Friday, December 12, 2014

New Swedish Shipment!

Greetings ~

So here it is: another holiday season! I hope you are feeling as festive as I am. Jingle! Jingle!! What are your holiday plans?

Christmas Eve is traditionally spent with the Troeschels, and this year, Tom's brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Chris, will graciously host the family at their beautiful home bejeweled in the season's splendor. Then on Christmas, my family is coming to our place. Because my sisters love cooking AND are so good at it, they have offered to bring all the food. Sweet, right? Oh, I might get a few "store bought" pies ;-)

Now I want to share a preview of our newest shipment fresh from Scandinavia. It's a classic full of favorites: sculptural clocks, fitted secretary desks, vitrine cabinets, pairs of chests, and other clean-line pieces. So when you are out shopping or running errands, please pop in.
In the shipment are a few Swedish sideboards, such as this lovely one with curved ends that step back.
Bringing together four centuries here: the Continental carved marble head is 18th century; the Swedish sideboard is from the 19th century; the Montparnasse framed still life by Edmond Ceria is dated 1923; and the sculpture is new.
Another Swedish sideboard with gracious form. This one has handsome carved reeding and fluting.

Tom and I found an eclectic collection of 1700s and early 1800s Swedish tall-case or Mora clocks - many scraped back to the original paint. Each unique one is full of charm, character and presence. Interestingly, our first Swedish antique was a Mora. And though they are popularly known as Mora clocks (after a town in Sweden), these curvilinear beauties were made all over Sweden. 
ABOVE (left to right): A sculptural footed clock from Fryksdalen in Varmland; a blue-green early painted Mora with classic hourglass shape; and a tall Gustavian reeded one from Vasterbotten. 
Two more! ABOVE: A pale gray one with beautiful carved details. BELOW: From the 1770s is this fine and elegant Rococo clock.
Many Swedish painted secretaries have also arrived. This tall one, made in two parts, has a plethora of drawers. It would make a stunning statement piece in a foyer, living room or bedroom. With a silver tray on the desk and doors opened to showcase plates, it would be smashing and unexpected in the dining room.  
This blue painted secretary desk, with its sharp lines, can go traditional or modern.
From Halsingland comes this special secretary in all of its "fitted" glory. There are a total of 25 drawers, niches and compartments. Can you find them all? Hint: the top lifts up for secret storage. I can only imagine the stately home that once housed this important piece of furniture. 
Speaking of important, this Swedish Neoclassical Ca 1820s gilded and carved wood (not plaster) cartel clock certainly is that. Made in Stockholm, the clock with its enamel dial and convex glass is crested with double cornucopias flanking the figure of Mercury. Supporting the dial is a pair of mythical winged horses over a plinth of acanthus foliage.
Do you like the secretary accessorized with creamware or topiaries?
Let's check out a few new "old" tables. ABOVE: A Rococo free-standing table with shaped apron on all sides. BELOW: A Gustavian small console having narrow depth. 
I have a fondness for tea tables, game tables or consoles with candle slides. They take me back to a time illuminated by candlelight.
When it comes to cabinets, I like them tall; the taller the better! This Ca 1790s vitrine is the quintessential Swedish Gustavian case piece with its humble form and quiet elegance. Standing at 92" high, it somehow seems to float on those little feet.
Flanking the vitrine is a near pair of Swedish blue painted chests in the Gustavian style.
Mixing Swedish with French. Both the Louis Philippe walnut armoire and landscape painting are French. The Baroque chair (Ca 1760s) and pair of bedside tables are Swedish.
Pale and definitely very Swedish in this corner. Another super tall vitrine with Gustavian armchairs and cabinet with trompe l'oeil laurel wreaths.
BELOW: An 18th century Baltic console with later painted surface. The white faience piece on top is a French brassero from the Directoire period (Ca 1790s). It once served as an elegant portable heater.
Stools and benches! Need some?
A charming small commode with an unusual arrangement of five graduated drawers. Here's a mini Perrier for scale.
Shown here is one of a pair of Danish Empire style elmwood open armchairs with pronounced scrolls. The pair of narrow pedestal cabinets are Swedish. They would look smart flanking a doorway - perhaps with plants, urns or hurricanes on top?
And last is this Swedish linen press or cupboard painted in a rich shade of blue gray.
There are a lot more new arrivals, so I hope you'll come in for a visit.

