EDWARDIAN LIGHTING – DOWNTON ABBEY STYLE
The hugely popular ‘Downton Abbey’ TV series ran from 2010 to 2015. Viewers eagerly tuned in to watch the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants unfold in Edwardian and post Edwardian Britain. This era also saw great advances in the world of lighting with the introduction of new electric lighting. Homes gradually moved away from oil lamps and gas lighting to embrace this new, cleaner electric light. However, at the time, not everyone was initially convinced by electric lighting. This wonderful quote from Downton Abbey’s Dowager Duchess, played so brilliantly by Dame Maggie Smith, shows there were some misgivings – ‘I couldn’t have electricity in the house. I wouldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapours floating about.’
After a gap of some 5 years, fans are eagerly awaiting the next chapter in ‘upstairs and downstairs’ saga when Downton Abbey the movie hits the Big Screen on 13 September 2019. Much of the original series, and the new movie, was filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, home to the real Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. In addition to the iconic exterior, the grand hallway, drawing room, library, music room, dining room and several of the bedrooms were used for filming.
Although the reign of King Edward VII lasted for only 9 years, from 1901 to 1910, it is generally accepted that influences of the ‘Edwardian Era’ continued well into the 1920’s.
The Edwardian style was a breath of fresh air with a light, new look incorporating floral patterns and pastel colours. This was in huge contrast to the heavy, dark colours of the earlier Victorian period. This typical Edwardian sitting room is at Polesden Lacey in Surrey, one of the National Trust’s most popular properties.
At the beginning of the Edwardian Era most homes still relied on gas lighting, oil lamps and candles and it was not until after World War 1 that electric lighting became more widespread. The Victorian/Edwardian kitchen shown here clearly shows the gas pipes supplying the two upward facing lights. Mrs Patmore would certainly be very much at home here!
Reproduction Oil Lamps
Both of the two reproduction oil lights, shown above, are from our Heritage Lighting Collection and made in solid brass. The oil lamp ceiling pendant, on the left, is based on an original lamp made in New York by Armspear Manufacturing. Lamps like this were used extensively throughout the US after the American Civil War. It is shown in the distressed antique finish which mellows over time much as the original fitting would have done.
The Captain’s wall light, on the right, was copied from an original oil lamp wall light from an early 20th century paddle steamer. Shown in the lacquered polished brass finish which will simply need the occasional clean with a damp cloth to keep it looking at good as new. Both these lights have all the authentic features of traditional oil lamps yet with the benefit of modern electric light and are available to buy from Bespoke Lights in a choice of finishes.
Combined with flourishing British manufacturing and engineering industries, electric lighting took off in a big way. Many magnificent high quality fittings were manufactured for use with this new form of lighting. Gone were all the safety restrictions imposed by gas lighting. Lights and shades could now face up or down or even be angled. They could be combined with pretty fabric lampshades often embellished with frills and tassels. Edwardian lighting was the perfect marriage of style and design and here are just a few of our favourite reproduction Edwardian light fittings.
Edwardian Ceiling and Wall Lights
Using premium quality materials in a decorative and stylish design, the Clarissa ceiling lights and matching double wall light are just perfect for Edwardian interiors. The dark gold metalwork with its ornate spun central sections and square edged arms give a dimensional feel to these delightful light fittings. The smaller 3 light version can be fitted with the chain provided or converted to a flush ceiling light for rooms with a lower height ceiling All the fittings are dressed with champagne glass beads to add a delicate feminine look and supplied complete with the shades. The range also includes 5 and 9 light ceiling lights. Click here to see the whole range
A beautiful collection of ceiling lights with a matching wall light that have a romantic Edwardian feel with just a hint of contemporary styling. They have imperial silver metalwork, sheer organza shades trimmed in dark grey for a sophisticated appearance and are finally dressed with crystal bead chain and faceted crystal droplets. Tasteful and serene with a monochrome look that is easy to place.
The comprehensive Plantation collection features a unique pineapple design that sits well in Edwardian homes. The exotic pineapple was used as a symbol of welcome in times past and was used on many decorative objects around the home. All the fittings are manufactured in cast brass and available in either a pearl bronze or a polished antique nickel finish. The collection includes flush fitting and multiple arm ceiling lights along with single hanging pendants and even a bathroom wall light. To see all the range click here.
