Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lights, Lighting Style: Edwardian Style

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, her son Edward came to the throne.  The decorative style named in his honor is generally accepted as going from 1901- 1910, although sometimes the period leading up to and including the Great War is included (which would put the end at about 1919).  The British Edwardian Style is heavily influenced by increasing urban populations, new political ideas such as women's suffrage and socialism, developments such as the car, indoor plumbing, and electricity.  Art Nouveau was popular in France and the European continent in general. (see "Edwardian Era" in en.wikipedia.org) The US was going through Beaux Arts and Arts and Crafts.

The Edwardian Style of lighting has a mixture of industrialism, classicism, and organic form all mixed together:

Four Arm Edwardian Chandelier, 1stdibs.com

Edwardian Crystal Brass Pan Light Fixture, 1stdibs.com

Edwardian Telescopic Standard Lamp, 1stdibs.com

During this time, many public buildings were built using the Edwardian Baroque Style.  (see "Edwardian Baroque architecture" in en.wikipedia.org)  You can see this here in the wedding photos of this stylish couple in Belfast earlier this year:

Belfast City Hall; http://onefabday.com/belfast-city-wedding-by-navyblur/

Documenting this huge change in interior design, there was a photography firm that pioneered the profession of interior photography named Bedford Lemere & Co.  The company began business in 1867 and slowed in 1947.  The firm's most famous work was by the founder's son, Henry Lemere who was at the firm from 1881 to the 1940s.  Architects, designers, retailers, hotel owners, realtors, cruise ship owners all employed this firm at the turn of the century and the first half of the 20th century.  (see Beford Lemere in en.wikipedia.org)  There is a 2011 book with the images created by this firm called The Photography of Bedford Lemere and Co.  

These photographs are an incredible documentation of the Edwardian style.  Take a look at these images (with lighting!!) from the early 1900s:

Bedford Lemere & Co, 1910 Gorringe's Department Store, London

Bedford Lemere & Co, 1905 Buckingham Palace Stables

Bedford Lemere & Co, 1910 bedroom in Grosvenor Hotel

Edwardian Style lighting has it's influence today.  Just look at the industrial lighting that we are pairing with elegant furnishings, similar to the spaces above, only with modern furniture added in:

Workstead Lighting, http://myinfinitevariety.com/tag/decoration/

And the scale has gotten so big, the lighting is now a personality in and of it's own:

metal decor ideas for kitchens, www.ackbbq.com

So looking back at Edwardian lighting helps to see that at one time, the electric light fixture was unfamiliar and at most a functional object.  Now lighting has become an element of style in some of the most classic of spaces:

page-thirteen.com, "Loving Giant Oversized Lamps"

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