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AROUND HOME : Notes on Gazebos, Sconces and Teakettles : Antique Fixtures

June 19, 1988|LOIS GIBSON

EASTERNERS TEND to regard Los Angeles as a raw new outpost where bank entrances are pretentiously engraved: "Established 1971." They know something of our Spanish missions but nothing of our Victorian past.

The current craze for restoring and copying l9th-Century homes has kindled new excitement about vintage lighting fixtures, many salvaged from Los Angeles landmarks. Their varied styles reflect the eclectic and rapidly changing tastes of the Gaslight Era.

Shopping for antique fixtures is like taking a trip aboard H. G. Wells' time machine. These authentic electric treasures were spotted recently at Greg's Antique Lighting: an ornate 1840s brass gaselier made of entwined nymphs, their finely wrought arms holding globes and ivy-wreathed Rococo Revival bronze figurine sconces--Neptune driving sea horses--with classically etched Greek Revival shades.

The store also has opulent "combination" chandeliers (gas globes pointing upward, electric globes pointing downward) from the 1890s, when electricity was not universally available, and an extensive selection of art glass shades (etched, sculptured, ribbed, scalloped, fluted, swirled, two-tone, iridescent, Steuben, Tiffany and Quezal).

Hanging carbon and Holophane fixtures and tall art nouveau caryatid figures with amber-globed cornucopia jets were spotted in Laguna Beach; a Santa Barbara trip turned up hinged, adjustable gas sconces, pierced metal shades and simple brass fixtures from the 1870s.

Authentic electric gaslights are available at Greg's Antique Lighting in West Los Angeles, Off the Wall in Laguna Beach and Moriarty's Lamps in Santa Barbara. Early glass-shaped electrical wall and ceiling fixtures can be found at the Red Lion Antique Shop in Long Beach. Polyester resin copies of Victorian Wild West stag-antler chandeliers from the Hamilton Collection are available through Barker Bros. stores.

DR, Ayse Ulay

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