Edwardian entrance hallways were usually the first area any visitors would see and it was important to create an unforgettable first impression. Hallways in Edwardian houses were often impressive spaces that required an equally impressive hall lantern.
In an unusual cylindrical design, the Winchester hall lanterns are available to order in three finishes – polished brass, chrome and antique brass. They make wonderful light for entrance hallways and stairwells. Featuring blown glass and two candle style lights.
Our Cambridge range is a comprehensive collection that includes hand made ceiling lights, chandeliers, wall lights and lanterns in solid brass with a highly polished gold finish. You will seldom find lighting of this quality as they are all hand crafted using the finest materials. The two inverted hanging lanterns shown have long chains and would work well in Edwardian stairwells whilst the flush fitting would be the ideal choice for entrance halls with a lower height ceiling. They all feature clear optic glass. If you would like to see the rest of the lights in this collection just click here.
Yarmouth Lanterns and Wall Lights
The Yarmouth lanterns and matching wall lights are new additions to our on-line shop. They offer an elegant interpretation of traditional style lanterns with open glass free frames in an antique brass finish. Frames are graciously curved with the narrow edge facing outwards creating an attractive silhouette. Wonderful for a casual inviting look in traditional Edwardian entrance halls.
With the introduction of electric lighting to homes in the Edwardian era, light fittings became more stylish. Designs were influenced by both the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements. Both these lighting styles were popular during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and are, therefore, very much at home in Victorian and Edwardian homes.
Edwardian Arts and Crafts Lighting
Hartsville Ceiling Lights and Wall Light
A small but totally charming range of ceiling lights with a matching wall light that combine inspiration from Arts and Crafts movement with a colonial feel from the farmsteads and plantations of the American heartland. A casual delicate look with gently curving arms in a neutral chalk washed finished with beech wood accents.
Perfect in traditional, country or coastal interiors. Can be used simply with candle bulbs or for a different look team with some candle shades to compliment the decor.
Ammonite Table Lamp
Another offering from UK manufacturer David Hunt Lighting. The Antler Collection is one of David Hunt’s most iconic designs offering an elegant rustic charm that sits well in Edwardian country houses. All the lights feature replica stag antlers beautifully crafted and individually hand finished in bleached or rustic highland colours. A great realistic alternative to using real stag horn antlers.
The range includes a comprehensive selection of ceiling lights, wall lights, table and floor lamps. We have shown just a few here.To view the complete range – click here.
Edwardian Art Nouveau Lighting
A pretty range of Art Nouveau lights that include two ceiling lights with a matching wall light and table lamp. All the Topkapi fittings have attractive petal like shades made from bent glass in a warm, creamy, amber finish. Bent glass is made by heating the glass until it is red hot and then carefully forming into the correct shape before cooling, a process that makes the glass much stronger. To view all the Topkapi range – click here.
The pretty Art Nouveau style Humming Bird table lamp from our Period Lighting Collection. A small table uplighter manufactured here in the UK and perfectly suited to traditional Victorian or Edwardian interiors. Sitting on a typical Art Nouveau floral base made in solid brass with a genuine tarnish that has been waxed and buffed to replicate a restored antique. Complete with the fluted lily glass shade in rich buttermilk and green which is encircled by delicate ivy foliage and topped by a humming bird drinking from the top of the flower.
Elizabetta Table Lamp
Another Art Nouveau table lamp from our Period Lighting Collection. This one features a nude female form depicted in solid brass with a natural tarnish and is designed to recreate a table lamp from the Art Nouveau period. Lady lamps like this were popular during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.The mushroom shaped Tiffany glass shade has a scale pattern with buttermilk coloured glass.
Edwardian Tiffany Style Lighting
No mention of Edwardian lighting would be complete without referencing Tiffany lighting. The first Tiffany lamp was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1895. Tiffany lights were hugely fashionable during Edwardian times, prized for their beautiful designs depicted in colourful stained glass.
Belle Fleur Inverted Tiffany Pendant
This stunning inverted ceiling pendant features a sumptuous floral pattern border in a myriad of colours on an amber cream background. Hand crafted from over 600 pieces of American art glass it creates a warm colourful light that will be a real feature in an Edwardian room. The Belle Fleur pendant has 4 bulbs which are hidden inside the shade but even when it is not lit it still looks stunning. particularly if it catches any natural daylight.
