Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Marbro Alabaster Lamps-- Serendipity II

I love serendipitous gifts and occurrences as that is when I am awe struck by the interconnectedness (that's a long word) of life and the presence of God. These lamps are a perfect example.....In December I bought the lamp on the left from a dealer friend who had had a very serious accident and had hospital bills to cover; so I paid him more than he had asked for the lamp. (I know, we're are supposed to haggle--but I hate that. Why can't we simply set a fair price and our clients simply pay the price and the tax without a fuss????)

In January I started kicking myself for buying the lamp (it's not a pair, how will I ever make any money with just one lamp, I paid toooo much, etc.), but I decided to go ahead and rewire the lamp (I rewire all of my lighting or have a professional check the wiring to make sure that everything is up to standard safety norms) and price it to sell quickly. So I called Lupe--great electrician--who just happened to be coming by that afternoon; when Lupe arrived and I showed him the lamp, he became very quiet. And when he spoke, he said: "I have a lamp just like that at my shop". Of course, I immediately (after I stopped jumping up and down) wanted to know if it was for sale and who owned it. SERENDIPITY was definitely at work (even through my negativity). The lamp was for sale!!! Unfortunately, the owner had asked Lupe to strip off the original painted surface which Lupe had already done (unhappy face).......

But I bought the lamp and Lupe was able to match the tarnished gold paint (he also replaced the sockets and rewired both lamps). Now the quest began to get Sergei (professional artist who does super restoration work--WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT) to match the patina on both lamps.........Sergei came and picked up the lamp; brought it back without the patina; he picked up both lamps  two weeks later to redo the work............and it is now three weeks since I last saw Sergei and I am still waiting for the return of the lamps. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN BY A JOURNEY!!! I bought shades for the lamps last week (large black parchment shades are very pricey) and Sergei should be bringing back the lamps in a couple of days. We will see...

Here are detail photos of the alabaster lamps and they are gorgeous. The carving, impressive size and the antique Roman form make these very desirable and although they were bought separately, they are a matched pair with both lamps retaining their original Marbro stickers. These lamps would be great in a traditional antiques-filled interior or even integrated into a mid-century modern design. The alabaster urns were carved in Italy in the 1960's and the lamps were fabricated in the Los Angeles studio of the Markoff Brothers  (Marbro).

First Marbro Alabaster Lamp

The devil is in the details and only Sergei knows how to do the patina!! The lamps will be gorgeous when I finally get them back home and this will have been a journey that has lasted for more than 4 months. So please, when when you spy that perfect decorative object that you have been searching for months (maybe years) to locate, don't work the dealer too hard. Making sure that all of the details are perfect is definitely worth the price that the dealer is asking. Besides, if a lay person were to do the restoration, rewiring, lamp shades buying, etc. it would cost many times more in time spent researching restorers, getting a restorer to do it right, and the extra charges for retail as opposed to wholesale pricing.

I'll post photos of the completed pair of lamps (hopefully by Friday--please, Lord). Even though it has been a struggle to get these lamps ready, I smile every time I think of them and am reminded of their gift to me. And I am so grateful to live in a world where we are connected to each other in an amazingly invisible, but tangible way.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey. Jones says "hi"--he loves both Lupe and Sergei.

Mary and Jones (and Cole)


  1. Incredible story and how connected these lamps were to find one another....somehow you were the Master at bringing them together. I bet you must be so excited to see them.

  2. Hi Patricia---You have no idea!! Thanks for your comment. Mary

  3. All great things are worth waiting for Mary... These lamps will be stunning... xv

  4. Hi Vicki, Thank you. Yes, just like raising children. Have a wonderful week-end. Mary

  5. MJH-
    I will hold 7 frogs aside for you just as soon as they are ready!