Friday, August 7, 2020

YES!!!....... WE WON


I've commented on the fact that it has been very hard to acquire new merchandise. Almost impossible, without spending a lot more than we usually do....this week was a winner!
I spotted this sofa during preview and fell in love. The form, the carving, the size, the condition and the gorgeous cut (or voided) rust colored silk velvet. The velvet is most probably Italian in origin and of the highest quality--I would never have been able to afford this fabric if the sofa had been in need of reupholstery. There is a tiny bit of wear to the velvet, but it's just enough to make the fabric more interesting. The cushion is down-wrapped and super comfortable.
Here are a couple more shots--I grabbed the photos from the auction listing; so they are not the best quality.




The auction had advertised the sofa as French, but I believe that it is more probably Gustavian (Swedish, but I could be wrong). She was pricey, but not nearly as much as I was willing to pay... Roberto will pick her up on Tuesday and then the real work will start: how to rearrange everything to make her fit.
Here's my quick shot from preview--the color is some place between the two.


Next up: a pair of black lacquered Directoire-style bergeres in very hot pink corduroy dresses. These chairs bring visions of Miles Redd or Alessandra Branca to mind. They are super decorative and in near perfect condition.






Of course, there is something that we just can't pass on, even when the budget groans.........



This is a pair of Chinese copper rice barrels--they were marked garden seats--but their tops lift off; so although of garden seat form, they can actually serve a double purpose. There is a chop mark, which I cannot read. We aren't sure of their age; it's the patina that sucked us in.
Of course, there are always things we want, but didn't or couldn't step up to the plate. These amazing Seguso urns were a good example: I think that they are Karl Springer for Seguso, and there is a signature. But I can't read the signature and wasn't willing to pay over $1700 for the pair w/o knowing who designed them.



And last, but not least: update on new pups. The girls were not cat adapted; so it's been a two-month battle with gates up to separate the three cats from the two other beasties. The gates came down yesterday and everything is progressing--Bailey has only had one scratch to her nose and Roxie could care less. This shot is of Bailey completely fixated on the unseen Maggie.


Thanks for coming along with me---sending blessings.

Mary

How many more days til November 2?? About 90 and I'm ramping up my donation and petition-signing efforts. I truly believe that this is the most important election of our treasured Democracy. Please vote. Please motivate others to vote. Please give what you can--money or time--to return our nation to the rule of law.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

BUSY


Lalo brought back the Gustavian stool today.....as usual, this little piece has a back story. I bought the stool at auction several years ago. When I won the bid, the owner of the auction house yelled out "good luck with that one, Mary".......I immediately thought that I had bought a cheap replica (I had not previewed and simply bid it). I paid for the stool, picked it up and put it in storage thinking that I had made a mistake. Truth be told the stool looked pretty bad as some one had painted over the original paint with thick house paint. Well, my musician grandson pulled it out and was using it as a keyboard stand for his "gigs"......so I decided to take a good look at the stool and upon close inspection realized that it was actually a period piece. So last month I gave it to Roberto to see if he could sand down the house paint and get to the original chalky white surface. Eureka! He was able to do an amazing job.....most of the original paint and gilt work was still there. And last week I gave it to Lalo to upholster in my favorite Clarence House Cerulean blue velvet and nail heads. It's perfect. And I'm also over-the-moon with the serendipitous photo--I didn't stage it; I was simply too tired to position it properly so I shot it while sitting at my desk. I love the richness and layers that showed up in the shot......In my next life I'll learn how to stage photos.......


Lalo also brought back this adorable 18th c. Italian slipper chair that we upholstered in a fine Italian silk velvet......pretty cute.



And last, but not least Roberto picked up the Secretaire Chest and we made a vignette with the Danish klismos chair and the pair of Louis XVI chairs that Gerry and I bought a couple of weeks ago. I had a pair of Fortuny pillows, fabric dates to c. 1950-60, that synced with the rust tone of the silk upholstery found on the chairs (Lalo has the chair slip seat--going to be upholstered in the same fabric as the stool). That's a set of four 18th c. Botanicals to the right that were just waiting for the right place in which to hang. Ooooooops: I forgot to give a shout out to the lamps. They are 20th century majolica renditions of the Piazza della Minerva in Rome. The elephants supporting the obelisks are to die for--the lamps finally found their perfect spot.
I just love it when a plan comes together: I love working with Roberto as our minds feed off of each other; we work in sync, sometimes without even talking.

On to my other passion--exposing and defeating small "t". I could kiss Pramila Jayapal (except we are in "Times of Covid")--she took Barr down (big time) during his testimony today. Another strong woman standing up to the powers that be. Thank you, Rep. Jayapal for making all women proud to be your sisters.

