Lantern Love - Making the Old New Again

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Light me a lantern for to get back home. So runs a line from the title-song on the album Lantern, by neoclassical pioneers Clogs. Just as the modern electric guitar and the archaic violin intertwine beautifully on this song, so does the lantern in its many incarnations meld the old world with the new to sublime effect.

Whether the lantern they sing of is one taken in hand or a beacon shining in the night letting you know home is waiting for you, the word carries associations of warmth and wonderment, hearth and home. 

The light that welcomes home is perhaps the nearest and dearest to our heart. Depending on the size of your entryway, or whatever door you really use to enter your house on an everyday basis, that light could be something as grand as a chandelier or as humble as a flush mount. Lanterns have traditionally held pride of place in this spot. 

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How far does the idea go back? It depends how you define the term, for there are Japanese lanterns, paper lanterns, and so on. For the purpose of our discussion, we're talking about a candelabra or single candlecup in an enclosure. It may be four glass sides with a clasp, it may be a round glass canister, it may be some dense mesh which lets light out but doesn't let wind in, but the idea is the same: to protect a flame from being blown out by the wind or a sudden draft.

Whether the notion was to hang one on the wall walking around at night, carrying the light around with you and then mounting it by hook and hoop, or hanging a great central one, it all amounted to keeping the flickering flames from going out.

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However, lanterns are now used in a variety of places. Lanterns may go wherever you think they look best. If there's a spot in need of some ambient light and it suits the space, just go for it.  As the picture above and the two below show, lanterns work like a charm for kitchen spaces. Whether it's above an island, a nearby dining table, or an adjacent space, a set of matching lanterns like Hudson classic Hampton get the job done with an elegance that never goes out of style.

 Design by Robin Gannon Interiors | Photo by Anthony Tieuli Photography

Design by Robin Gannon Interiors | Photo by Anthony Tieuli Photography

 Design by Robin Gannon Interiors | Photo by Anthony Tieuli Photography

Design by Robin Gannon Interiors | Photo by Anthony Tieuli Photography

Lanterns are a Category; they're stylistically adaptable. Whether that's something derived from the American Colonial period covered in chrome, an open frame with pieces of unique glass or cool acrylic surrounding the candelabra, or a half-caged light, our family of brands interpret the lantern concept in multiple ways. 

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For that vintage Colonial look, Troy makes some very authentic-feeling ones, things like Bostonian. Troy also fashions intriguing updates like Domain, with its bevel-edged topaz plates mounted slant-wise and designed to to create a pleasing sequence of negative space. 

Hudson Valley Lighting takes the basic elements and concocts steampunk fantasies, like Vestal. Mostly though, it offers clean-lined versions of classic patterns and motifs in beautiful finishes.

Mitzi has different ideas about lanterns. How can we take an antiquated notion of illumination design and make it feel fresh and current? Traditional pagoda-like lanterns with fun colors and oblique references to basic lantern shapes are some of our latest addition to the family's first takes on this question. 

To explore more lanterns, check out our complete collection across all brands.