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Object Record

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Object Name Lamp, Gas
Title Tragedy
Catalog Number 0985.14.00057b
Date September 1818
Description One of a pair of gas lamps consisting of a life-size plaster of Paris female figure on a base. Early Empire period/Adam-style sculpture. The female figure holds in her right hand a glass globe plumbed for gas and wired for electric. Painted to resemble bronze. Torso, legs, and integral base was cast as two semi-hollow pieces. This female figure is known as "Tragedy," and she is holding in her left hand a dagger. She stands in Classical contraposto (weight on left leg, right leg bent). She wears a long chiton with two small button-like pins holding the "sleeve" of the garment together on her left shoulder. A long himation drapes from her right shoulder where it is fixed with a large round fibulae. Her wavy hair is drawn back into a coiling braid at the crown of her head. Her feet are sandaled. Nearly square integral base, with central portion on front bowing outwards. "Tragedy" is associated with the another gas lamp known as "Comedy" (.57a). Signature cast in the plaster reads, "Pub.d Sep.r 26th 1818 / H. Hopper Sculp.r / London".
Dimensions H-66 W-28 inches
Owned John Brockenbrough
Made Humphrey Hopper
Provenance The allegorical figures of Comedy and Tragedy are used in the entrance hallway niches of the Davis Mansion as lighting fixtures, called lamps in the vocabulary of the artist. Hopper was active until the early 1840s, "Comedy" and "Tragedy" began as statues, which were adapted into lighting devices. John Brockenbrough refurbished the house in 1825 and purchased the two figures. He had two special niches created for them in the entrance hallway. They were originally designed to be oil lamps and then plumbed for gas jets in the 1850s.
People Brockenbrough, John L.
Crenshaw, Lewis Dabney
Search Terms Confederate Executive Mansion
Confederate White House
Executive Mansion
White House of the Confederacy
Subjects Lighting