There is a good reason the bell jar lantern has this elegant, timeless quality that works so well in many different spaces. With roots in medieval and Renaissance designs, this lantern has developed into a timeless fixture that’s suited different design fashions for centuries. It could add just the right decorative touch to your property. Below, find out how this home staple has developed from the Dark Ages to contemporary times.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
Weathered light. The bell jar lantern has a design firmly rooted in medieval lighting styles. Evidence of metal used to make the lamps has been documented from the Dark Ages through the Renaissance.
As glass became accessible over time, lamps became popular. Leonardo da Vinci was the first to catch a flame within a glass chimney, that was fitted to a water-filled glass planet.
The proportions and beauty of this bell jar lanterns shown here add just the right amounts of grandeur and scale to this hallway.
Tucker & Marks
Renaissance bell jar lanterns. Before the Renaissance, hanging lamps were carved from wood, brass or silver. Designed mainly in round shapes, they were meant to hold just candles. But soon the glass chimney became the most popular form of pendant lighting. A tin, pewter or brass fixture has been held from the ceiling with a round ceiling plate, hooks and chains. Nonetheless, these lamps were still mainly decorative.
The French-style bell jar lanterns with gilt touches here harmonize well with the other Renaissance-style furniture within this thoughtful setting
Bell jar lanterns in 18th-century England. Most homes in 18th-century England were gloomy and dark, as lighting was either generated by an open fire or candlelight. Candles were an expensive commodity and utilized sparingly, even one of the wealthy.
Bell jar lanterns were often hung in the vestibules and entry halls of Georgian manors, but the candles were lit just when guests were anticipated. The glass bell jar protected the candles from being blown out when the doors opened.
The bell jar lantern with bronze fittings displayed here is the best match for this understated yet timeless foyer.
Jill Shevlin Design
Early-19th-century bell jar lanterns. From the early 19th century, the bell jar lantern could be seen at the foyers of many American colonial houses. The glass cap, known as the smoke bell, has been designed to maintain candle smoke from blackening the home’s ceilings.
Acid etched, opalescent and other innovative finishes could be put on the chimney and smoke bell glass. The color carrier (the straps that go round the chimney glass) often had silver or bronze support patterns with matching hook fittings.
Tim Barber Ltd Architecture
Colonial India bell jar lanterns. In Colonial India the bell jar lantern was called a hundi lantern, and it quickly became a popular fixture. The hand-blown glass has been often coloured, unlike the classic clear or etched glass designs in Britain and the United States.
The ambient light from this milk glass lantern are a delight to amuse in.
Bulhon Design Associates
Modern bell jar lanterns. Many different styles and dimensions of bell jar lanterns are available today. Whether the glass is plain, etched or coloured, or so the fittings are bronze or chrome, these elegant pendants have become a lasting asset in the home.
Inspired by the beauty of the first bell jar bracelets, these replicate figurines have all the advantages of classic lights without the high price tag.