9th Apr, 2024 14:00

Design & Modern Contemporary

  Lot 18

Preview: Barley Mow Centre

ALFRED DUNHILL (BRITISH 1872-1959): A 'Fox Hunting' Aquarium table lighter, circa 1950s, four lucite panels, each deeply engraved in reverse intaglio technique and hand-painted to create a three-dimensional effect, the front panel depicting a hound at the scent and a mounted huntsman, the reverse with a mounted huntsman in a rural landscape, base stamped ‘DUNHILL LIGHTER’.

8 h x 10 w x 5 d cm

Notes: Dunhill Aquarium Lighters are miniature works of art that first appeared in 1949 and were made until 1959. They were a luxury functional object aimed at the wealthy and notable owners and collectors of Dunhill Aquarium Lighters were Sir Winston Churchill, the IT couple of post-war Britain Norah Docker and husband Sir Bernard and most recently Timothy Oulton.

The lighters were made from lucite, characterized by its transparency, durability, and resistance to yellowing. The panels that formed the lighters were hand carved with reverse intaglios using dentist tools and drills.

The panels were then painted and applied to the lighters’ bodies in four distinct sections. All the lighters were hand carved and painted so each one is unique. The main artist on many of the early lighters was Ben Shillingford, and later the husband and wife team of Margaret and Allan Bennett. They worked out of their home on the south coast, and were soon producing about a dozen lighters a week. Margaret would send her watercolour and pencil designs to Dunhill for approval, and Allan would then use dentist tools to carve the design, which Margaret would then paint.

The vast majority of designs featured either fresh or salt water fish (never mixing the two), but this example is a rare exception, and is therefore highly collectable.

Sold for £16,875

Includes Buyer's Premium


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