Rare Half-Giant ‘Aviary’ Dunhill Aquarium
Price Code: SOLD
An ‘Aviary’ themed ‘Aquarium’ lighter in Perspex, the Perspex body with hand-painted panels using the intaglio technique, painted in reverse, the mechanism gold plated, the Perspex body enclosing decoration of, to one side an owl perched on a tree branch, and to the other a pair of small birds, with a background of countryside. Stamped to the base ‘Made in England’, to the lift-arm ‘DUNHILL’.
Dimensions: Length 4 inches (10 cms).
Additional Notes: The ‘Aquarium’ lighters were all designed and hand-made by Ben Shillingford (1904-2000), whose unique skills in designing, carving and hand-painting the Perspex panels could never be equalled. Upon his retirement, the skills necessary to continue to manufacture the ‘Aquarium’ lighter could not be found, and production ceased.
No two ‘Aquarium’ lighters are the same – each is, in its way, a unique work of art. The vast majority, logically, depict aquatic scenes, of either sea-water or fresh-water fish (but never both). A very small number of lighters depict non-aquatic scenes – hunting, horse-racing and aviary subjects in particular.
The ‘Aquarium’ lighter was made in two sizes, the ‘Half-Giant’ and the smaller (and somewhat rarer) ‘Service’ size. They were available in three metal finishes, namely gold-plated, silver-plated and chromium-plated, and all were, of course, fuelled with petrol rather than butane, which came into common usage in the 1960s.
All images and text copyright © Pullman Gallery Ltd. 2021