Back lamps are a classic way to add character and charm to paths, entrances, and other spaces.  They were a popular form of lighting in Victorian times. With their nostalgic charm and functional design, the appeal of traditional back lamps remains today.

What are back lamps?

A back lamp can be described as a wall-mounted lighting fixture.  They evolved from the earlier form of lighting known as a “sconce“.  These were made from wood or metal brackets affixed to walls and designed to hold candles or other types of illumination.

What is the purpose of a back lamp?

Today, back lamps are a versatile lighting solution that can be used as an alternative to other fixtures especially when space is limited.  Unlike many other forms of decorative lights, the back lamp does not need to hang from anything else in order for it to emit light.

Back lamps can be designed in many different ways and are often made to custom specifications.  Some back lamps, especially those that follow Victorian designs, often resemble a specific design of street lamp. Others are specifically designed for direct wall mounting without the need for brackets.

Wall mounting offers a space-efficient lighting solution for areas such as passageways, entrance ways, and even for displaying name or number information.  Another common form of back lamp is the corridor lamp, which is designed to be used indoors.

William Sugg early backlamps












This illustration shows a Sugg standard open flame burner from an 1895 catalogue.

Why should you choose a back lamp?

  • They radiate warmth and character

Back lamps provide lighting that effortlessly enhances any space, whether it be a grand entrance, a garden pathway, or an intimate courtyard. With their soft, warm light, back lamps cast a soft glow which creates a gentle atmosphere that is pleasing to the eye.

  • They are timeless

At William Sugg, we understand the importance of finding the perfect lighting solution for each unique setting.  Back lamps are a seamless fusion of classic and contemporary design.

Our team of lighting design experts, driven by our rich heritage as the oldest lighting company in the UK, work to blend traditional looks with innovative technology.  Our extensive selection of backlamps caters to all preferences, whether you’re seeking a classic back lamp or bespoke design with a modern touch.

Victorian design is known for its exquisite metalwork, with a focus on substance and form. With the addition of decorative elements, our heritage back lamps are timeless pieces that embody elegance and good taste.

Bespoke designs can also be created to meet precise technical and design specifications.  Our team of expert designers will create a lighting design that is completely new and modern in its look or one that draws inspiration from our heritage back lamp designs.

Copper back lamp _ William Sugg & Co. Ltd












  • Energy efficiency & longevity

With advancements in technology, back lamps can incorporate energy-efficient LED lighting systems, offering long-lasting illumination while reducing power consumption and environmental impact.  Back lamps possess an impressive lifespan, a testament to their enduring quality and intricate design. Adorned with energy-efficient LED bulbs and sturdy materials, they offer both visual appeal and sustainability.

There is still, however, a firm place for gas back lamps and mock gas back lamps that provide that charming and subtle flicker that is so cherished from the past.

  • Quality and craftsmanship

William Sugg’s heritage back lamps are as stylish today as they were when first designed. Our commitment to uncompromising craftsmanship ensures that any back lamp that leaves our factory will be a beautiful and functional piece for years to come. Modern techniques such as 3D printing and resin moulding can be used to replicate and develop intricate design features that are then made by hand.  They are individually and meticulously handcrafted to become a lasting symbol of sophistication, functionality and style.

  • Versatility

As discussed earlier, back lamps provide efficient and elegant lighting for various applications, such as passageways, doorways, entrance ways (like in a home) or even indoor settings (corridor lamps).

Back lamps are specifically designed for direct mounting onto walls and considered a versatile lighting solution because they combine both utility and elegance.  Intricately crafted with a keen focus on detail, these lamps seamlessly blend form and function.  Today, back lamps bridge the gap between modern and traditional design.

Windsor Backlamp












William Sugg’s heritage back lamps: From open flames to reflectors

William Sugg & Co. Ltd was instrumental in developing and popularising backlamps.  The innovative designs have left an enduring mark on lighting history.

In the early days, back lamps often featured open flame burners. Sugg’s models did, however, evolve over time and continue to do so. They began as glass and metal designs inspired by street lamps but became more popular in the Victorian era for their classic look. Today these architectural lights are just as popular for refurbishment projects and new builds—in both residential and commercial settings

The Windsor Back Lamp, which is a variant of the Windsor lamp with a modified shape for back mounting, is one of our most popular heritage designs.

Here are a few other favourites from the William Sugg line:

Further details on the history of William Sugg back lamps can be found on the William Sugg History website.

Contact us today to discuss your next project

To enquire about a back lamp for your next project, whether this be an existing heritage design, or a bespoke design, contact our team of lighting specialists today.