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Meet the designer: our lampshade collaboration with Jane McCall

Meet the designer: our lampshade collaboration with Jane McCall

They may seem like a grace note in an interior, but lampshades can be transformative, as Jane McCall knows. She tells the story of a client who owns a dozen of her pieces, swapping them around monthly to update her home. ‘It’s so simple to do, but it changes the whole look of a room,’ she says. The two lampshades Jane has designed for Neptune’s new collection reflect her much-loved signature style, fusing a romantic painterliness with elements of chinoiserie. Depicting plumed birds surrounded by branches and blossom, they recall the spontaneous charm of Bloomsbury Group interiors, where every surface is a playground for joyful brushstrokes.

These lampshades are more decorative than many Neptune pieces, but still perfectly in tune with our collection, and Jane has used Neptune paint shades to create each design. They’re intended to complement any of our lamp bases, or, as Jane suggests, a vintage find. What makes them special is their handmade quality. They start life as paintings on paper. ‘I have to create a pattern that I can split into sections,’ Jane explains. ‘Most lampshades are just flat patterns stuck onto a drum, but my designs are created to fit a specific shape. I might make 30 versions before I hit upon one that works.’ Once she’s happy with an idea, it’s repainted on fabric, then scanned into a digital format and printed – the only part of the process that isn’t done manually. ‘You’d never guess that the shades are printed – they still have that hand-painted look.’

A former potter, Jane set up her studio, Bloomsbury Revisited, in 2019 with Jane Howard, a PR executive turned farmer. She’d admired the Bloomsbury Group for many years, ever since a friend made a documentary at Charleston. ‘I loved the way they brought together so many different styles – architectural details, Italian frescoes, Impressionism,’ she enthuses. As for the lampshades, the idea of using these as a medium came to her while running art courses for Curious House in East Sussex. ‘I thought they were a good way to explore the Bloomsbury style for a day course,’ she explains. ‘Lampshades are beautiful and useful, and if you make a mistake, you can just paint over it.’

Now that she’s turned her spark of inspiration into a successful business, Jane’s creativity evolves naturally, inspired by the surroundings of her waterside studio. ‘The light, the trees, they all find their way into my designs,’ she reflects. ‘My work changes with the seasons. It’s the same with Neptune – every time I look, it’s evolved anew.’

You can see more of Jane’s lampshade designs for our collection online here or in store. You can also watch the film of our trip to Jane’s home and studio over on Instagram.