Much like the Arts and Crafts lighting that came before, Art Nouveau lighting also aimed to show that light fittings could not only be functional but beautiful too. Art Nouveau lighting was a more decorative style inspired by nature - the use of natural forms, including stylised floral motifs, leaf prints and animal forms. New techniques for colouring and acid etching glass, developed during this period, enabled stained glass to be used to create magnificent shades for use on Art Nouveau table lamps, ceiling lights and wall lights. In America this style was referred to as 'Tiffany Style', after glass maker Louis Comfort Tiffany. Here in the UK, Art Nouveau was sometimes called the 'Glasgow Style' after Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh who was hugely influential during the Art Nouveau period.
Art Nouveau lighting focused on quality and craftsmanship and was fashionable from the 1890's until 1910. Art Nouveau was a decorative style originating in France that sought to unify the many forms of art to create an international style for the modern age. Well known Art Nouveau artists include Gustav Klimt, Antoni Gaudi, and, of course, the most famous exponent of the Art Nouveau style in the UK, Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Art Nouveau light fittings were beautiful, graceful and fluid with curvy lines and an emphasis on vertical height. Metals such as brass with an antique patina were used in the the manufacture of Art Nouveau lights and the metalwork would have been decorated with leaves, twisted plant tendrils, flowers, buds and seeds. Use of the female form, often depicted with flowing hair, was popular and frequently seen on Art Nouveau table lamps. Ceiling lights and wall lights from the Art Nouveau period would have featured coloured stained glass or alabaster glass shades often etched in graceful designs. Many Tiffany style table lamps, ceiling lights and wall lights were made in the Art Nouveau style and reproductions based on original Art Nouveau designs are popular today.
Lighting from the Art Nouveau period works really well if you have vintage decorations and is perfectly suited for use in Victorian and Edwardian interiors. An Art Nouveau chandelier as a feature light in a dining room can look stunning. The Art Nouveau lighting style was concerned with natural forms and included stylised plants and flowers and, in particular, curved lines. Art Nouveau glass shades were in muted colours and would have included olive greens, dusky pinks, pale browns and beige mixed with off-white and would have featured floral motifs including poppies, thistles, water lilies and wisteria as well as peacock feathers, birds, dragonflies, insect wings and shells.
Art Nouveau lighting largely went out of fashion in the 1920's when it gave way to the Art Deco style lights. There was a revival of the Art Nouveau style in the 1960's and this beautiful lighting is still in demand today.
To read more about decorating and lighting in the Art Nouveau style you may want to take a look at our blog - just click on the link below -
Lighting a period home can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Our guide to 'Lighting Through the Ages' has lot of hints and tips to help you choose the right light fittings. Simply click on the link below.