I was born in Calcutta (before it became Kolkata). And it was there, I suppose, that the seeds of a lifelong love of all things brass were planted.
Brass taps, brass lamps, brass accents – I was surrounded by them and their ubiquity and beauty, whether burnished or tarnished (but always unlacquered) shaped my aesthetic and continues to dictate my tastes.
Over the years I’ve collected…
1. hand-me-downs, cast offs & appropriations like these:
Seen here next to my impossibly glam mum circa 1969.
I came upon them decades later, a bit worse for wear with dents and dings for having been shipped a dozen times, in my parents’ garage. And, once appropriated, I managed to bring them back to their former glory via a rubber mallet, some brasso, a lot of elbow grease and a DIY re-wiring job.
They now grace our living room.
pretty during the day, they work shadow-magic once lit…
I also purloined these:
Initially my parents’ when we lived in Calcutta, they now give me inordinate pleasure as drawer pulls on a daybed in my study and as door handles for our under-stair cupboards.
I sprang at this when it was on offer:
At one time adorning an Orissan woman’s ankle, this brass anklet was fashioned into an ashtray in the ’70’s (and could tell a tale I’m sure about the fabulous Calcutta cocktail parties it witnessed). It is currently living out its third life as a vessel for votives in Brooklyn.
2. flea market finds like these:
assorted brass candle sticks – low enough that there’s no danger of knocking them over mid dining room table once the wine has begun to flow.
3. and bits of foreign lands like these:
A brass, silver (turquoise – on the other side) and leather wallet from Bhutan.
A coffee grinder from Bosnia Hercegovina.
And many, many treasures from my motherland India.
When it came time to source for our renovations, it is perhaps no surprise that I gave full expression to my love of that truly living finish in:
unlacquered brass plumbing fixtures:
unlacquered brass bath accessories:
aged brass light fixtures:
unlacquered brass kitchen cabinet drawer pulls & shelf brackets:
and yes, even (pushbutton) light plates in unlacquered brass:
I did admit I was obsessed (though the above-cataologing has revealed – even to me – just how fervidly).