Site display: Normal | Text Only

My Collection | About Us | Teachers

Find objects

Select from more than one or two options below:

Objects search

Can't find what you're looking for? Try the search below.


Night lights are used to provide comfort to children who are trying to get to sleep but are afraid of the dark. They were sometimes used in children’s wards in hospitals. This example is made of black painted tin with a gilt design. When a candle is placed in the centre of the night light scenes of mothers and children can be seen. The scenes are made using a technique called lithophane, in which a porcelain panel has a scene moulded in relief which is only visible when held against a strong light such as a candle. The technique was invented by a German diplomat, Baron Paul Charles de Bourgoing (1791-1864), in 1827.

Object number:


Related Themes and Topics


Related links

Techniques and Technologies:


Glossary: night light

Small lamps intended for use in the bedroom or sickroom. Originally glass float lamps; also includes miniature, especially glass, oil and kerosene lamps of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Glossary: nursing

The study and practice of caring for and waiting on the sick, injured, or others unable to look after themselves or to deal with their specific medical needs.