How Do I Choose the Best Gothic Lamp?

T. Carrier

Lamps are both a functional and aesthetic necessity in many living spaces, and a gothic lamp can add a touch of unique style. Gothic art and architecture was a popular form of stylistic expression that began around the 12th century. The influence of this medieval art form extends centuries later into products ranging from house architecture to household lamps. If an individual wishes to celebrate the Gothic style with a Gothic lamp, basic considerations like specific lighting uses should be taken into consideration. More specific Gothic-related features will also likely be desired, including grotesque imagery, stained glass, and wrought iron.

A gothic candelabra may be a lighting option for some homes.
A gothic candelabra may be a lighting option for some homes.

The base and shade of a gothic lamp will often have dark, grotesque figures and designs that were popularized in gothic art and gothic architecture. One prominent example is the gargoyle. These reptilian-like mythical creatures were a fixture in early Gothic architecture, usually taking the form of carved statues that served as symbolic guardians of a home or building. An individual preferring more classic images might choose a lamp with this creature, whereas more modern Gothic art creations often feature other creatures like dragons.

Another indicator of a good gothic lamp is the use of stained glass. These ornately colored panels were another main component of Gothic style. Such lamps will usually contain richly dark colors like purple, gold, green, black, and red. Glass panels might also contain painted images, particularly religious images.

Wrought iron is one of the earliest materials used for making products, and thus it was a solid base for many early Gothic pieces. Intricate designs and engravings were commonplace in the metals of these works. Outdoor gothic lanterns in particular are often made with wrought iron. Later lamps were often created with artificial steel bases, and many times the illusion of iron was only achieved through paint or stamping. These more artificial types of lamps are more subject to peeling, cracking, and general deterioration.

Lamps in general are usually purchased for display either on a table or on a floor. If the consumer desires a table gothic lamp, height and weight are important variables. One way to determine the best size for a table lamp is to sit next to the table in question. The distance from eye level to the table top should give a general idea of where the bottom of the lampshade will begin, as the shade's bottom should not rise above eye level. In addition, a table lamp will need to be reasonably weighted so that it will not be susceptible to accidental bumps or hits.

Individuals who prefer a light source that emits plentiful, non-harsh light might desire a floor lamp. These lamps are larger and thus produce more light. If floor lamps will be used for directed lighting such as reading,a variety with a flexible head might be best. For more general room lighting, the shade might be inverted so that the light source is pointed towards the ceiling. A more fanciful addition might be the gothic candelabra, which is a lighting structure with several candle-like lighting extensions.

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