Laing Art Gallery, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle on Tyne

Susie Kennedy, 15.11.2012
The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle on Tyne unveiled a new lighting scheme incorporating the Concord Stadium Pro LED spotlight for its recent exhibition, John Martin: Heaven and Hell.

The results were instantly noticed by visitors and staff, who commented that the colours looked vibrant and added a light purity capable of bringing out the pigments in the paint to show the paintings with a new clarity, as they had been painted in the 19th century.

The paintings are also protected from the effects of the light with no UV/IR emissions from the LED and full dimming control to contain the brightness levels on the painting.

In a move to enrich the visitor experience, the Laing Art Gallery replaced the previous tungsten halogen scheme with the new Concord Stadium.

The gallery chose the 3000k warm white version of the Stadium LED spotlight with a colour rendering index of 93 to show the exhibition in an atmosphere close to gas lighting, which would have been in use when the paintings were shown in the 19th century.

Individual dimming control on each spotlight was used to set the exact light levels required to maximise the impact of the painting on the visitors, highlighting the piece by providing a contrast with the walls and gallery itself.

The project was funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the energy efficiency department of Newcastle City Council.

The energy efficiency unit was able to replace existing 150w halogen spotlights with 25w Stadium LED spotlights, providing an enhanced lighting effect using a fraction of the energy required in the previous scheme.

Finally, the 50,000 hours of life from the LED means that no lamp replacements were required. This was a monthly/bi-monthly task when tungsten halogen lamps failed during an exhibition.

Susie Kennedy is communications officer at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums