Saturday, 26 November 2011
|The Miller, his son and the donkey|
Often they were part of an eleaborate bed-hanging set and over the years the set would either get separated or parts worn and damaged, so you find pieces and rarely an early complete set, which would be very valuable. This piece is a pelmet, and would have hung from the canopy, hand-quilted and backed in home-spun linen.
Just wonderful when you think every part of the process was hand-made from the illustration being drawn, engraved on the copper-plate, hand-printed onto the fabric which in those days would have been loomed but still 'manned', then the hand-work to back the fabric with hand-spun and loomed linen, and to hand-quilt it, finally the making of the piece to fit the bed for which it was ordered. Really only something that wealthy follk could afford, but because of the naive, pastoral style of the fabric it still endures today.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
|Extract from French catalogue c 1900|
Sometimes also the name of an item is lost, either through translation or disuse of an item, for example, I sell hold back hooks, which essentially are anchored to the wall and are composed of brass or bronze 'arms' that hold back the curtain in the way a tassled tie back would, These have a name, which is 'embrasse' or embrace (in direct translation) and that makes perfect sense! The brass curves 'embrace' the curtain fabric. Even French sellers do not know the name, so this catalogue is keeping a name alive, that would otherwise be lost.
Speaking of keeping names alive, I was astounded to hear that Collins say the words 'aerodrome' and 'charabanc' are now obsolete words and will no longer be in their short dictionaries, although they may be of interest to historians! They are lovely words, which I very much connect with a 1920s Miss Marple type world, and the loss of them from the dictionary will surely consign them to history. Use these words as often as you can please, strike back and support charming language! I use these words regularly and I really never thought the day would come where my language was obsolete!! Ouch!
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
|Chatea d'Amboise - Loire Valley|
We took a short trip to the wonderful Loire Valley a few weeks ago, and to some extent you become accustomed to the the view of a chateau as they are so plentiful, however, this does not mean that you don't want to stop and stare! This is the Chateau d'Amboise which is so imposing and the town so charming, right on the banks of the River Loire, the longest river in France. Flowing through the Loire Valley it seems wide, with occasional islands in the centre creating sometimes dangerous conditions (quick-sand and hazardous whirlpools so we were told ) that catch out the unsuspecting traveller. The River Loire rises in the Ardeche at Mont Gerbier de Jonc and flows into the Bay of Biscay at St. Nazaire some 1020 kilometers later (that is 629 miles to us Imperialists). All along the Loire Valley there are vineyards, producing the lightest and most delicious of wines, mostly white, some reds, and plenty of 'methode traditionelle' sparkling wines which are every bit as good as champagne.
Known as the garden of France, the area between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a World Heritage Site, there being a great concentration of Chateaux, around 300!
Whilst in the Loire Valley we visited an antique fair at Chambord, yet another Chateau ( in fact the hunting lodge for King Francois I of France) where we spent the whole day looking at items of all descriptions, including things such as a copper turbotois, the pan in which you would cook turbot, what Mrs. Beeton would call a turbot-kettle, despite it not looking remotely like a kettle but rather kite-shaped. Surely only the French would have such fascinating things for sale!
We found some antique textiles and will be listing them over the next few weeks, as well as some gorgeous bronze curtain fitments, so keep a look out. But in the meanwhile feast your eyes on the chateau built purely as a hunting lodge of the King of France with 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 84 staircases - and just marvel!
|Chateau de Chambord|
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
|Heraldic Lion Rampant|
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Catkins are flowering (they may look like lamb's tails but they really are flowers) on hazel, the puss-in-willow has shown its soft fur and acid yellow aconites and pure white snowdrops are nearly over, with primroses shyly beginning to show their pure but pale yellow petals. My favourite season is coming and the riot of colour is beginning to build.
The interesting thing about colour is that if it were replicated in exact measures on a textile or fabric we would find it gaudy and unrealistic, but somehow context and scale is all. In our textiles we like subtlety and faded tones, and of course, with the passage of a hundred years or more, that is what happens. The dyes fade, light reacts with materials and we have the equivalent of dried flowers. And we love it.
Monday, 31 January 2011
|Original Period Interiors|
We have been wanting to set up this site for a while now, but time always seems to be against us - however we found an excellent photographer, who has been able to capture the 'magic' of the pieces and that has helped us get started.
The site has some superb original Regency columns and doors, as well as garden pieces and we will be adding to these as time goes on. Do take a look, even if out of curiosity!
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
|Snow Geese at South Walk Farm!|
The French however have another filling for their bed-covers: they use sheep's wool in it's 'just sheared' condition (but obviously washed), and then they hand-quilt the bed-cover to keep the pockets of wool in position. It is also light and speaking from personal experience I would say it might even be a little bit warmer than down. These quilts are often very beautiful and usually hand-worked family heirlooms, increasingly hard to find. There are French cotton quilts too which are just an extra decorative layer to add - however if you want real cosiness look for the French wool quilts!