Friday 18 October 2019

Salvador Dali’s ‘erotic’ lamps get V&A home after being saved for nation

The lamps were the joint creation of surrealist artist Dalí and British collector and poet Edward James.

Dalí’s Champagne Standard Lamps (VandA Museum/PA)
Dalí’s Champagne Standard Lamps (VandA Museum/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Salvador Dali’s “erotic” lamps have been saved for the nation.

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has acquired what it describes as “one of the most important examples of modern lighting ever designed in the UK”.

Dalí’s Champagne Standard Lamps (VandA Museum/PA)

Experts previously described the lamps as “witty” and “erotic” and “everything one would expect of Dalí”, with the “champagne cups” which form the objects resembling “female breasts”.

A temporary export bar was placed on the lamps last year in the hope of keeping them in the UK.

They were at risk of being exported unless a buyer could be found to match the £425,000 asking price.

Surrealist artist Dalí and British collector and poet Edward James jointly designed the lamps, made from oversized brass champagne coupes, stacked on top of the other.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, London (PA)

They will be reunited with Dali’s Mae West Lips sofa when they arrive at the V&A.

Both were designed by Dalí and James for a Surrealist home in West Sussex, Monkton House.

The export bar was put in place on the recommendation of the Reviewing Committee On The Export Of Works Of Art And Objects Of Cultural Interest.

And committee member Richard Calvocoressi said at the time: “The lamps are everything one would expect of Dali.

“Witty, erotic – the champagne cups can be read as female breasts – the lamps are also strikingly sculptural, standing about the height of a person, with the line of vertical cups resembling a spinal column, a brilliant example of fantasy lighting.”

Salvador Dali’s Mae West Lips sofa (DCMS)

Christopher Wilk, keeper of furniture, textiles and fashion at the V&A, said: “These lamps are of outstanding significance to the history of modern design and Surrealist art in Britain and we are delighted that the V&A is acquiring them for public enjoyment.”

Sir Peter Luff, chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), said: “The..  Fund helps secure for the nation our most important and precious heritage at risk of being lost. These exquisite lamps, on the cusp of being sold to an overseas buyer, fit the bill exactly. ”

The V&A has  acquired A Pair Of Champagne Standard Lamps, with support from the NHMF, Art Fund and V&A Members.

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