From Edith, Elaine, Jo, Tom and me, warm wishes for a happy holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Brown and White Transferware for Thanksgiving


Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Tom and I will be celebrating with my family in Virginia, and there will be quite the spread of food - from the traditional turkey dinner to authentic Chinese dim sum. Have you ever had turkey over sticky rice? Yum :)

During this time of year, I always think of the color brown - rich, warm and cozy just like my favorite winter throw. Outside, autumn's vibrant hues have all turned brown. Speaking of outside, it has been absolutely frigid, the kind of weather perfect for indulging in hot cocoa. I love that shade of deep chocolate! Of course, Thanksgiving would not be complete without a delectable golden-brown turkey with plenty of gravy. And, this is the time of year I bring out my brown transferware.
Wall color in Java by Benjamin Moore

As regular readers know, I have a weakness or, a few might say, a sickness when it comes to collecting antique china. Since yours truly has accumulated so much ironstone, creamware and transferware, rotating the collections is a necessity: bring some out, put some away. It's the only way to live with such an obsession. When it comes to displaying, I practice what I call "contained clutter." Pile it on en masse and group the pieces all together. This creates more impact than a scattering of individual pieces.

Presenting my brown-and-white transferware...unpacked, cleaned and piled high on this French enfilade / long server:
Most of these date from the late 1800s during the Aesthetic Movement or Aestheticism, a period that championed the philosophy "Art for Art's Sake." Artists believed that beauty alone was reason enough for the creation of their work - a departure from having to justify meaning, purpose and value. In transferware, this freedom of expression resulted in free flowing asymmetrical designs, exotic Oriental influences, and exuberant blooms plucked from nature.
Here is a pretty serving platter in the Petunia pattern by Johnson Brothers of Staffordshire, England. Note its unusual asymmetrical shape. A pair of love birds decorate this vase made for holding hat pins for the fanciful Victorian lady.
ABOVE: Two vegetable or casserole covered tureens from the Aesthetic Movement. The larger one is bordered with festive pinecones - perfect for holiday entertaining. BELOW: A small serving platter featuring a country hunt scene complete with dogs and pheasants.
Popular Aesthetic Movement transferware subject matters include:

-Geometric borders and banners
-Oriental, especially Japanese, motifs such as bamboo trees, chrysanthemum blooms, fans, etc.
-Asymmetrical shapes and patterns
-Gardens, flowers, birds and other animals from nature
-Small postcard-like scenes (called cookies) randomly embedded in the pattern 
Though not related to Aestheticism, I love this French ironstone pate keeper with brown lettering. It was made to advertise Maison Quillet's pate - delicious I would assume!  

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I couldn't write about brown transferware without showing my good friend Ellen Seagraves' enviable and eclectic collection. In addition to being a gifted florist, Ellen is a passionate collector. I've shown her work before in this post. Enjoy this mini tour of her home.    
My favorite piece from Ellen's fabulous collection is this well-and-tree (for catching juice) meat platter with little postcard-like images overlapping each other - it reminds me of a scrapbook. 
ABOVE: A butter pat with a geometric ring hiding a dragonfly.
ABOVE: This prized covered tureen has unusual beading on the handles. BELOW: A display of plates, platters and butter pats create a focal point in the kitchen.
Please say hi to Ellen! Ellen and I met 10 years ago when she wandered into my first shop - we hit it off right away chatting about antiques, flowers and local shops. As mentioned, she is a florist and, obviously, creates many wedding arrangements. Look at her vintage wedding cake toppers. So fun! :)
Ellen, gotta run but thank YOU for sharing your cool finds!! xo

Tom and I have been tasked with bringing the turkey to my family's gathering. And since Tom has never roasted a turkey (and I can't cook), we decided to do a test run with a 13 pound bird. I picked the platter which was my very first brown-and-white piece found on Portobello Road in England almost 20 years ago.     
Ta-da! The turkey came out really good!!! A huge thanks to Tom for making it so dee-lish AND pretty for my little blog :)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I am very grateful that you read my blog. Many thanks ~
Lots of love,