Tuesday, August 9, 2016

LITTLE GEM--PURE AMERICANA


Last week was one of amazing gifts. The Tuscan Baroque consoles were one of those gifts, but the little table shown above is another.
In fact, this beautiful table may surpass the Tuscan consoles in desirability and rareness (is that a word?). When the table came to the block, the auctioneer announced that it was a "cut-down antique table" or coffee table. I hadn't seen it during preview the day before, but just glancing at it I knew that it hadn't been cut-down. The legs and their period turnings were perfectly proportioned as were the drop leaves


I didn't know the condition of the table, but felt it was worth the gamble as I knew it was a highly desirable American Child's Table--Late Federal/ Early Sheraton Period (c.1825-35). When I picked up the table on Friday, I was astonished: the little table was in near mint condition and appeared to be 100% original--the underside being as beautiful as the top. As I have studied the table a bit, I'm struck by the fact that the cabinetmaker used a beautifully figured (and much more costly) maple to fabricate the table, the figuring is of the highest level.


No expense was spared--and this care seems to have protected this little jewel over its nearly 200 years of life. I feel honored to be watching over this special table....I'd love to give it to my little granddaughters, but I do not think it would remain in this condition for very long--they are rough little soccer players.
So hopefully, the table will go to a new home quickly and I won't be tempted to take her home with me.

We've been enjoying a break from the heat--gorgeous southern California weather.

Blessing for the week.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, August 5, 2016

I SCORED (BIG TIME)

One of the dangers--well, not really dangers, but definitely temptations, is that when we sell, there is money to spend.......
Wednesday, I previewed my Thursday haunt. There were quite a few pieces that caught my attention--but really didn't think that they would hammer at my price points........quick look:


Gorgeous George II/III cross-banded walnut slant front desk with original hardware (even the insides were great) one problem: I think that the bracket feet might have been replacements. I used to buy these guys, but haven't had too much luck with English pieces lately--so this guy was a "no".


This George II/III small chest of drawers was just as beautiful as the slant front desk and in really great condition--but can you spot the problem? Yep, once again, it is the bracket feet. They have been reduced in height and that really lowers the value of the chest. You could restore the feet, but with English pieces not selling that well, not a good idea.
Next I spied this phenomenal pair of bronze (or brass) candlesticks.


For years I collected 17th and 18th c. brass candlesticks--primarily while living in Spain and then here, upon our return. But I sold the collection several years ago, keeping only the miniatures. However, I have always wanted a pair (or even a single) of this type. The pair that showed up at auction are 17th c. Dutch with a large mid-drip pan; iron prickets were added to the nozzle (I think that's what the candle holding section is called). I didn't take photos of the underside (most important for dating purposes) but these guys were "right": exactly what I have coveted for more than 20 years. But did I really need them? Is there a big market for them right now? Or am I simply feeling my addiction start to raise its unwanted head?............. To be safe, I decided to not go to the auction until I was reasonably sure that these amazing pieces had already gone to the block. I don't know what they sold for, but I was on to other quests.


I brought home this set of 6!!! mid-century forged iron and woven leather folding stools--aren't those great balls!! I scored with these guys......... Just look at the great patina to both the iron and the leather and all were in superb condition.
Next, I spotted this French early 18th c. trestle table and I wanted her--the detail, the authentic wear and patina, the color are all the best.



Placed around the trestle table was a set of 6 Directoire (c. 1790-1800) walnut dining chairs all in perfect condition


Being a chair addict, I wanted them soooo badly. But I refrained, even when they sold at a very low price. You see, I was saving my pennies for these beauties.






On Wednesday, when I previewed, I knew that I wanted both the trestle table and these consoles.....I really didn't think I had a chance for either one of them. Trestle tables like the French table usually sell for about $2500-$3000. And a PAIR of 18th c. Italian Baroque Consoles usually sell for about $4000-$5000 at high end auctions (and some of the heavy-hitters were in the room). But with the knowledge of: "nothing ventured, nothing gained", I was determined to make an attempt.
The Italian (actually, I think Tuscan is the appropriate term--"Italy" did not exist until the 19th c.) Consoles were the first to come to the block. I really don't know who messed up or why, but the auctioneers didn't pull the consoles up to the block, they didn't even comment on how great they were or that they were 18th c., etc. The auctioneer simply left them against the wall behind and partially hidden by a huge Renaissance Revival dining table and chairs. (That was my first indication that I might have a chance) The bidding started at $100--(I thought that Don had lost his marbles: why so low?) I came in at $600 and won the bid at $1000 even (plus 18% buyer's fee). I couldn't believe it. These are the times I am very much aware of the Heavens convening to grant me my wishes. This is when my awareness of connections and blessings overflows. (You can go to 1stdibs to see comps on consoles similar to these guys)
The French Trestle table came up very soon after the consoles. Sure enough, the table was taken to the block and really talked up (praised) and she sold for about $3000.
I was so glad that I had followed that whispered advice to buy the consoles as I would never have bought the table (at that price) in a million years. Tables like the French one are being shown in many of the current shelter magazines; so that probably accounts for its price point.
I bought a few more items--they'll wait for another post.

