This Japanese ceramic vase has been used as a kerosene lamp base since the brass Bradley and Hubbard burner was attached in the 1890s. The enameled vase must have been hand thrown sometime shortly after 1891. The McKinley Tariff took effect March 1,1891 and required that all imported goods be marked in English with their country of origin. In this instance a paper label was affixed to the bottom; later imports would have a painted or impressed “Made in Japan” mark.
The lamp was in constant use by the Radcliffe-Whitehead family from the time of its purchase for lighting the family estate in Montecito, California, “Arcady” until 1976 when Peter Whitehead died at “White Pines” on the campus of the Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony.
The vase makes it easy to see where Americans art potteries like Rookwood got inspiration for their earliest productions. The prunus blossoms were painted in raised enamel over a brown shaded background and a gold luster over-glaze was dusted over the surface.
The Bradley and Hubbard “Duplex” burner is original to the lamp.