This is a "lithophane"; a thin translucent porcelain night light, made using a lost art from the 1800's. When lit from behind, the light shining through the different thicknesses of the carving causes a highly detailed image to appear in front, almost magically. As you see, the illuminated image is so detailed, that it has a totally photographic quality to it! In addition, the relief of the carving gives the image a 3 dimensional quality when seen in person. To make them, we start by carving the image in a translucent wax, with the wax lit from behind. We then take a plaster mold of this engraving, and we then cast a fine porcelain clay into this mold. We then kiln fire the porcelain to 2300 degrees F. to achieve it's translucency and durability. Lithophanes were invented in France in 1827, and were popular throughout Europe till the early 1900's. They mysteriously faded from popularity with the advent of electricity, which is ironic as they look way better with electric light than candles. We first started making them 32 years ago by reproducing the antique ones. We eventually learned how to engrave our own originals, and this has been our specialty ever since. Our lithophanes truly make for a beautiful and practical piece of art that you will use daily for year after year!
Many years ago, we were commissioned by Disney to make a series of images in porcelain. The order was placed, I made the engravings and molds, and we started production. Then, the buyer that ordered those pieces lost their position, and the new buyer cancelled the order. The pieces languished in our archives ever since. In Jan of 2024, the copyright on Steamboat Willie expired, and we are now free to legitimately offer this amazing night light to the public. From the very first motion picture featuring the original character who was later to evolve into Micky Mouse. Adorable.