Just a quick note on the campaigning ventures: GO HILLARY!! 

Jones badly needs a haircut, but I spent his spa money on the Tuscan consoles...I think he'll get over it (but only if I keep the air conditioning on as he gets very hot with all of the hair).

Have a great summer week-end. We are celebrating my daughter and very talented grandson's birthdays with a big family celebration--can't wait to see everyone.
How is it possible that it's August already?Hopefully, our weather will stay on the cool side as Pasadena can be hot-hot-hot.

Mary & Jones & Cole


Saturday, July 30, 2016

FORGOT TO DO MY HOMEWORK--KARL SPRINGER SCAVO GLASS VASES


I bought these guys a few weeks ago--I thought they were cool and perhaps Murano. I priced them rather low, not thinking they were anything important. I also posted them to Chairish at a very low price.
As I was checking out another piece, I saw a glass item that looked quite similar to mine-----which then forced me to research these vases.
Turns out that the above "amphora" vases were most probably designed by Karl Springer for Seguso (Murano). The amphora form dates to Roman times and the vases have been finished in an acid bath which was an attempt to replicate Roman glass dating back two thousand years. Both Seguso and Cenedese worked with this type of finish and form. And Karl Springer designed in this style for Seguso.
I quickly tore off my price tag and took down the posting to Chairish.  That was a close call!! 

Have a great summer week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

I was glued to the Democratic Convention. My patriotic spirit is flying. We are all so incredibly fortunate to live in this amazing nation. We must all vote as our voices count. And a woman heading a major party's ticket?? Long time overdue.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

TRESTLE TABLES: MINE VS. THEIRS

I received an email from Restoration Hardware featuring their "reclaimed wood" (read: splinters) trestle table and I though that I would do a quick simple post contrasting their table with my trestle table. But then realized that I needed to include a short history of medieval trestle tables, being that they were the first real tables, which then sent me down the rabbit hole of Google looking for photos and descriptions of Medieval and Renaissance tables..........so here goes:
We all know that the Medieval Period in European history was pretty rough. There were the Nobles, Lords, Knights (not really in very shiny armor) and romantic ladies watching jousting tournaments. The reality of daily existence was actually very bleak. (Remember that the kings moved from castle to castle as each one became exceedingly filthy--and remember, people bathed only a very few times a year!!) The castles were working enclaves with the nobleman surrounded by his knights, and "underlings". The "Great Hall" of the Castle was a multipurpose space where much of the work of the Lord was carried out, including the common meal. The tables used to seat the vassals were assembled and disassembled before and after the main meal and were pushed out of the way when not in use. These table were roughly constructed of two or more saw horse-type pedestals surmounted by a long single board plank top.


The above table dates to c. 1520 and is a bit later than the earliest tables, but is representative of the saw horse/trestle form.

  
The massive oak timbers have ensured its survival. This table was one of the original furnishings of "Sutton Place" Manor and is in surprisingly great condition with wonderful deep patina and soul.
The table would be joined by a pair of benches of similar form, here is one example




(Just a quick note--Being raised in Mexico and living in Spain for seven years gave me a passion for these ancient pieces--to touch them and imagine what they have witnessed, the secrets they have overheard brings the past intimately into the my present.)
The next table represents a small leap in the development of trestle table--the table has become a bit more permanent and lighter but still easily disassembled. These are English examples, but the 


forms were common to most of Europe.
In the 17th and early 18th centuries the table became more streamlined as shown in the next few examples





And one of my favorites, this little rustic trestle table



This last example (above) is my absolute favorite (the Basque Country is a little slice of heaven)--it is a rare Basque, probably French, perhaps Spanish, 17th c. walnut and forged iron trestle table detailed with chip carved walnut supports and a single molded plank top.
There are many, many examples of antique trestle tables--I have pulled these few from 1stdibs and from www.periodoakantiques.com. Axel Vervoordt is a great reference for furnishings of this period.