Well, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open....so it's off to bed.

Thank you for reading my ramblings.

Mary

Monday, July 27, 2020

CHAIRS, CHAIRS and MORE CHAIRS and DROP FRONT SECRETAIRES


Darren took me to an estate sales yesterday........I went to look at some French 18th century engravings of monkeys......but look what I brought home. (Sorry about quality of the photo--it was taken at the sale and I had to erase some one's Ipad from seat and water bottle from floor) The minute I saw the chair, I knew that it was a great one--the highly carved splat, great klismos form, flamed mahogany and carved legs were making it sing. But I wasn't quite sure of its origin. After I got home, I started researching the chair----it's Danish and of an exceptional form. All it needs is for Lalo to reupholster the slip seat--and I think I will have just enough Clarence House Blue velvet left for the seat. Here's another shot of the chair that shows the elegant klismos back sweep. It's pretty handsome.


I scored on the chair...but I think I over paid for this gorgeous American Butler's or Secretaire chest.











I think that I was swept away by the beauty of this chest.....and it is gorgeous. Plus I am a bit rusty regarding the important details of American furniture. I will be replacing the inappropriate hardware and the leather writing surface on the fall front. Additionally, the chest has been refinished--which would not be such a negative for an English piece--on American furniture the original patinated surface is what collectors look for. But its beautiful flamed mahogany veneer and inlay detailing, combined with the simplicity of the interior fittings, bring its status way up. The French feet and scrolled front also bring it up a notch. 
I think I'm just about done buying secretaire chests: I have the Gustavian chest c.1790-1800....



...
And the George I/II secretaire chest c.1725-30...



Of course, if a great French Abattant or Italian..maybe a mid-19th century faux bamboo drop front like this one that sold a while ago



Or maybe a French late Louis XVI Abattant like this guy that I sold a few years ago........


Anyway, I'm happy with what God has given me.

Sending blessings for the week...99 days and counting...............

Mary


Sunday, July 19, 2020

HUNTING................AND NOW WE ARE SHUT DOWN (AGAIN)


AREN'T THEY GORGEOUS?

Finally--We were able to buy something really exceptional. Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that I am a certified chair-aholic. I love chairs (the good ones). Can you imagine the stories an 18th century chair could tell? The overheard conversations? The palace or simply family intrigues and joys and sorrows? We sold a lot of chairs this week; so I felt that I could splurge and replace a couple. 
The pair shown above is 19th c. (maybe earlier--I need to check carefully) Louis XVI Bergeres that are finely carved and upholstered in a yummy silk salmon-colored velvet (there is wear to the upholstery, but the patina only seems to make the chairs more beautiful).

AND NOW FOR THE COUNTERPOINT






Gerry spotted this amazing trade sign at an auction that is located about 60 miles from Los Angeles. He was advertised as being Spanish in origin, but I think he's Portuguese. "Wilfred" is very big--48"w x 34"h and most probably dates to the early 20th century. He is in overall very good original condition--just look at that snout and that forged iron curly tail. Wilfred was very pricey, but we just had to have him.
Although we are paying quite a bit more for inventory and are unable to purchase many items as the pricing is prohibitive, if Wilfred had not been posted on an online auction, we would never have known about him.
Needless to say, I am missing my friends after so many months and cannot wait to see everyone (and bid against them--cause that is what we do).
I know that so many others are in much more severe circumstances, but I am very frustrated that California opened up so quickly. The pressure on Gov. Newsom must have been intense==but geez...... We should have followed ALL the CDC guidelines. Orange County (where I live) had a very low number of cases and then, all of a sudden, we are experiencing a huge increase in those sickened--even more than LA County. And guess what??? People (some) still will not wear a mask. The mask is for our safety--it's not a political statement. 
Fortunately, our collective (Pasadena Antique Center, Pasadena, CA) is open 1 day per week (to dealers only); so I can meet Roberto and get a lot of work done and also Lalo (upholstery)--which means that I can be a little creative. (BTW--Roberto is fine and taking really good care of himself and family)

John Lewis was one of my heroes. Yes, he was short in stature (like me)--but oh, so powerful. Our next generation is still very young--we need to focus our attention on promoting their activism and motivate them to speak truth to power. We must inspire this generation to engage in the quest to bring respect and the rights of citizenship and basic humanity to all.

Well, my eyes keep closing; so it's off to bed.

Sending blessings for the week----stay strong.

Blessings to all of  us who take this journey..........

