Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bouillotte Lamps




My latest "have to have it" accessory is a bouillotte lamp. Yes, they are very traditional, but for some reason they seem rather fresh right now. Bouillotte lamps originated in late 18th c./ early 19th c. France for use during games of bouillotte, which was similar to modern Poker. Bouillotte lamps traditionally have dish type bases which were used to hold the game chips. Attached to the base is a shaft which holds two to four candleholders as well as a metal shade. At the top of the shaft is a screw type key, which allows one to move the shade down as the candles melt down. The idea was to avoid any type of glare in the eyes of the bouillotte players. Of course, if you have an electrified version, you won't need to move the shade, but the design is the same. What also makes this lamp so distinctive is the tole lampshade. On those lamps that have two candleholders, the shade is rather elongated, but on the three to four-arm lamps, the shade tends to be more conical.



A classic two-arm bouillotte lamp from Circa Lighting


A sophisticated version of the bouillotte- late 19th c./early 20th c. pair of French bronze lamps at Gray Morell


Elegant, polished silver four-arm lamp from Visual Comfort; at Neena's Lighting


The bouillotte design used for a hanging fixture. A 1930's two-arm fixture at Brunelli Designs.



Bouillotte lamp (on bookshelf) in the apartment of Christopher Spitzmiller

Photo at top: Bouillotte lamp in bedroom of Mary McDonald (House & Garden, Nov. 2001)

12 comments:

  1. I love these lamps! Thanks for providing the name and definition. I've only seen them referred to as tole lamps, which I used in a clients home last year. It was, as you said, traditional, yet somehow fresh, with the tole shade painted yellow and gold stripes!

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  2. Linda- That shade sounds great! I love that the shades are just an added decoration.

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  3. Love the one at the top! Pretty for a dressing table.

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  4. love the samples you posted here!

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  5. ladyjicky8:02 PM

    I too love these lamps. I have seen them with two little vases on the side for flowers. Pretty.

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  6. Lady- The vases with the flowers sounds quite pretty!

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  7. I went to highschool with Chris Spitzmiller, not only is he a great designer, but a great and funny guy!

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  8. J's Crew- All that and handsome too?

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  9. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Aye, I am madly in love with that yellow! Tried to mimic it in my entrance hall and ended up with a sad ochre instead. Can any of you suggest a paint colour that would come close to that? Yum!

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  10. Anonymous- According to the article, the custom shade was very similar to a yolk color- I think it took many tries to perfect the color. Can anyone help? I was looking at my Farrow & Ball fan deck- there is a color called "Babouche" (223) that is a little yolky looking, but I can't attest to the way it looks on a wall. Let's see if we can come up with something!

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  11. I have that first picture on my site ! (but way after you! ) I'll go and add you as a link as well on that picture now!

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  12. Anonymous1:32 PM

    The walls most likely have a glaze over them. They look bright but not shockking if that makes sense. Most likely an Hermes orange with a brown glaze.

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