An impressive Tiffany glass uplighter ceiling fitting with a dragonfly pattern depicted in rich warm colours. This semi-flush fitting has a drop of just 33cms making it suitable for lighting in rooms with low to average height ceilings. The iconic dragonfly pattern was frequently used on many of the original Tiffany lamps and this light is hand crafted using the traditional copper foil technique. In rich amber and buttermilk creams with fretwork dragonfly wing and encrusted with red and blue beaded jewels.
Clematis Wall Light
The delightful Clematis range includes this wall light along with a choice of ceiling lights and a matching table and floor lamp. Featuring hand crafted Tiffany art glass that depict delicate pink and purple Clematis flowers weaving between trellis on a warm background of amber cream. Just perfect for a fresh floral look in Edwardian interiors. To see the rest of the Clematis range – click here.
Larissa Table Lamp
A classical Art Nouveau style Tiffany table lamp hand-crafted from 426 pieces of high quality American art glass using the original methods developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany way back in 1880’s.The shade has a rich, jewelled, floral design with vivid red roses on a background of soft pastels that create a harmonious balance of light in the warm colour palette. Another sign of the quality of this Tiffany lamp is the two metal light pulls that allow either one or both of the bulbs to be lit. A rich sumptuous lamp that will surely become an antique of the future. There is a matching standard lamp too. Click here to view.
Rosecliffe Tiffany Ceiling Pendant
What a delight this Tiffany ceiling pendant is. Designed in the Art Nouveau style it has a floral border of stylised roses depicted in deep and pale pinks with green leaves on a background of buttery creams. Art Nouveau lighting was renowned for the quality of workmanship in natural flowing styles and this pendant is a fine example. Painstakingly handcrafted from 612 individual pieces of high quality American art glass using traditional methods.
Are you a fan of Tiffany lights and want to see more of our beautiful Tiffany Lighting? Check out some of our earlier blogs or go to our on-line shop to view the entire range. Simply use the links below.
To find out all about Louis Comfort Tiffany and how Tiffany lamps were originally made, use the link below
For our Kensington Tiffany Collection blog click below
Or to see all our lovely Tiffany lights click here
School House Ceiling Pendants and Flush Fitting Ceiling Lights
School house pendant lights are a true design classic and so named because they were commonly used for lighting in Edwardian schools. They were also often seen in libraries, court rooms and ‘below stair’s in the servants quarters of large Edwardian homes. These 1920’s school lights have a nostalgic, vintage charm with their clean utilitarian lines. They offered practical lighting and originally had milky white glass shades to hide the bare bulbs. As demand for them increased they were manufactured in a choice of metals and with different coloured glass shades. Today they are still appreciated for their for timeless good looks. They are ideal for lighting in shops and restaurants and would be very much in keeping for lighting in entrance halls, kitchens and utility areas of period homes.
A trio of traditional 1920’s school house ceiling pendants available with hand blown shades in clear, opal or smoked glass. Made in the UK by Cotswolds based David Hunt Lighting. To view all the Stowe pendant – click here.
Keller Ceiling Lights
The Keller ceiling lights are traditional, vintage school house lights with a dual mounting option. This allows them to be fitted in semi-flush mode for rooms with lower height ceilings or for higher ceilings they can be fitted using the rod suspension provided. With their elegantly curved opal glass shades giving a diffused ambient light they have a nostalgic understated elegance. Available in either brushed nickel or old bronze finishes.
Edwardian Table Lamps and Standard Lamps
Standard lamps and table lamps were the height of fashion in Edwardian times and with the new electric lighting they could now include fine, elegant fabric shades in soft colours or exquisite hand made crystal shades.
The Silvana candlestick table lamps have a light, informal look with their antique metal bases available in either a cream or gold finish. The cream version is decorated with gold swags and foliage whilst the gold version has a red bird and flower motif. Both are supplied with the taupe faux silk pleated shades shown. These lamps are hand crafted in India and will add a touch of oriental elegance to traditional Edwardian homes. Perfect for a sitting room table or as bedside table lights.
The impressive Monteverde table lamp would be equally at home in Edwardian interiors. This classic design lamp is from talented American designer Carolyn Kinder. It has a pale green ceramic base with an attractive rich lustre and sits on a square brass plinth. The aged brass is again echoed in the top collar of the base and in the prominent finial to the top of the lamp. Completed with a soft backed, sandy, caramel coloured silken shade. This well balanced lamp in subtle colours will add a luxurious feel to traditional rooms.
