Grandmother's Room, Hipolit House, Kraków

The screen with embroidered multicoloured lyre, baton, and oak leaf wreath is a cover that dims the overly bright light of the lamp. Covers like this began to appear in houses with the stearin candles invented in France. They gave off strong white light, much brighter than the previously used tallow and wax candles with a dark yellow flame. The bright white candlelight seemed so strong to the people of that time that they feared its brilliance would be harmful to the eyes. And so, they invented the 'umbrelka', a tiny lampshade or screen to cover the flame. Sometimes they were suspended above candle holders in such a way, that they rotated to reveal pictures. Women also complained about the white light of stearin candles, considering it less flattering than the warm, yellow light of wax candles.  

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