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Portable light screen.

Great Britain?, 19th century.
Physical Description:
1 object ; 62 cm high (fully extended), base 13 x 13 cm, in case 18 x 7 x 3 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
TT897 .P67 Flat
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
The shade could be deployed to block any excess light, indoors or outdoors. In 1820, Frederick Mighells van Heythuysen (of Sidmouth Street, London) filed a patent for a device of similar design. It is described as a "method of making portable machines or instruments to be placed upon a desk or table, and so contrived as to fold or not into a small compass ... to support a silken shade, for the purpose of protecting the eyes from a strong light; added to which is a green, blue, or other coloured glass, in a frame, and in such a position, that, when placed opposite a window, lamp or candle, it will take off the glare of white paper, by shedding a green or blue, or any other tinge dependant upon the colour of the glass reflector, upon the book or paper placed within the bounds of its shadow, so that print, however small, or writing, is rendered more plain and legible, by reason of the glare being thus taken off the white paper, and particularly by candle-light ..." See: The repertory of patent inventions, second series, vol. 39 (1821), p. 271. The patentee is presumably one and the same with Frederick Miles van Heythuysen, barrister-at-law and author of several legal writings, ca. 1812 to 1816.
A device nearly identical in form is known to have been manufactured in the mid-19th century by C.W. Dixey, Optician to the Queen, 3 New Bond Street, London.
Portable light screen with circular silk shade, by an unidentified manufacturer. The instrument comprises three parts: a brass cross-shaped base; a telescoping drawtube that may be adjusted to varying heights; and a pleated shade, of green silk, measuring 21 cm in diameter when fully opened. All three pieces disassemble and collapse so as to be easily inserted in the three slots provided in the contemporary case, lined in purple velvet.
Subject Terms:
Artists' tools -- Specimens.
Dixey, Charles Wastell.
Van Heythuysen, F. M.

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