This lamp is one of a small group typified by the elegant shape, an overall design with little or no inscriptions, a relatively restrained palette, and with panels frequently contained within white strapwork. Within the group, the present example is one of the smaller lamps. Vienna (G. Schmoranz, Old oriental gilt and enamelled glass vessels, English Version, Vienna and London, 1899, pl. X). Another very similar example, in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, also shares with this lamp the two bands of red on the interior above and below the flaring mouth (G. Wiet, Catalogue général du musée arabe du Caire, Lampes et bouteilles en verre émaillé, Cairo, 1929, no. 272, pl. XXIV). This together with a few more comparable examples are documented as having been brought to the museum from the mosque of Sultan Hasan. One of the others (G. Wiet, op.cit., no. 271, pl. XXIII) bears the name of Sultan Hasan, making the attribution certain.
The lamps in the Islamic Museum in Cairo were all taken from the madrasa of Sultan Hasan which was completed in 1362-3. The number of lamps in the museum from this foundation is a reflection of the great scale and prominence of this complex. Built in the most prominent location just below the Ayyubid citadel, it is built on an enormous scale which dominates the surrounding buildings. Of the eight sons of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad who inherited the throne, he is by far the most prominent, and inherited his father's love of commissioning grand projects. The work on the majority of the lamps commissioned by him, like that of the present lamp, does not however reach the finesse of the pieces commissioned during his father's long reign. The slow gradual economic decline of the country in the 13th Century could be one reason for this. What was however a more pressing reason is that these lamps were never to be seen from close-up; there was therefore no reason to decorate them to the same standard of execution as the secular vessels. What was important was the strength of the design and the brilliant colours used, the very thin gilding over much of the clear glass still allowing the light to pass.
A further example, with features which relate it to this group, smaller in size than the present lamp, was originally from the Collection of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, sold in these Rooms 3 July 1996, lot 24.