The Marcella table and floor lamps have two tone bronze finish bases and are complete with the panelled beige fabric shades. Taking influences from Arabic art and Prussian tradition mixed with a touch of French colonial styling, they will sit well in Edwardian interiors. A striking range of lights that includes matching ceiling lights and wall lights for a coordinated look. To take a look at the matching lights in the Marcella range – click here.
Davidson Table and Floor Lamp
The perfect standard lamp and table lamp to add a warm feel to traditional Edwardian sitting rooms. Made with fine quality materials and meticulous attention to detail, these lamps have a rich gold finish combined with a silver leaf patina in a classic design featuring a large decorative medallion. Both are beautifully teamed with mocha coloured Shantung linen shades fixed by a matching gold finials.
Polina Table Lamps and Standard Lamp
The Polina range offers a beautifully elegant lighting look that transcends time. Classic lighting at its best combining substantial crystal elements with either a brass or nickel finish resulting in a range of fittings that will make an impressive statement in Edwardian homes. The table lamps are available in two sizes and along with the floor lamp are all supplied with the beige pleated faux silk shades shown. This comprehensive collection also includes matching ceiling lights and wall lights – click here to view.
The Edwardian era became known as ‘Belle Époque’ or the Beautiful Era. Edwardian lighting was certainly influenced by continental Europe as it became fashionable for the ‘well off’ to travel abroad and bring back ideas and inspirations for new lighting designs. The wonderful Italian chandelier shown here is hanging in the restaurant of the Villa Cortine Palace Hotel on Lake Garda in Italy.
Edwardian chandeliers would have been used in large entrance hallways, dining rooms and reception rooms as well as in fashionable hotel foyers and function rooms. These were often large multi-tiered affairs featuring delicate crystal, smoked or coloured glass. Ornate plaster ceiling roses were common and a convenient and decorative way to hide the wiring on hanging ceiling light fittings.
A beautiful range of Edwardian chandeliers with matching wall lights. These delicate crystal adorned chandeliers take their inspiration from the elegant Italian interiors of the early 1900’s and are ideally suited to lighting in traditional Edwardian period homes. The gilded silver frames are lavishly decorated with crystal droplets, beaded chains and have hand polished cut crystal glass sconces. The smallest chandelier can be fitted flush for lower ceilings or with the chain for taller ceilings. Click here to view all the lights in this collection.
The rustic French style Emile chandeliers have vintage appeal with their hand painted, distressed cream finish that gives them an aged appearance. These charming chandeliers are are ideal for Edwardian settings where pastel colours and more feminine light fittings are very much in keeping. Use simply with candle style bulbs or add some clip on candle shades to match the colours in the room. Designed and manufactured in the UK by David Hunt Lighting they can be made to order in other painted finishes. To view some of the other Emile light fittings – click here.
The name Valentina is the female form of the Roman name Valentinus which is derived form the Latin ‘valens’ meaning strong and healthy and this is a perfect description of these period style lights. The metal frames are in an oxidised bronze finish are lavishly adorned with beaded chains and faceted crystal droplets. The crystal decorations add just the right amount of sparkle, creating a dignified yet enchanting look.
These chandeliers are available in a choice of sizes so there is sure to be one to suit and with matching wall sconces you can create the perfect lighting scheme. To take a look at all the Valentina lights – click here.
The Kingsley lighting range takes traditional lighting to new heights. They exude a beautiful, elegant, luxurious style with a the hand applied silver leaf finish on the metal frames which harmonise perfectly with the dark ivory swirling pleated fabric shades. Truly regal lights perfect for traditional Edwardian interiors. Impressive fittings that work in both formal and more relaxed settings. Click here to see all the Kingsley range.
A sophisticated collection of lights including a choice of ceiling lights with a matching wall light. It is easy to see how the elegant Dewitt range had been influenced by provincial French style lighting designs.
Simple harmonious silhouettes have been cleverly updated using a gilded silver finish and painting the decorative crystal teardrops on one side with a matching finish which allows the light to shine through, complimenting the rest of the fitting.
To check out all the Dewitt lights – click here.
We hope you have enjoyed looking at just a small selection of our wonderful Edwardian light fittings – we can think of no better way to get in the mood for the new Downton Abbey film. Book your seats and go along and see if you can spot any more lovely Edwardian lights.
Bespoke Lights have lots more Edwardian lighting for you to look at too, so just click here