Anyone else obsessed with the way Wolf Hall is lit? All that lighting and snuffing out of candles adds to the drama and makes everyone and everything look so darn gorgeous.
Huge effort has gone into making not just the clothes authentic, with sleeves pinned on rather than sewn and not a zipper in sight, but the interiors as correct as possible. This includes the atmospheric lighting and using candles made from tallow, rather than using beeswax, as this is what the Tudors would have used. Apparently the candle budget on the production was huge.
With older eyes I’m afraid candle light is NOT the best way to actually get anything done (reading recipes, knitting beanies or telling your children apart) but once you’re organised it certainly makes the place look more atmospheric and cosy. So much so that at one point during episode two I did actually wonder if it would be possible to switch all our electric lights to giant freestanding candelabras like the ones King Henry has in all his rooms.
Obvs, that wont be happening, but I am thinking of increasing the candle count in a more practical way. I really love the copper candleholders above, from NotOn TheHighStreet.com, which are just like the one Thomas Cromwell and his household use to navigate all those spooky rooms after dark and take themselves to bed. These ones start at £12.95.
You may remember in episode one, Thomas swings through the back corridors of Wolsey’s house holding a simple candle lantern, very similar to the ones from the White Company above. The small one is £20, the large one is £45. Very Tudor living….
And then for a bit of royal kingly bling, these shiny gold scented candle holders from Anthropologie might work perfectly. There are three shapes, the pomegranate, the pear and my favourite, the pineapple. Strictly speaking I’m not sure the Tudors were up to speed on the existence of the pineapple, but hey! A little artistic decorative license goes a long way to making things look fabulous, right?
History sticklers might prefer the wooden ones from John Lewis (currently and conveniently in the sale). You can of course pick up wooden candlestick holders from thrift shops and ebay, which is where I’ve bought a few and I prefer the slender wood ones to those chunky numbers (although it’s the thicker ones you see more of in the show). Whatever your preference, group a few together for a massed effect, much more impactful.
And then you need beeswax candles. Again, strictly speaking the Tudors would have had tallow candles, but it’s not that easy to get tallow candles, and anyway, tallow is basically animal fat, so that wont go down well with the vegetarians. Also, I imagine they wont smell as gorgeous as beeswax. This pair of beautiful dipped beeswax candles come from the cool-looking London Honey company -check out all its delicious sounding honey, also very Tudor….- but you can get them all over.
So join me in watching this week’s episode with the correct Tudor – style lighting, just watch out for those flames….