A Pooky history of art - in beautiful table lamps

Beautiful lighting really is an art form – here a gorgeous gallery to prove it...

Alice Boggis-Rolfe is a ridiculously talented figurative artist from London. She’s best known for her en plein air paintings (in 2017 she reached the final of Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year) but her interior works are just as beautiful, and she’s a joy to follow on Instagram. So we were more than delighted to see Pooky’s Sophie table lamp pop up in one of Alice’s paintings, a study of her bedroom, above. Well we always knew our table lamps were works of art… And it does give us a good excuse to look at some more beautiful lamps in paintings! We’ve previously admired the way artists have used beautiful lamps in art and covered the surprisingly common artistic subject of women reading books by lamplight. So how about a little Pooky tour of some 20th century art movements...in table lamps!

Princess Bibesco by Édouard Vuillard

Édouard Vuillard - 'Princess Bibesco' (1920). São Paulo Museum of Art

French painter Édouard Vuillard is a leading figure of Post-Impressionism – an extremely broad term covering all sorts different artists including van Gogh and Gaughin. The Post-Impressionists continued pushing the ideas of the Impressionists of the previous century but were not so concerned with nature or capturing fleeting moments en plein air. Vuillard was obsessed with interiors and wallpapers, patterns and vivid patches of colour. Just look at the gorgeous glow of that scene-stealing table lamp on the chest of drawers.

The Blue Lamp by John Duncan Fegusson

John Duncan Fergusson - The Blue Lamp (1920) City Art Centre

Scottish painter John Duncan Fergusson travelled to Paris in 1898 to study the Impressionists and became a leading artist in the Fauvism movement. The Fauvists (literally ‘wild beasts’) painted simplified, flattened scenes of intense colour. Note the thick cartooon-like black outlines around each object, like the glorious, sadly shadeless table lamp.

Composition with Lamp by Emma Illynichna Gurovich

Emma Illynichna Gurovich - Komposition mit Öllampe (1925) - Private collection

This rather wonderful painting by now obscure Russian artist Emma Gurovich is a fine example of Cubism. The Cubists (most famously Picasso and Braque) attempted to capture the way we experience objects from multiple viewpoints on a single two-dimensional canvasses. And as radical as the concept was, most Cubist subjects are still lifes feauting everyday items, like this oil lamp.

The Bedside Lamp by Duncan Grant

Duncan Grant - The Bedside Lamp (c1950-55) Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Part of the famous/infamous Bloomsbury set, Duncan Grant was heavily influenced by the Post-Impressionists like Vuillard, and introduced a dash of British social realism. The Bedside Lamp is a lovely little Grant picture - note the odd, cropped composition and the carefully-chosen array of harmonious and clashing colours (Grant designed textiles and ceramics - and no doubt would have made a terrific interior designer).

The Lamp by Mary Fedden

Mary Fedden - The Lamp (1988) © the estate of Mary Fedden / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Guildford Borough Council

One of the great women of British art, Mary Fedden painted throughout the second half of the 20th century right up to her death in 2012. Influenced by Matisse and others, she painted mostly still life compositions and developed a distinctive, bold Expressionist style. Lamps actually feature heavily in her works - we like this spooky, rather Halloween-ish one.

More Pooky lights in art form!

These eye-popping paintings featuring Pooky's Crescent and Artur table lamps, are by the wonderful Molly Benson. Molly is a still life and portrait painter from the beautiful rolling hills near Stroud in the Cotswolds.

Have a browse of our own works of art – that is, beautiful table lamps – here.