The first time I was beguiled by a lamp came courtesy of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The movie was Charade (1963), and the lamp was an Art Nouveau number placed next to the phone in Hepburn’s hotel room. It is simple and elegant, dark bronze and opaque glass. The stem of the lamp divides at the top like a Y and then each branch curves symmetrically downward into two elongated and glowing shades, making an M.

In Charade, Hepburn is a woman webbed between battling men. The lamp in her room is as slim and graceful as she is, female and rather fallopian. Well, Art Nouveau is feminine, a curvaceous meeting of Orientalist languor, European desire, and missives from Mother Nature. The first time the camera cuts to that lamp, it has moved straight from the faces of Grant and Hepburn, a close-up of him consoling her, and the echo of their two heads in those two shades suggests the couple they will become. I still thrill to that lamp when I re-watch the movie.