Pair of "Versalite" Wall Lights
by A.B. Read, 1948
Description:A rare pair of "Versalite" wall lights designed by A.B. Read, 1948, and made by Troughton and Young, England, circa 1950.
Although Read spent the latter part of his career (from 1951) as Head of Design for Carter, Stabler & Adams (later renamed Poole Pottery) his formative training and expertise were in lighting.
Following the study of metalwork at the RCA (1920-1923), interest in Walter Gropius led Read to visit the Bauhaus via Italy in 1923/4. At the Bauhaus Read observed experiments in the design of lighting which influenced his move Paris to work for the French lighting company Bagues. After a year in France, Read took up the directorship of Troughton & Young (Lighting) in London, 1925, where Ernest Race worked under him for a year.
In 1935 and 1946 Read’s work was used at the British Art in Industry exhibition and Britain Can Make It exhibition, respectively.
The first acclaimed use of the "Versalite" range was at the `Design at Work' exhibition in 1948 and then at the Festival of Britain exhibition, 1951.
Specifically, photographs show "Versalite" wall lights in use in the Foyer of the Royal Festival Hall. Read designed the central chandelier and all other lighting for the Royal Festival Hall.1
From a 7cm polished brass back plate the lights extended on a pole, also of polished brass, to 58cm. Although the arms of the lamps are static, the head is fully articulated thanks to a ball and socket joint. The most illustrious part of the design is the biomorphically sculptured head of the lamps which are formed aluminium lacquered in an ivory colour.
1. The Royal Festival Hall was the first modern public building to be erected in Britain following WWII. Today, it is the only aspect of the Festival of Britain still in existence and has been made a Grade I listed building -the first post-war structure to become so protected.
Length of shades: 34.5cm
Height of shades: 16cm
Materials: brass, aluminium
Date of Design: 1948
Date Of Manufacture: c.1950
Place of Origin: England
Designer: Alfred Burgess Read
Manufacturer: Troughton & Young