<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Portable light screen.
Great Britain?, mid-19th century.
Physical Description:
1 object ; 36 cm high (fully extended), screen 23 cm in diameter, base 14 x 2 cm, with case 16 x 4 x 2 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
GT445 .P6 Flat
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
A portable shade such as this could be deployed to block 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.
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Portable light screen with circular silk shade, by an unidentified manufacturer. The instrument comprises three parts: [1] a pleated shade, of green silk, measuring 23 cm in diameter when fully opened, the two end-tips of which slide into [2] a brass tube (vertically oriented when the screen is fully assembled); and [3] a horizontal brass piece with clamps at either end, the smaller of which fits to the brass tube, the larger clamp at the other end presumably to be affixed to the base of a candle. All three pieces disassemble so as to be inserted in the two slots of the accompanying paper board case.
Subject Terms:
Artists' tools -- Specimens.
Van Heythuysen, F. M.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.