I Love Lamp

Well in this case, I love a pair of lamps which I refurbished.


These were originally brass metal lamps of Greek women figures from the 1970s or 80s. Holding a shield and carrying a fruit basket on her head while wearing a traditional Greco dress called a peplos. I found them at Goodwill here in Austin for $10 a piece with lamp shades included. I wasn’t sure about them at first. On the one hand, they reminded me of Art Noveau figure lamps and they are certainly ornate enough for a 1920s style. On the other hand, they are brass and borderline 1980s over the top tacky. What sealed the deal was that someone else started looking at them. They put a light bulb in and tested them, put one in their basket. Talked over them with their friend. I circled around them like a shark and finally they put them back on the shelf. (Tip: If you are uncertain about an item put them in your basket so someone else doesn’t snap them up.)

Once I got home, a little online investigation led me to the realization that these lamps are actually in the Neoclassical style. Sometimes called Regency or Federal, the early 1800s style favored a return to the clean lines and simplicity of the Greek times as a reaction to the excess of the Rococo style. This was the time of the Napoleonic Wars and Jane Austen. Neoclassical never entirely went away and you can find elements of it in many time periods.

Anywho, on to the lamp make-over.

Step 1. Buy some silver spray paint. I used Rust-Oleum Spray Enamel in Aluminum. Worked a treat, covered well, really does spray from any angle and dried really fast. It is shiny metallic rather than just gray colored paint.


Step 2: Be sure lamp isn’t dirty, dusty or greasy. Put down a tarp and spray in a well ventilated place. Remove light bulb and stuff socket with a plastic bag or cloth to keep paint from getting inside.


Step 3: Spray a light coat of paint from a foot or two away. Two light coats are better than a thick runny coat. Don’t forget to spray the cord too.


And Voilà ugly brass to beautiful silver. At first, I thought I would add a fake tarnish to make the silver looked aged. But the more I looked a them the clean silver looked good. The statue had enough detail and relief that just the normal shadows look lovely. Now I have a pair of unique lights and a lovely story and memory for years to come. One good thing about vintage lamps, they are buildt to last.

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