The unsolved mystery behind my latest acquisition


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lampBy Elle

I work hard at not acquiring too much “stuff” — would you believe my beloved just laughed at that? — but every now and again something tugs at my sleeve and won’t let go. Case in point: this lovely antique brass table lamp with a parchment paper shade depicting four Parisian cityscapes that I found, naturally, at the Craft & Antique Co-op in Painesville.

My maternal grandparents were huge collectors of “stuff;” their basement was, quite literally, covered wall-to-wall (including ceiling!) with finds from “rummage” sales, and much of what they collected was high quality, thanks mostly to my grandmother, Rose. She had a good eye for quality glass; my grandfather, Wally, on the other hand, had a good eye for the ladies, and he liked to collect naughty things. I remember being horrified the first time I peered into one of his tiny handheld viewers and discovered a smiling topless woman. I vaguely recall asking my mother why Grandpa liked those things and getting a giant eye roll and sigh in return. 

Beautiful lamps with painted shades were among my grandparents’ many acquisitions, and I grew to love that lamp style as well. I inherited one of their brass lamps, the shade for which depicted a Dutch countryside, but, much to my sadness, the shade eventually got broken.

So when this lamp tugged at my sleeve, I couldn’t possibly walk away without it. The lamp has no markings whatsoever, but through some Google searching, I discovered that the scenes are reproductions of a series of watercolor prints by a little-known artist, born in 1913 in the Netherlands, named Rie Pluim. I put the age of the lamp at about 70 years or so.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

According to the artist’s prints, this scene is of Notre Dame, although the original print is much larger. This reproduction captures only the lower section of the original because of the shade’s aspect.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

This scene depicts Rue Norvins et Sacre Couer Montmartre

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

This scene depicts Place de L’Opera, a far left view of the original

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

This scene depicts a far right view of the Place de L’Opera

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

The lamp is in pristine condition except for a tiny spot of discoloration on one side of the shade and two bits of missing “tape” on the shade. Here you can see an open section where the light shines through.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

The lamp takes regular light bulbs. I’m using CFL bulbs now but plan to replace them with LEDs because I’m concerned about heat on the parchment shade.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lamp

I inherited the Seth Thomas mantle clock on the right from my grandparents. Need to have it adjusted, though, so it can tell me the time!

I wish I knew more about this lovely lamp, but sometimes not knowing has its own rewards.

What do you have that is a source of mystery? Tell us about it in the comment section!

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