By Lamp Light

Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer, "By Lamp Light", 1890
Photo: Børre Høstland


It is quiet in the room...  

You can almost hear the sound of the crackling wood in the fireplace. 

Outside it is winter and dark...  

The light casts long shadows in the room. Which are reflected in the mirror...  

On the chair we see reflections from the glowing heat in the room. 

The dim and atmospheric lighting helps to collect the colors in large, calm surfaces.  

To the right, we see a large shadow on the wall. Could there be other people in the room...? 

In this evocative painting, we are invited into a simple blue-painted Norwegian living room at the end of the 19th century.  

There is a young woman sitting at a table engrossed in a book in the light of a kerosene lamp.  

The cool blue right side is balanced by the warm, orange colors on the right. 

Backer lived for a few years in Sandvika, in Bærum - a suburb on the west of Oslo. Here she found several of her motifs, including this blue-coloured interior.  

When the painting was exhibited at the Autumn Exhibition in 1890, it was titled Winter Evening, but later it was renamed By Lamp Light.