We have developed our own range of solutions to the varying challenges that the world of Fine Art can present. Our latest innovation is a very ‘light’, slim-line LED based fixture, that we custom manufacture on a painting by painting basis.
This style of light is fast finding favour with many owners of fine art, because the light source, unlike typical halogen and tungsten sources, emits virtually no harmful forms of light and only produces trace levels of heat by comparison. The running costs are also majorly reduced as of course LED’s are far more efficient than traditional light sources except for Fluorescent, and hopefully everyone knows by now that there are huge amounts of damaging waveforms emitted from a typical unshielded fluorescent tube. We still find them out there though!
We have now installed these specialist picture lights in The Vintners’ & Clothworkers’ Livery Companies and have another major installation for the Turf Club this autumn.
Art lighting is not, however a “one solution fits all”, and when we were approached to light a newly commissioned painting of the Queen, together with a much older painting on the opposite wall, we installed Theatrical profiles fitted with long life, energy efficient discharge light sources projecting over some distance, and forming a completely focused “box” of soft light that fully illuminates just the canvas. The paintings shine out in the hall, but the actual instruments providing the lighting are over-looked by most visitors, so the whole focus of attention is on the art. Museum grade UV filtering ensures that the light reaching the painting is as safe as possible.
*As far as current science can predict. Any level of lighting in whatever form will eventually degrade any painting, but we can be talking about hundreds of years. If you have fine art, have you applied UV filter to any windows that allow sunlight into the room? If the art is valuable, you should consider this. The fabulous Ardabil carpet on display in the V&A is only properly illuminated for 10 minutes every one and a half hours. Coloured carpet fibre can be very badly affected by UV radiation, and the V&A experts have calculated that even with all the UV shielding glass that they have in-place together with the very limited lighting that is now applied, the colours will still fade within a few hundred years.
*The left hand view is lit with just natural daylight from an adjacent window, the right hand view is with the LED Picture light on.