The LUX contemporary art exhibition – including some Factorylux classic Edison bulbs – has been running all summer at the National Trust’s Cragside House. Cragside, near Rothbury in Northumbria, was the home of William Armstrong, Tyneside industrialist and arms manufacturer.
Armstrong bought Cragside in the 1860s and it was adapted and improved over 15 years from 1869. The house is a wonder of the Victorian age – it’s stunningly decorated in the Arts & Crafts style and was the first house to be lit by hydroelectricity.
Cragside was also one of the first properties to be lit by light bulbs manufactured by Joseph Swan, developer of early incandescent light bulbs. Swan’s work in Newcastle-upon-Tyne was independent of Thomas Edison, though they later became linked when their companies merged to become the Edison and Swan Electric Light Company Limited or Ediswan. The merger resolved the patent infringement claims relating to the design of the first electric light bulbs and allowed the bulbs – to Swan’s design – to be more effectively marketed.
The LUX exhibition marked the 100th anniversary of Joseph Swann’s death and included seven artworks which feature and celebrate light. Two of the the artworks used Factorylux lighting, including Filharmonic by Dan Fox, Cumbrian based artist.
Filharmonic is a sound and light installation of three shades and light bulbs in the gallery of Cragside which was home to Armstong’s first electrical laboratory. Factorylux large globe squirrel cage filament bulbs unpredictably flicker into light and fade to the sound of crackling electricity, plasma bursts and sounds collected from around Cragside and the estate. Watch the video for the full Filharmonic experience:
Although out of the way – 35 miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 17 miles from the nearest train station – Grade I listed Cragside is one of the most amazing properties in the Trust’s collection. There is something for everyone and of all ages. The house is a marvellous example of the Arts & Crafts style and includes significant work by William Morris. The estate covers over 1,000 acres and includes formal and rock gardens, adventure play areas and a labyrinth, five artificial lakes and expanses of rugged woodland.