THERE are two points of view from which the subject of lighting must be considered, whatever the medium employed, whether gas, electricity, oil, or candles are used. There must always, for instance, come first the question of illumination, the giving of sufficient light to read and to live by. Often this is the only point with many persons. After this comes the question of color, which to other people is the one question of paramount importance, overtopping every other consideration, even that of having sufficient light to see by. It is because this question of color is demanding more and more attention that the proper shading of artificial lights has become so all-important to modern householders. Neither the hangings of their windows nor the covering for their walls occasion them more anxiety, for it is readily seen that a bad light may not only destroy one's eyesight, but mar the effect of one's room as well. Even those not "sensitive" to color can be made to understand the difference in some lights by trying a simple experiment. Go, for instance, suddenly from one room in which there is a green shade on the gas-burner, into a room in which the gas globe is white, and at first it will seem that the second room is flooded with a yellow-pink light that is almost dazzling. The green glass of the first room has absorbed all the yellow rays. Yet ordinarily a white light takes the color out of a room and spoils the more delicate tones.

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For beauty and charm and softness there is nothing like a candle. It is, as I said in some other place, always becoming. It never takes the color out of a room, and always adds a note of elegance to it. Even in a well-lighted room, the beam of a candle has a value of its own. It makes a new centre of brilliancy and a new set of shadows. A candle is always picturesque, too, because it always adds varieties of darks and lights on whatever its radiance falls. Many people think to gain the same effect with tiny lamps set with porcelain cylinders and shaped like candles. The quality of the light is never the same. There is a something, to be sure, added to a room when gas is used and the jets are turned down to mere points only as large as those made by small candles. But they do not take the place of candles, for with a candle there is a vibration, a color, a quality which nothing else can emulate. Brass sconces and candles about the walls of a room, and candles on tables and mantelshelves, put a room at once at its best. Turn up a gas-jet, protected by a white glass globe, and all the charm is dispelled. The color flees from sofa cushion and drapery, and a favorite tone in a picture takes on another hue. Nothing is the same. Next to the sunlight, indeed, the most beautiful of all lights is that of the candle.

The aim of the manufacturer or designer of any shade is to produce with gas, lamp, or electric light the softest and clearest tones, those that will not destroy the color of a room, afflict the eyes, nor clash with the general scheme. To accomplish this, they study to produce a shade which will look as well by day as by night, and which, for all its beauty of color and design, will not prevent the light from coming through with clear and steady radiance. This is done by a choice of materials and by many and careful experiments, and the success of certain women who have made the designing of lamp-shades their profession has been due to the fact that they neglected none of these points.

Present fashion demands that all the lamps or lights in any room shall follow one general scheme in both color and design. Variety is lent simply by the difference in sizes. Thus, if there is one Empire shade on a lamp, all the lights must be shaded by Empire shades, and all must reproduce the same colors and tones. The mixing of two or three fashions and periods in shades is as bad as the mixing of fashions anywhere else. In the country, where a lamp on the table is often unhappily a necessity, a larger lamp goes in the centre, and the small candle lamps at the four corners are made to match.

It would be idle to discuss with great detail special patterns in lamp-shades, since the fashion changes from year to year. There is this thing only to be said: No lamp-shade should be out of key with its environment. A shade of lace ruffles and flowers is inappropriate in a den or a library. Its very nature gives it an ephemeral value, and it can never be appropriate except in houses, the owners of which are able to rid themselves of it when shabby without a thought of its cost. Like all faded finery, these shades are objectionable the moment their first freshness disappears, and a room in which one of these old dusty lamp-shades is cherished has lost all its claim for respectability.

The Empire and the panelled shades have held their own for several years. The Empire shades sold in this country differ somewhat from those sold in Paris. The French shade is more like a bandbox with the two ends knocked out. Ours have more of a slope. These shades are made of any and every material - silk, paper, chintz, and cretonne. Some are painted in water-colors, with roses and other flowers. Some have pictures set in them. Many are trimmed with ruchings of silk or a narrow band of gilt. The designs are often most elaborate.

When the Empire shade is made of silk it is finely pleated on the wires top and bottom, and the edges are finished with ruchings of silk to match. The silk can be white, pink, yellow, or cream. When cretonne is used on the Empire shade, it is put on straight, a narrow braid finishes it on the bottom; sometimes a fringe is used.

Although the fashion may change from season to season, the problem of colors never alters, and must always confront the householder. On some bronze lamps, cut metal shades are seen with colored silk linings. The plain linen shade, pleated and edged with silk fringe, has outlasted many whims and changes in taste. Sometimes the linen is plain; again it is stamped with a floral design. These lamp-shades suit many diverse conditions, and prove the most satisfactory purchase for everyday use.

A red lamp-shade is apt to offend. It lacks refinement. Yellow is the most satisfactory.

A good lamp or candle shade may be made of a flowered wall-paper, the border edged with gilt braid or trimmed with a ruching of tissue paper matching either a blossom or a sprig.

The lamp-shade of plain lace has never been altogether dethroned. Different colored silks are put under the lace, which is sometimes drawn plain over the color, and sometimes fulled. When it is used a lace edging takes the place of the fringe. The shapes of the frames vary. Like bonnet frames, they change from year to year. New frames can always be had and the lace fitted to them.

An excellent shade is made of cut cardboard made up over thin white silk and trimmed with a fall of lace about the bottom. When there is electricity in the house, candelabra are often utilized for the mantel, the electric wires being made to run up the backs of the candlesticks, where they remain visible. Thus a pair of glass candelabra may be utilized on a mantel where the decoration of the rest of the room permits, the electric wire running up through the porcelain candle, and the light being shaded by white silk trimmed with thick white crystal fringe that is always scintillating. Electric lights, by the way, are used in many lamps which to all intents and purposes seem those of oil.

Exquisite pieces of bronzes are used for holding electric lights on tables, and many householders pride themselves on the collection of these picked up in the various parts of Europe.

When one has a chandelier interesting effects are produced by small perforated brass crowns set with pieces of glass, cut like jewels, placed about the burners, each jet being turned to a mere point.

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If no more specific directions are given about the choice for shades and the fashion for cutting them, it is because no one general rule can be laid down for their selection, except that which is covered by a question of its color. It often seems to me that there is no more difficult problem in a house than that of making its lights agreeable. A lamp suitable for one room will throw another out of key. The color used in an electric bulb must be quite different from that used over a gas-jet, since one light is white and the other yellow by comparison. It is only by constant study and experiment that the problem can be solved, and this study and these experiments are urged upon every householder if she would make her home interesting. What she should avoid are fluffy and millinery effects, as if spring bonnets had been under consideration, not lights. The designs for the lamps themselves even are not always good, and one must often search through many stores and establishments before a right selection can be made. There is always a dignity about a student lamp which no one can gainsay. The simpler the form of the lamp, the better, unless one can afford all the beauties and intricacies of elaborate and costly inlays and carvings, and even with these the eyes must be respected, and the quality of the light studied.