Mike Sparks admits he has a good surname for a specialist in antique lighting.

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1 How did you get your start?

An antiques dealer I was shadowing challenged me to restore a bunch of brass ceiling lights he’d picked up at an antiques fair and with a surname like mine I just had to have a go. Lately I’ve worked on a range of lights: Art Deco table lamps, Contemporary 1970s wall fittings and most recently a small chandelier for a client of mine, Guy Savill, who owns The Pedestal auction house near Henley.

2 What’s a ‘holy grail’ in your field - something you would love to get your hands on?

For me it would be a genuine Carlton Ware Guinness Toucan table lamp with original shade, or anything by Lalique. Outside of lighting, one work I love is the painting Interior by Georg Achen displayed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It is a particular favourite - I can stare at it for hours…


This ‘Sputnik’ style 1970s chrome and plastic ceiling light is offered by The Light House for £250.

3 What is one item you could not do without?

A pair of shade ring pliers - so often shade rings are stuck and this tool, which I picked up on eBay, never fails. Never seen another pair.

4 Do you have a collection?

We have a home stuffed with antiques and paintings displayed in every room. Thankfully my wife and I seem to like the same sort of things.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Neither - a glass of St Emillion Grand Cru always hits the spot