Post 8: Let there be light
Enthusiasm level: Glowing vision
Progress: A flood lit march
Quote: “No uplighters, strip lights or torches – surely some mistake…”
Lighting is a slightly touchy topic at Handel House. The group that established and opened the museum in 2001 did a fabulous job and it is thanks to many years of their huge effort and hard work that we are here at all but lighting is not the museum’s greatest strength. The decision was to keep things authentic and not fit any lights – Handel of course would have had candles. However we can’t use candles as they are a fire risk and without light visitors can’t see. The upshot is deeply unattractive, modern uplighters not a great 18th century look but on the other hand slightly easier than wondering in the dark on a wet Tuesday afternoon in January. So imagine my delight to find myself in a discussion about lighting in the new exhibition space, Hendrix flat and learning studio. There was much chat about scene-setting light in Hendrix’s bedroom and how this needed to be natural, probably quite moody and dark but everything needs to be visible. Back lights, staged lights, light wash, authentic 60s side lights and mock candelabras which we know were in the flat are all achieveable. At this point I was in a reverie of well lit objects and spaces. But when the wonderful electrical engineer, Trevor started talking about a control panel which could have a variety of lighting settings one for cleaning, one for installation, one for events and any other lighting effects we might need I was beside myself. For most museums I realise that this is nothing new but for us it is quite literally a revelation! We might not even have to wander around with torches (I don’t joke) as we lock up at the end of the day but lets not count our chickens.