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More lighting!

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:D Hello, I find lighting a very interesting topic, not from the point of view of lightbulbs so much as lampshades. Good lampshades are harder to find than any other furnishings, I think (but I do live in Scotland. I've found much better stuff abroad, but it's so difficult to get home even in simply practical terms quite apart from persuading Michael that it's worth trying!)
I've found the only way to get half decent stuff is to trawl antique shops, markets etc., which is handy anyway when glass hunting. Here are 2 lampshades I've got, of which I'm particularily proud. The first is Jobling (and yes, I know it's pink and flowery and I don't DO pink and flowery, but rules are made to be broken)

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Unfortunately, I've found recently that my brother also has a Jobling lampshade, MUCH nicer than mine! It's opalescent with hummingbirds and he WON'T give it to me. (sulk, sulk)

This next one I found in a local antique/second-hand shop. The proprietor told me it originally was for a gas-mantle, hence the pointy bit at the top of the dome. I don't know anything more about it. I think it's transfer printed. It really suits our bedroom, I like it very much, but I'd love to know more about it.

Cheers, Sue.

Both nice, but not to impressed by the 'reason' for the pointed shape, surely that is just a design detail. This type of shade was made mostly from the 1920's to the 1950's and get progressively yuckier the later they are. They were made earlier too. There was a lot more variety of shapes in the 1920's and older ones - the best usually have a supporting ring rather than straight chain fixing and the rings can be made of anything from cast bronze to pressed steel. Most of the brass ones were originally patinated in brown and black using a process that prevented the surface from further oxygenation.

I used to deal in lighting in the 1980's, it is what led me to lightbulbs. Such shades were relatively easy to find then and invariably cheap (until they got into my shop) and sold like hot cakes as people tried to restore homes to the period look.

There is a huge problem with identifying makers as most were sub-contracted to a glassworks for production and decorated and finished by a lighting specialist. Most glassworks would have produced shades for those companies and no records exist - for the most part.

Victorian period shades are much rarer and even in the eighties fetched substantial sums of money but the business really exploded after electric lighting took of around 1920. In the earlier days of electric lighting people did not use shades as they wanted to show off, or they were too poor.

The more stylish Art Deco shades usually sell in the hundreds or thousands and are rarely to be found.

Many from the twenties and thirties were superb examples of decoration design and I have handled some wonderful examples, sadly I never see shades of that quality anymore.

I love glass lamp shades. Here in the office we have the bowl-shaped one which was in the house when we moved in, left behind by the family of the lady who lived (and died) here when they removed all her belongings. Obviously this old lampshade was of no interest to them... but we love it and were glad it was left behind. I'm not sure of the date - probably 1930's/1940's... they used to be so common - every second-hand shop and antiques shop had them but I've not seen any on sale for ages. Hangs from three chains, and is white, green, blue and orange blobs (sounds awful but it isn't!) and has to be regularly emptied of dust and dead flies which seem to collect in it!!!

Upstairs there is a pair of the clamshell shaped wall lights with chrome fittings which were salvaged from a house in Kent. I've seen these in pink, amber and opaque - which is what ours are. I just love them, and recently saw on eBay a pendant fitting in the same style but with three pink shades - I really don't like the coloured ones as much - if it had matched our shades I might have been tempted. ;)

Those clamshells come in a wide range of colours and there are several different makers. Also red, yellow, pale blue, pale green and clear. They were made until relatively recently, 1970's at least, and probably still made. The main difference between older and newer is the quality and thickness of the metal.

I found the 'blobby' ceiling shades the least attractive, although I do have a nice hemispherical one in thick glass with orangey blobs.

We know our clamshells are older than 1970's as we know the building they were in before we had them. (It was modernised and they were replaced with twee contemporary sidelights!) .

I agree that some of the blobby ones are horrible - they seem to vary so much in style. I *hate* the one my mother has - it's brown and white and boring!  ;)


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