A Unique Mid-20thC Oak & Lucite Illuminated Aquarium c.1950-60

SOLD
Origin: French
Period: Mid-20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950-60
Height: 6.75”
Depth: 4”
Width: 12.25” (all on base)

The unique rectangular lucite block, as an underwater ocean scene, populated with coral, sea horses, starfish and shells, sitting in a drop in oak custom-made base with brass beaded edgings, being under-lit to illuminate the whole, and surviving from mid-century France.

The condition of the whole ensemble is good, with it having been completely and sympathetically rewired and then safety tested. There is a very small chip to one corner of the lucite and a couple of brass beads lacking, with the remains of a green baize to the base. One could experiment with the type of bulb used underneath to create differing effects and colours.

Very much inspired by Dunhill, and originally launched in 1949, the Dunhill Aquarium lighters were hand painted and meticulously carved with nature-inspired motifs, using light to give the impression of fish swimming in a mini tank.

During the early post-war period lucite was eagerly sought and widely used by artists, designers and joailliers thanks to its plasticity. These miniature aquariums were created by using carved and painted lucite panels, these panels would be assembled and applied to the body of a lighter in four sections. This table-top example is a direct inspiration from these creations.

A wonderfully whimsical table-top talking point.

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