The Troika Tin Mine lamp base is an excellent example of the unique blend of design, functionality, and storytelling created by the Troika pottery in the 1970s. Born amidst the winds of cultural and artistic revolution, this artifact serves as a symbolic representation of Cornwall’s rich industrial heritage. Troika, founded in 1963 in St. Ives, Cornwall, and later moved to Newlyn, became renowned for its distinctive and abstract ceramics. The company’s creations were distinguished by their innovative designs and a unique textural play that pushed the boundaries of contemporary ceramics. We take a look at some Troika Tin Mine lamp bases along with a realised auction price guide and value guide.
In the 1970s, Troika introduced the Tin Mine lamp base, one of the brand’s most captivating and significant creations. It was modelled by Leslie Illsley one of the companies three founder. Reflecting the influence of Cornwall’s landscape and history, this lamp base was shaped to resemble a tin mine engine house, a common sight dotting the Cornish landscape. These engine houses were relics of Cornwall’s industrial past, and their stylized representation in Troika’s lamp base served as a reminder of this history while simultaneously creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing home decor.
Models can be seen featuring the lamp fixture itself and also with the lamp setting removed. I quite like the model without the lamp. Very few of the examples we have seen sell at auction include a shade. Decorators of the pieces include Louise Jinks, Jane Fitzgerald and Alison Brigden. Colours on the models vary from brown ochres to blues and greys.
The Tin Mine lamp base was typically made from textured clay, intricately hand-painted and glazed to deliver a rustic yet modern appeal. The architectural design was fused with abstract decorative patterns that encapsulated Troika’s distinctive style. The tactile, rugged surface, rich with geometric motifs, and the subdued color palette further accentuated the stark beauty of the design, while creating a sense of depth and dimension.
This lamp base is not just a functional artifact, but also a compelling narrative of the region’s industrial heritage, expressed through Troika’s avant-garde artistic vision. The Troika Tin Mine lamp base is thus a testament to the creative energy and innovative spirit that flourished in the 1970s, offering a remarkable intersection of art, history, and design.