A very good silver travel or carriage lamp by Thomas Johnson.
As with most English travel and campaign pieces, the design is ingenious, the purpose being to create a completely practical item that will withstand the rigors of travel in nineteenth century conditions.
To our knowledge Thomas Johnson was the only silversmith to produce this design although similar examples are known by Miller and Sons in brass.
To use this candlelamp, the lid is lifted, and the doors opened to reveal the candle encased in a silver shaft that doubles as an extension stand. The base can be extended down and secured by a bayonet fitting for stability.
Beneath the doors and heat grill is positioned a vesta case and the underside of the base is serrated so matches may be struck to light the candles.
The base unscrews so the candle may be inserted and the candle, as it burns, is continually raised by a spring action.
To add to the lamp’s utility, the lid contains a hinged double hook, and a further hinged double hook is concealed in the back so that the lamp may be hung within a tent of carriage.
The lamp is hall marked throughout and is also stamped to the underside of the lid “Thornhill 144 Bond St” with a crown. Walter Thornhill, originally founded in 1734 and dealing from Bond Street and High Street Kensington were high quality retailers to the carriage trade and would have supplied this piece to a prominent family.
Each door to the lamp is engraved with a crest denoting the male and female lineage of the family and although the family remains unidentified the prominence of the family is a further mark of quality.
London, England 1864