The Booker Prize… and Poirot’s lamp

Not long ago, I received an email from the grandson of the first Booker Prize recipient (P.H. Newby, in 1969). The Booker Prize is a prestigious award for English literature. This gentleman had been using this, your humble Poirot blog, for research. 🙂

When his grandfather received the trophy, the design was of a woman standing and holding a bowl, executed in Art Deco style. It was designed by Jan Pienkowski, who modeled it from an old statue he purchased from a junk shop. The trophy was used for a few years but then changed to something else; more recently they’ve been looking at going back to the original design. My correspondent had been talking to the Booker Prize director about this, and she said she heard the original inspiration was a lamp. He mentioned it to his mother, Newby’s daughter and an avid Poirot fan, and she said, “Oh yes, Poirot has one!”

This led the gentleman to my Poirot blog and a post I’d done on Picasso prints in Poirot’s flat. One of my screen shots has a close-up of Poirot’s distinctive Art Deco lamp (I’d created a miniature replica of the same lamp for one of my 1:12 scale miniature room boxes). The similarities are unmistakable.

I agreed with my correspondent’s suspicion that the Booker Prize was indeed modeled after this very make of lamp. Unfortunately, not being an expert in tracking down antiques, I couldn’t give him any additional ideas on how to acquire this particular kind of item. I wish him luck in his venture!

I thought this was a super-fun story. 🙂 To learn more about the history of the Booker Prize trophy, check out this page!