Different Types of Handel Lamps

In 1885, Philip J. Handel founded The Handel Company in Connecticut. He began crafting glass lamps that were a more affordable alternative to Tiffany Studios lamps. By 1902, he had assembled a skilled group of crafters and artists to help him produce the creations.

The World War I era was a significant growth period for his business, as Handel used extensive marketing efforts to introduce new styles of lamps to the market. Unfortunately, The Handel Company struggled to stay afloat when the Great Depression hit and officially closed its doors in 1936.

Today, Handel lamps are highly sought-after in the antique market for their high quality, unique backstory and intricately hand-painted scenes. Discover the different types of Handel lamps and their unique features in this article.

Popular Styles of Handel Lamps

Many people think of Tiffany Studios lamps when it comes to antique glass lamps. However, Handel lamps have also gained momentum in the antique market for their exclusivity, quality and high attention to detail.

There aren't as many Handel lamps available as other brands, which gives them a rarity factor. They're skillfully crafted from high-quality glass, along with a bronze or zinc alloy base. They also use a “reverse” painting technique, which is highly advanced, precise and time-consuming. The artist paints on the back of the glass panel so the viewer can see the scene correctly from the front.

Handel lamps depict ancient ruins, parrots, ships and other intricate designs. There are three main categories of Handel lamps based on their shade structure:

  1. Painted: Reverse-painted and obverse-painted lampshades feature scenes inspired by nature. The most authentic painted lampshades are signed by Handel in dark ink around the bottom of the inside of the shade. There's usually a serial number following the signature. Painted shades are considered the most distinct Handel lamp style.
  2. Teroca: Also referred to as “metal overlay lamps,” Teroca lamps have a stylized metal layer over the glass.
  3. Mosaic: These glass lampshades embrace geometric shapes and colorful designs. Mosaic Handel lampshades were rarely marked, making them difficult to authenticate.

There are various Handel lamp styles that fall into these three categories, which we'll explore below.

1. Table Lamps

The table lamp is the most classic and common Handel lamp style, accommodating nearly any type of room or space. It's typically shy of 2 feet tall and has a shade of about 18 or 16 inches in diameter.

Like other Handel lamp styles, Handel table lamps can fall into any of the above three categories, having a reverse painted shade, mosaic glass style or Teroca overlay. They can feature floral patterns, trees, birds, sunsets, mountains and other scenes of nature, as well as intricate patterns and borders.

2. Boudoir Lamps


Handel's selection of smaller lamps are known as boudoir lamps. The lampshades are typically 7 or 8 inches in size. Their compactness makes them more suitable for smaller furniture and spaces.

The French word boudoir translates to ”a woman's bedroom," “private room” or "dressing room." As the name suggests, boudoir lamps are commonly found on women's nightstands and makeup tables. Most of Handel's boudoir lamps feature delicate reverse paintings of flowers, skies, trees and leaves.

3. Floor Lamps

Handel also created a line of floor lamps, another classic style found in many living rooms, bedrooms and offices. Handel's standing floor lamps are generally 54-57 inches tall. Most of their shades have a distinctive shape that resembles a hanging bell, but you can also find them in other styles.

The shades of Handel standing lamps can feature a variety of designs, from flowers to geometric patterns to classic solid colors.

4. Egg Lamps

As the name suggests, Handel's egg lamps have a pointed oval, egg-like shape. Their appearance doesn't resemble the typical lamp — rather, they're essentially oversized bulbs mounted on wooden bases. They depict scenes of nature in warm tones like yellow, orange and pink. These lamps often come in pairs.

In addition to their bright and warm color schemes, most of Handel's egg lamps feature paintings of birds and trees. They make a charming addition to bedrooms and living rooms.

5. Hanging Globes

Most of Handel's hanging glass globes feature bright colors, painted birds and floral designs. Like egg lamps, hanging glass globes have a more unconventional style that differs from typical table lamps and standing lamps.

As the name implies, these styles are round glass spheres that hang from a chain or wall mount, somewhat resembling a chandelier or disco ball. Handel's hanging glass globes can make an elegant and unique addition to living rooms, foyers and entryways, adding a glowing pop of color to any space they occupy.

6. Piano Lamps

Last but not least, Handel created a diverse line of piano lamps. These are small lamps typically found on desks and pianos. Handel's piano lamp shades can have cylindrical shapes, overlaid harp shapes or horn shapes, commonly featuring floral designs and tranquil painted scenes of skies and trees.

While all Handel lamp styles are highly desired for their rarity, high quality and exquisite colorful designs, it's also important to note that these styles can vary in value. Generally speaking, smaller styles like boudoir lamps, hanging glass globes and piano lamps tend to be lower in value than larger table lamps and standing floor lamps.

Regardless of the style, Handel lamps are a treasure worth searching for if you enjoy collecting antiques. Because of their high exclusivity and desirability, you're most likely to find Handel lamps at auctions.

Buy and Sell Handel Lamps at Fontaine's Auction Gallery

Known for their remarkable beauty, colors, shapes and craftsmanship, Handel lamps continue to captivate antique collectors around the world as they did with the buyers of their time.

If you're wondering where to buy or sell Handel lamps, turn to Fontaine's Auction Gallery. With our comprehensive knowledge of the antique market and international experience, we can help you get the best possible value for your Handel lamp.

We host a variety of auctions featuring gorgeous antiques from exclusive brands. We offer multiple ways for buyers and sellers to participate, whether bidding in person, online or over the phone. If you are searching for an authentic Handel lamp to add to your collection, feel free to check our upcoming auctions.

Whether you're looking to acquire a Handel lamp or pass one on to another antique collector, everyone should have the opportunity to experience the unique beauty of Handel's designs. Sell or purchase an authentic Handel lamp at Fontaine's today.