V&A acquires Salvador Dalí Champagne standard lamps

  • Published 14 March 2019

With support from Art Fund, the V&A has acquired a pair of Champagne standard lamps designed by Surrealist master Salvador Dalí and his patron Edward James.

The lamps have been saved for the nation after they were placed under a temporary export stop when the buyer applied to export them from the UK.

Each lamp is made from 10 oversized copper alloy champagne coupes, one stacked on top of the other, standing on a base in the form of a Victorian papier-mȃchè tray decorated with gold ivy tendrils, berries and leaves.

The lamps were designed by the Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and his patron Edward James for James' house in West Sussex, which the patron, poet and collector hoped to turn into 'a complete Surrealist house'. The two were frequent artistic collaborators, and James’ collection of Surrealist works is considered one of the largest and most important in the world.

Two further works from the collection of Surrealist items created by Dalí and James for the house in Sussex have been acquired with Art Fund support over the past year: the Salvador Dalí lobster telephone for National Galleries of Scotland, and the Mae West Lips sofa, also acquired for the V&A. The sofa and the lamps would have stood together in the house, and they will be reunited for public display in the 20th century galleries at the V&A.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: 'Dalí and James’ partnership is a fascinating strand in the history of Surrealism in Britain. Their highly original Champagne standard lamps are now reunited with their Mae West Lips sofa, which we also helped the V&A to acquire earlier this year. Both will feature strongly in the museum’s Twentieth-Century Gallery, where they can be enjoyed by visitors from around the world.'

Tags: Art we've helped buy