Now to get to my original intention: RH's table vs. my table. 


After looking at the 16th through 18th century authentic tables, doesn't this one seem boring and stiff? Those pedestal are too chunky, this is supposed to represent an 18th c. style, but it lacks the grace of 18th c. pieces. It's more like a 16th c. table without the mystery.
Now here's my (probably made in Italy) 20th c. version of a trestle table


The table still does not have the grace of a period table, but the columns end supports are more refined and "finished" than the RH table. I also love that the designer of this table chose to cant its corners--no more bruised hips. In this photo the table is paired with a French bench dating to the late 18th/early 19th c. Now I'm pairing the table with a pair of Spanish Revival early 20th c. forged iron and walnut trestle benches (I really need to take better photos of these benches) which are highly unusual in their own right.


Newer examples of the trestle table include mid-century chrome and glass tables


And this Milo Baughman campaign style desk


The humble saw horse never imagined that it would become a testament to the timelessness of great design in its most minimalist form.

I have been watching the Democratic Convention and listening to the amazing men and women who have spoken on behalf of Hillary. Of course, President Obama's speech was exactly what our nation needed to hear, but Cory Booker's words opened another page in history. Now it's up to us to work to prevent The Supreme Narcissist from being elected.

Blessing for our nation.

Mary & Jones & Cole 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

LOOKS LIKE BROWN IS MAKING A COME BACK


This is the little English table that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I usually don't buy such dark and newer or "married" pieces of furniture--but there was this little voice that said buy me. The square base of the table is oak and it's an early 18th style--except for those feet. (True 18th c. pieces and copies have bun feet) The associated top does date to the early 18th c. and has great patina. I think what caught my attention is the practicality and rustic look--perfect for a breakfast room or any casual space. 
Yesterday I had enough time to read my copies of AD and Elle Decor....... Looks like my paying attention to that little nudge was a good idea. 
The first photo (Elle Decor) is of Nate Berkus' new townhouse in New York--look at that kitchen table!!


Nate's table is French and several notches up from mine, but the lines are the same, it's dark and that scrubbed top is not that different from my guy.
I grabbed the next two photos from AD and Elle Decor. This large French "money" table is spectacular, as are the mid-century chairs.


What is striking (and perhaps an indication of future trends?) is the large antique dark wood table combined with mid-century chairs and that spectacular modern light fixture--and it works together perfectly, the furniture taking the place of art or sculpture.
Last up is a large family dining room table (Elle Decor). The room is very traditional, ....that dark wood is cropping up again--the legs are chunky and 


                                                                         the table has great patina--if the room were smaller my table would make a very good substitution.
I've been waiting for good antique tables and case pieces with patina and interest to return to the design repertoire--and IT'S HAPPENING.

Last up is Sam (grandson)




Sam (13) spent half an hour getting his hair "just-so" this morning so that he could go to the beach looking like a stud. The hair do made it through to the movies tonight. He's pretty cute, isn't he.

Jones & Cole say "hi" they are patiently waiting at my feet for a t-r-e-a-t.

Be well,
Mary & Jones & Cole






Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE '60s

I just watched CNN's series The '60s"-- as a product of the 1960s, having come to adulthood at the very end of that tumultuous decade, watching and re-experiencing that time period was mind opening. I think it is impossible to understand the current political upheavals without a thorough understanding of what the 60s meant to American society.
Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are products of that decade. A decade where the youth yearned for and sought peace. A decade that was seminal to the birth of social consciousness.
We know how Trump turned out. I hope and pray that Hilary took to heart the lessons of the 60s.
We need a president who will allow the lessons of the 60s to give birth to a renewed spirit of creativity, generosity, awareness, true equality under the law, a resurgence of the middle class, control of the excesses of Wall Street and corporate power (etc.) In the 60s we protested Monsanto--50 years later we are still protesting Monsanto.
I could remain on my soap box, but I will leave it to everyone to express their own values and hopes for this great nation.
I strongly urge everyone to obtain a copy of "The 60s" and watch it in one sitting. 
Thanks for letting me spout.

Mary

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Historian Ken Burns denounces Donald Trump




This interview with Christianne Amanpur is one that all Americans should see. I will return to non-political posts. As an individual who loves this amazing country, I feel that I must raise my voice a little louder against a fear mongering, hate spewing, narcissistic candidate who lies about this financial strength of the United States, promotes racism and xenophobia. 
Please share this video.

Mary, Jones & Cole