Trade in Yours
For a £2.54 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Artificial Sunshine: A Social History of Domestic Lighting (National Trust) [Hardcover]

Margaret Willes , Maureen Dillon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Trade In this Item for up to £2.54
Trade in Artificial Sunshine: A Social History of Domestic Lighting (National Trust) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £2.54, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Frequently Bought Together

Artificial Sunshine: A Social History of Domestic Lighting (National Trust) + Vintage Lighting: A Collectors Guide
Buy the selected items together
  • Vintage Lighting: A Collectors Guide £22.50

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: National Trust (1 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0707802881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0707802886
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 19.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 847,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


Why artificial sunshine? Today we can light our homes at the flick of a switch, turning night into day. Only when things go wrong, like a power cut, can we appreciate the experience of our ancestors, who after sunset, had to shut down their working lives. For the poor, the source of light was from the hearth, supplemented by rushlight, tallow dip and oil lamps. The rich could light their homes with candles of wax, but contemporary accounts make clear that sumptuous lighting was only used on special occasions. All this changed with the arrival in the early nineteenth century of gas lighting. It was the industrial revolution that provided the incentive to make radical improvements to lighting: cottage industries and manufactories had to continue production beyond nightfall. Gas lighting was installed in factories, shops and on the streets, permitting a social life after dark for citizens and town dwellers. Gas lighting was also installed in homes, though the highest echelons of society regarded it as rather common. They put away their oil lamps and candlesticks with the development of electric lighting.

Maureen Dillon traces the fascinating history of domestic lighting, explaining the technological developments, providing, providing the social context, and detailing the changes in style and design of fittings. She draws upon the remarkable range of light fittings offered by the National Trust's collection of historic houses, from rushlights at Moseley Old Hall to exquisite chandeliers at Saltram, from dark lanterns and lace enhancers at Toenend to electric jewellery at Cragside. At the end of the nineteenth century, it would have been possible for a visitor to Britain to see all the lighting technologies described above. At the start of the twenty-first century, we can only wonder at the lifestyle of our forefathers, vividly described by Joseph Swan, the developer of the electric light bulb, as the 'dark ages'.

Owners of historic houses, big and small, old and not so old, will find the survey of light fittings and their attachments and accoutrements invaluable The social context of lighting will be of great interest even to the non-technological reader For visitors to National Trust houses, this book will provide the means to recognise and understand domestic lighting in all its various forms

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Gerafon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the history of domestic lighting. It was informative but easy to read and full of lovely photographs. I found it an invaluable tool for a presentation I was preparing for an interview with the National Trust.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very surprising book 30 April 2009
By Christopher Diglio - Published on
The only reason I purchased this book was because I needed to do some research on artificial lighting for my literature term paper. However, once I started to read it I could not put it down. I never thought of artificial lighting the way I do now because this book goes into detail about how different types of light have throughtout history have helped make the world as we know it today. Give it a try it is well worth the money.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice and interesting book 14 Nov 2013
By Svein Solhjell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Interesting book. The author has a bit to many references to National Trust houses. She could have Limited these references to when she also has a picture to show.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category