Choosing the Right Antique Lamp For Your Home

Famille verte vase lamp

It can be a challenge to select the right antique lamp to match the decorative scheme of your home, office, or other interior environments. It is helpful to know about the design sources, materials used, and also the history behind these magical objects.

Variations of Antique Lamps

Soft lighting is highly evocative and can be used to create a calming atmosphere. Most homes today are lit from the ceiling and as LED lighting is increasingly encouraged, many homes have become more energy efficient while lacking in charm.  

For this reason, table top lighting can help recreate the warmth that so many interiors lack these days. An antique lamp base, for example, with a richly coloured shade, will not only give light but diffuse the harshness of its glare creating a soft glow. 

Interior decorators have always incorporated unique objects into lighting schemes and as a dealer I have spent many years developing a wide-ranging stock of antique objects to serve as light sources. Perhaps the most obvious vehicle for this is the antique porcelain vase. Blue and white glazed Chinese Export porcelain has been imported into Britain and Europe since the early seventeenth century and garnitures of vases formed an integral part of the grandest interiors. While the rarest pieces remain highly prized and are held in private collections and museums, later examples (some of which have been damaged and lovingly restored) have proved themselves to be ideal for conversion into table lamps.

Blue and white dragon vase lamp

When choosing an antique lamp for a room, it is important to reflect upon the colours around you. While I am keen to promote the polychrome look, some colours really do clash and it is well worth considering this before selecting an antique lamp base. However, blue and white glazed porcelain vases and Delft pottery do seem to work with everything today, just as they did in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Sang de boeuf is another favourite of mine. Bull’s blood glazes are rich and deep. John Constable was known to use a spot red in his paintings to draw in the eye and sang de boeuf porcelain has exactly the same effect. 

Pair of sang de boeuf gourd vase lamps

Antique brass column lamps are also a wonderful vehicle for soft lighting. The majority of examples began life as oil lamps and many were made as early as the Regency Period in England. They are largely architectural and take the forms of Greek and Roman columns and celebrate the Classical orders. Lamps such as these work especially well in traditional settings and will add a St James’s club like splendour to any library or drawing room.

Early 19th century brass column lamp

I also like to encourage the use of studio pottery vase lamps within interiors ancient and modern. These art pottery wares can be wonderfully whimsical and sculptural and most importantly, they are unique.

Studio pottery art vase lamp

Whatever thoughts you may have concerning lighting, there are almost endless possibilities for lamp bases for all periods and styles of interior. 

For more information on our antique lamp range, contact me today or pop into one of my stores.

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