Stock Number: 8079


For sale, antique Victorian light screen from about 1850. The outfit is complete and in very fine condition, and was used to shield one's eyes from direct light such as from a microscope light source illuminating the specimen.


12" (30 cm) circular green silk shade



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Microscopy, Other Technology Antiques


VICTORIAN LIGHT SCREEN, English, c. 1850, signed on silk “C.W. Dixey, Optician to the Queen, 3 New Bond Street, London.” A fine lacquered brass stand supports a 12″ (30 cm) diameter circular green silk shade. All is collapsed for portability; the base swings open with four feet, the pillar opens on two drawtubes to 17′ maximum including its upper swivel joint, and the fan-fold shade opens full-circle from its very compact rectangle. Condition is very fine except the silk is rather weak and splitting a bit, so should not really be forced fully open. The outfit is complete with its original fitted wood case lined in green velvet and white silk, and covered in red Morocco leather, the latter a bit worn. This is a superb “signed” example of Victorian light screen, used to shield one’s eyes from the direct light from a candle, lamp, fireplace, etc. It had many uses, but importantly could shade the microscopist’s eyes from a bright light source illuminating the specimen. The maker, Charles Wastell Dixey, worked c. 1838 – 1862, and held a Royal appointment as “Optician and Mathematical Instrument Maker” to Queen Victoria.

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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at, and can be contacted at [email protected].

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