Brighten the Dark Winter Days with Regency-Inspired Paper Lanterns

New exhibition at the Museum of Creativity

gruppeglow1When the days are shortest, the golden light of candles and lanterns offers cosiness and comfort. This is as true today as it was 230 years ago. Actually, transparent lamps, candle shades, lanterns, and fire screens became a household-favourite form the late 18th century. They were called transparencies, and genteel ladies created them for festivities or to brighten the long, dark winter month.

Once, transparencies were made of thin painted paper or cloth. The translucent effect was achieved by mixing the colours with mastic varnish or burnt lined oil, and by applying a touch of spirit of turpentine to all things on the picture that should glow especially light, e.g. the moon, and illuminated windows. Popular ground colours were Prussian blue, Burnt Sienna, Verdigris and Ivory Black.

Today, we can cheat a bit by using our favourite photos, fresh from the inkjet printer. For this year’s Christmas Season I have created several designs for translucent paper lanterns – Austenesque, Gothic and Baroque. Check them out at the latest exhibition at the Museum of Creativity and even try your hand at paper lantern design yourself.

Best regards

Anna M. Thane

3 thoughts on “Brighten the Dark Winter Days with Regency-Inspired Paper Lanterns

  1. Hallo,
    ich habe mir gerade die wunderschönen Laternen angeschaut. Sehr gelungen!!!! Sogar geschichtlicher Bastelbezug, super.

  2. We used to make ‘stained glass windows’ and painted them with household boiled linseed oil such as one used on the pamment flags of toilets and outhouses… I discovered that olive oil actually did the job pretty well too but yellows with age.
    you can also achieve a transparent effect by ironing on candle wax, but of course this makes your transparency very flammable. a plot bunny here is how the hero rescues the heroine when her transparent fire screen goes aflame and sets light to her muslin gown [the newspapers of the time are full of people burned when their muslins were set alight by candles or fires and how some miraculously escaped with small burns and how others lingered several days before succumbing to their sufferings and expiring]

    • Brilliant plot bunny! I hadn’t thought of anything dramatic, but you are perfectly right.
      Another plot bunny could be that radicals or spies use seemingly innocent transparencies to convey massages; e.g. a transparency with a gothic castle means “meeting tonight at 10” etc.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Best regards


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