chapter  8
50 Pages

Lighting strategies

Even when we have all the principles well in mind, there are many totally different ways in which a design solution can take form.

John Boud has commented that ‘lighting for effect could almost be defined as lighting that is incomplete by intent’, and has recalled: ‘I remember Douglas Charters being asked, after a lecture many years ago, how you should light a painting. “Put it in a well-lit room,” was the reply. At the time I thought this was cynical; now I suspect it is accurate’ (Boud, 1971). There is plenty of scope to discuss exactly what is a well-lit room, but I think we can safely assume that what was meant was a room in which illumination is plentiful and of good colour rendering, shadows are soft, and there are no spots of glare or areas of gloom. Figure 8.1 shows a gallery where, arguably, these conditions pertain. Everything is well lit and clearly visible: the walls, ceiling and floor; the stairs and handrail; and the paintings. Viewers should feel that they have really seen the paintings, as everything would be visible: the brushstrokes; the layering of

pigments and varnishes; perhaps some canvas showing through; and any effects of ageing, such as surface cracking and fading. All would be visible.