Lamp: how to clean, how much to clean, how to finish
So I recently bought this little deco-moorish lamp. It was sold to me as cast iron and my original plan was to paint it satin black or ORB, before taking it to the electrician for rewiring.
However, when I began cleaning it prior to painting, I found brass color on the high spots on the base. The center medallion is a silvery grey, as is the underside of the base, The neck is brass colored.
In the cleaning, Barkeepers Friend did little to nothing. When I switched to plain old dishwashing liquid and a scrubby, the grime started coming off, revealing the metal colors.
A couple of questions: Is it cast iron, with brass plating in parts? It does not rust with the washing, which has been my experience with iron. It is too heavy to be spelter (I think). The casting also seems to be too smooth and fine for iron.
Second question: how much of the "grime" should I try to take off?
Third question, should I even paint it? I kind of like the two-tone metal look with patina, but is that look too esoteric? Paint would be unobjectionable, but what about unpainted?
And finally, if I decide to leave it unpainted, how should I protect the bare metal from rust?
It is the first four pictures in this photo album: