George and Martha Washington Lamps - A History
By Jim Hoyle
Sorry, but these lamps really have little to do with George and Martha Washington except for their fashion of clothing and dress.
Most George and Martha Washington lamps were made of porcelain circa 1940. They were commonly made with real 22 K gold trim. Try as much as you like but you can never duplicate the gold color trim used in these beautiful porcelain lamps unless you use real gold.
Although commonly called George and Martha Washington lamps, the decorative figures adorning these porcelain lamps actually represent wealthy members of the court of French King Louis XV around 1765.
The decorative figures are usually in various states of romance, picnics,dancing, poetry, singing, etc. The original paintings on many of these lamps were originally from the French artist Jean- Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). Fragonard was well known for his very lewd and hedonistic art that was highly sought after by wealthy art patrons of Louis XV's morally loose and fun loving court. George and Martha lamp decorations represent Fragonard's much more reserved paintings.
George and Martha Washington lamps are no longer being produced and the value of these vintage lamps continue to rise.
George Washington lived from 1732- 1799 so he was alive when the original designs were created for these beautiful lamps in France.
In 1775, the Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces. He was later elected president in 1789 but George and Martha Washington had nothing to do with these lamps except they both had a similar fashion of dressing which was also common in France during that period.
- Jim Hoyle