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The Victorians were seduced by light throughout their queen’s reign. At the beginning of the 19th century, in the decades before Victoria took to the throne, buildings and streets alike were, in the main, illuminated by candle light. By the time the iconic royal died and the baton of ruler was handed to her son Edward in 1901, both gas and electricity were commonplace lighting sources and the way domestic spaces were used and enjoyed had been completely changed by innovations in the field. In celebration of the new lighting technologies made available to them, designers created a huge array of stunning Victorian ceiling lights. Browse some of those that have survived to this day and continue to be dazzlingly beautiful at Vinterior.

Why choose Victorian ceiling lights?

Victorian ceiling lights are most frequently fashioned from glass, crystal and brass. However, using just this handful of quality materials, designers and manufacturers of the time were able to create a fabulous range of products.

If you are furnishing a large home and hoping to make lighting a central part of the design, an authentic Victorian chandelier in cut-glass, with multiple lights and incredibly intricate gilt work could fit the bill. More accessible but equally beautiful are the ceiling lights that emerged from the Art Nouveau era. Created using gorgeously coloured, blown glass these fittings were shaped and fluted to echo the delicate shapes of flowerheads. Often, opaque glass was used in kingfisher blue, vivid green or rusty orange.

Originally, these shades would have been used on gas-powered lights, but most have now been converted for safe use with electricity. Around the same time, Tiffany lampshades were emerging in Europe. These, with their multi-hued strained glass designs appealed to the Victorian taste for plenty of pattern and colour. As well as pendant lights, standard and wall lights are also available.

Another name frequently associated with Victorian ceiling lights is Holophane. This brand, which started life in the late 1890s, became known for manufacturing lights using internal refractors to help even out light distribution across a space. As well as being commissioned to produce streetlights on an industrial scale, Holophane developed pretty, orb-shaped ceiling lights for domestic use. More understated than some other Victorian lights, these pieces work wonderfully in a pared back, relaxed interior.

Styling with Victorian ceiling lights

Some lights from the Victorian era would have been regarded as utilitarian at the time, given the period’s penchant for excessively decorative objects. However, fast-forward to the present and these same pieces are prized as super-stylish talking points. For example, a copper hall lantern, with a simple rectangular shape and clear glass panels looks fantastic hung low over a chunky oak kitchen table. Likewise, nautical lights, industrial lights and even street lighting from the 1800s have all been reconditioned for domestic use, bringing a fun sense of Victoriana to the modern home.

The most elegant and intriguing homes are those with the personal touch. Rather than following the furniture and accessories market’s everchanging trends, the real interiors connoisseurs are assured in their own tastes, buying pieces that make them happy, look fantastic and serve a practical purpose, too. Going vintage or choosing key renovated pieces allows you to express yourself through items that deserve to be cherished.

Victorian ceiling lights: shop with Vinterior

At Vinterior we have a comprehensive range of antique and vintage furniture, including a huge range of lighting options. Use our online marketplace to refine your own unique tastes and work out which styles and eras really appeal to you.