THE ART OF LIGHT
Those of you who know me will know that for me getting the lighting correct in your home is one of the most important things, there really is nothing worse than entering a room and being blinded by a 5,000 watt light bulb encased in a pathetic looking shade coated in a fine layer of dust and a token drape of an arachnids web. Not so long ago after meeting with a wonderful PR for breakfast I was introduced to Pooky and I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life. I’m the table lamps biggest fan whether it be a contemporary affair or something a bit more traditional, the warm glow created in various corners of a room by lamp’s is not only far more attractive but a definite mood enhancer.
Pooky is the go to for anyone looking for some inspiration when it comes to lighting, whether you’re looking for the perfect ceiling light, table lamp or lamp shade this is the only online retailer you will need to visit. Pooky very kindly sent me one of their new linen Ikat shades to perk up my bedside table lamps, an update on the classic hand woven design the iconic Ikat pattern has been recreated on the finest soft, natural linen using advanced digital technology to ensure the pattern is defined and colour vibrant. The shade is beautifully lined adding another element of quality and craftsmanship key to the brands ethos, available in an empire or straight empire style in various sizes as well as three solid dyes, black, Eau de Nil and orange, however if you’re looking for something a bit more exotic why not go for the multi colour ‘Heraldic’ print, definitely a style that will get your neighbours talking.
Continuing on from my great love affair with lamps I started to look at how lighting has been portrayed in paintings by some of the worlds most prolific artists, when looking online I came across some of my favourite names in art who have painted interiors featuring an array of beautiful lamps. I had to start with one of my favourites Edouard Vuillard and his portrait of Madame Fernand Javal The“Voiles de Genes” Boudoir, 1931. Madame Fernand Javal can be seen on the far left flanked by two imposing table lamps with grand pleated shades exuding a warm, strong glow of light enhancing specific areas of the painting, the painting’s subject is portrayed in the lower left corner and is surrounded by a shadow whilst reclining on her day bed, dressed in black you’re automatically drawn to this mysterious elegant figure a technique that appears to be a deliberate act by the artist.
Shadow created by a bright light coming from a simple table lamp is also the key focus in Edgar Degas’s controversial painting ‘L’interieur’ (Le Viol) 1868-1869, a woman is sat cowering on the far left of the painting anointed with the bright glow of the lamp whilst a dark figure backed by giant sinister shadow watches over , it is only the bright light coming from the lamp that separates them, acting as a form of protection or maybe a symbol of hope. This painting has confused art histiorians as during this period Degas was know for using literary influences in his work, however no story has been attributed to L’interieur, it has been widely agreed that perhaps the painting is a scene from Emile Zola’s novel ‘Therese Raquin’.
Lighting portrayed in painting isn’t always attributed to a sinister subject, in John Singer Sargent’s painting ‘A Dinner Table at Night’ (1884) three red pleated lamp shade clad lamps / candlesticks give off a subtle if not slightly sexual glow enhanced by the rich red tones of the walls and dark wood furniture. The three lamps surround the paintings key subject, a woman in evening dress anointed with diamonds whilst facing the onlooker face on, it is a painting that exudes confidence and romance, whether or not the romance is clandestine or not we do not know, could the three lamps represent a love triangle or does Sargent paint them simplly to create a work with a strong atmospheric presence.
Claude Monet is famous for his technique in replicating light in his works, a talent that is seen in many of his paintings but especially his watrelillies series where water is used to reflect natural light to give the onlooker a sense of serenity and calm. Monet’s ‘Interior, after dinner’ (1868/1869) is an interior scene quite simple in composition but dominated by a hanging ceiling light that casts a significant light over a dining table with three sitters huddled together on the far right, this appears to be where everything is happening as to the far left of the work the room is cloaked in darkness. The lamp is painted with a yellowish white paint, deifnately the brightest hue’s used in the painting, compared to Sargent’s ‘A Dinner Table at Night’ this scene feels much more like a casual affair where every day after dinner activities include coffee, embroidery and conversation before retiring of an evening.
You see it isn’t just me that worries about the importance of lighting, artists and interior designers the world over strive to create spaces or works that have impact on the way we live our everyday lives and nothing can change a person’s mood more than light, too bright and it can feel tense and stressful whilst too dark and a depression sets in, take my advice and spend some time in your personal spaces and experiment with lighting, if you feel that you may need to invest in a new light or shade then look no further than Pooky 020 7351 3003.