlequin either kicking a ball or playing with the moon.
We feel the piece may be from as early as the late 1920s, but early to mid-1930s is probably more accurate. We have seen this exact lamp with a different paint job offered for sale with the glass ball identified as having been made by the Pairpoint Glass Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts, but D.V.’s example proves this to be incorrect.
The bubbled glass sphere was manufactured on the Venetian Island of Murano, but the rest of the lamp was probably made elsewhere. The other example of the lamp we have seen has paint that appears to be a verdigris green with brown outlines. Examining the photographs sent by D.V., the paint seems to be original, except we do find the blue eyes to be a bit spooky.
The metal used to make the piece is described as being “bronze,” but we would not be surprised if it turned out to be bronzed pot metal. In any event, art deco boudoir lamps such as this one are in demand, and this one should be valued for insurance purposes in the $500 to $650 range.