As this lamp had no handle it was either carried in the palm of the hand, or else the tubular pillar in the centre of the oil reservoir provided a convenient rest for the finger and thumb to avoid the heat of the flame and warmed oil. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the spike of a candelabrum was placed inside the central pillar to hold the lamp in place on its stand.
Olive oil was poured into the hollow interior and acted as fuel for the wick, which was held in place by the projecting nozzle. The lamps in this catalogue were all thrown on the wheel. It wasn’t until c.300BC that lamps were being produced from moulds, en masse; a far less time consuming process.
Louis-Gabriel Bellon (1819–1899), France; inventory number 257
Private collection, France; by descent from the above
Private collection of a Sheikh; acquired 2009
Compare Florian S. Knauss and Jörg Gebauer, Black is Beautiful, Griechische Glanztonkeramik (Munich, 2019), p.14, fig.1.5. Also an example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no. 38.20 and another inCorpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Elvissa Musée 1, pl.18, no.3