3rd November 2021

Case Study: Goodwood House 

Goodwood House was the site of TM Lighting’s very first commission in 2012, when the company’s co-founder, Andrew Molyneux, visited the estate to demonstrate a prototype picture light. The rest, as they say, is history.

TM Lighting’s founders, Andrew Molyneux and Harry Triggs, had identified that the classical Picture Light was sorely in need of innovation. The technology had received little improvement since the birth of the electric picture light a century previously, and standard practice had been to light art collections with a lamp that used an incandescent bulb. This was inefficient, high-maintenance and damaging for the artworks. TM Lighting’s first historic house project was rare in that it had an art collection that was already lit, although with outdated S15 incandescent bulbs. One of the challenges would be to seamlessly phase in the new lighting.

TM Lighting’s first commission was given to the fledgling business by James Peill, Curator of the Goodwood Collection, who was aware that Molyneux had identified a demand in the art world for more effective lighting and was working on a solution. Peill’s commission was for the Earl of Darnley, painted by Livinius de Vogelaare in 1568 and depicting the deceased Earl lying in state while his family (the Earl and Countess of Lennox) grieve. The current owner of Goodwood House, Charles Gordon-Lennox, Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny, is a descendant of the figures depicted, and his own portrait is displayed above this work. The painting is one of the jewels of the Collection but, situated in the Red Hall, in the core of the House, it receives very little natural light and thus it was crucial for the work to be lit properly.

TM Lighting’s approach was to redesign the picture light ‘from the ground up’. Molyneux and Triggs were the first to develop a picture light that employed high Colour Rendering Index (CRI) LED lighting and sculpted the light to ensure that artworks, even as tall as four metres could be viewed with an even spread of light, now seen as gamechanger for the industry. The prototype brought the colour of the Earl of Darnley to life more than ever before, and its success led to the broader commission to light all of the paintings in the Goodwood Collection.

As Goodwood House was already lit with outdated, ineffective incandescent bulb picture lights, the brief was to update every picture with a light source that was conservation friendly, while maintaining the colour accuracy of the art on display and reduce the energy and maintenance costs. TM Lighting worked with James Peill and the Duke of Richmond (then Earl of March) to create a light that achieved this. The design brief was very particular, so TM Lighting created a customised hood to coincide with the existing design that contained the S15 lightings fixtures that enabled the old and new generation fittings to blend seamlessly as the latter were phased in.

TM Lighting’s LED-equipped lights have no ultraviolet or infrared lighting and no ‘heat throw’, unlike incandescent bulbs, meaning they do not cause the fading damage of the old-style lights. This was crucial for the continued conservation of the Collection, which includes not only oil paintings but also encompasses highly delicate works on paper.

TM Lighting not only enhanced the viewing experience with conservation friendly lighting but made significant energy and maintenance savings for the client. The LED-equipped lights are as much as ten times more energy efficient than the old incandescent bulb picture lights. The old bulbs also had a much shorter lifespan, and, on average, seven bulbs in Goodwood House needed to be replaced a week. This was even more of a challenge when the bulbs in question were out of reach, in elevated positions in the state rooms or above tall staircases, necessitating a scaffold to be used. TM Lighting’s LED lights have enabled a saving of more than £5,000 a year in energy reductions, maintenance labour and new bulb costs. The vastly reduced energy output has had the added benefit of making the operation of the house more sustainable.

Over a nine-year period, TM Lighting installed new picture lights for more than 250 works in the Goodwood Collection, in rooms throughout the house. Because every artwork in the Collection is unique, a meticulous process was used to ensure that the lighting was perfectly focussed for each one. In the Ballroom, the pre-set lighting provision has been further enhanced with Bluetooth technology, allowing the lights to be individually adjusted, then globally dimmed all via an app to create a soft-glow when desired, as specifically requested by the Duke.

Since the commencement of the Goodwood House commission, TM Lighting has brought museum grade lighting to historic homes across the country. This technology has since been developed further to create a range of lighting products to light collections in galleries, museums, hotels, restaurants, commercial spaces and private residences. However, no other undertaking to date has been of this scale. The project has been a complete success, with both owner and curator extremely pleased with TM Lighting’s work. James Peill says “we gave them a very specific brief and they worked with us to create something that was both traditional in appearance and top class in its capabilities. We would have no hesitation in recommending them”. The UK’s leading art lighting specialist has ‘brought art to light’ for one of the country’s highest calibre private art collections enabling the artworks to be enjoyed in their true light for generations to come.

Watch this video to learn more about our work at Goodwood House