Mary



Saturday, July 4, 2020

HIDDEN TREASURES


Like for so many small business owners, the past 4 months have been a challenge (huge)......For me personally, simply keeping focused on personal growth has been my biggest hurdle. (I admit to a bit of fear of back-tracking along my quests because I'm stuck at home without being challenged) But then, there is the fact that buying has also been a big challenge as there is little to buy and I've got to keep watch over a negligible cash flow........soooo I decided to inspect items that I bought ages ago, but never really put on display. First up--I had Roberto retrieve this large giltwood frame from behind an armoire




Do you see that little tag at the bottom of the gilt frame? Yep, it says "Degas" and there is a an old sticker on the back indicating the original seller. Jackson and Graham was a high-end London decorative arts dealer active during the same period that Degas was at his most creative..........
I was going to list this frame for $450......but after checking out other similar frames (and without provenance)--I can easily price it at triple that number. (Organizing seems to be paying off--plus, it's still a hunt)

Then I decided to photograph a pair of silver plate candlesticks that had been sitting in the back of a cabinet for a couple of years


These sticks were tarnished--so we polished them and I really checked them out........hahaha!! They are Sheffield and in super condition. They have a Regency form (early 19th c.) and the only copper showing through is in the interior of the bobeches...



My $195 candlesticks just jumped way up. These sticks have the original felt covering the iron base. And the fabrication method is that of 19th century Sheffield sticks.
(Note: the most important part of a candlestick without hallmarks in determining its age is the bottom where the construction is revealed.)

At least a year ago I bought this little Imari lamp thinking it was not great and never looked at it again...



She's pretty cute--the porcelain dates to the Meiji period and it was probably electrified in the 1950s. So she's being rewired and I think I have a shade that just might work.
I've discovered a few more treasures---I think I'll keep on cleaning up and organizing.............

Update: Here's a better photo of the Billy Haines lamps. I ordered shades from Restoration Hardware and Jon Michael will come on Tuesday to rewire them.... and then they will be ready to post.




I love that crackle glaze!!

I am not celebrating the 4th of July this year. I have, instead, prayed for a renewed national commitment to taking the necessary steps to move us forward out of bigotry and division. Discarding partisan politics........we need to unite to work for the "greater good".........we need to remove the stain of the last four years. Restoration, redemption and growth can happen, but it's not going to be a quick fix. We need to all arise from slumber to actively participate in the coming elections.

Blessings for the week.
Mary

Monday, June 29, 2020

IT'S GETTING HARDER

Just when you think you have everything lined up to work smoothly, life takes an intervening step and new paths must be found.
My weekly auction haunt has changed its structure as a result of COVID-19.....They are not going to be having weekly on-site auctions....at least for now everything has gone online and the competition is fierce. No more weekly "sleepers" for me. And I'm bummed (with a capital "B").
But I did get this amazing pair of lamps last week...and paid dearly for them (unhappy face inserted here)


This great pair of mid-20th century lamps was created by William (Billy) Haines who used 19th century Chinese Pale Celadon vases to form the bases of the lamps. The vases measure 19" in height which, when added to the height of the electrical fittings, brings the total height of the lamps to about 33 inches. There might be a signature on the bottom of the vases when I take them apart, the wood plinths upon which the vases sit are typical Billy Haines--tall lacquered wood, with the characteristic switch located at the back of the base. One original finial remains and it is painted in typical Billy Haines fashion. Additionally, the lacquered wood shaft leading to the double socket electrical fittings is a typical design element of Billy Haines Lamps. I love the Pale Crackle Glazed Celadon vases--which have considerably value in their own right.
I'll post better photos of the lamps this week, once I get them into the shop.

Now, I'm off to tilt at more windmills.

Blessings for the week.

Mary

Sunday, June 21, 2020

I KNOW......IT'S BEEN FOREVER!!!

This majolica charger is one of a set of 12 by Bordallo Pinheiro. The beautiful double lemon leaf incised pattern reminds me of a mandala (The purpose of a mandala is to help transform ordinary minds into extraordinary ones during meditation, according to Hindu and Buddhist tradition). Transformation and growth--hopefully this is what this year with its unimaginable challenges will birth. I cannot even contemplate the human costs.



I have missed blogging over the past three (How did this happen?) months. But my brain refused to create or even think of anything beyond what lay immediately before me....I think it has started working again.....we'll see.
Of course, I am overjoyed that The Supreme Court has handed down momentous, progressive decisions regarding equality for all. No....you cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. No.....you cannot (at least for the moment) deport hundreds of thousands of young people who know no other home than the U.S. Yes! Finally after 160 years, you will neither torture nor lynch Black American citizens without the full force of the law coming to bear. As you might have guessed by now, I am (and have always been) pro-humanity. The changes that are being wrought by the Black Lives Matter coalition should have taken place in the 1960s and 1970s. I thank God that we are finally acknowledging our divisions and sins. We have a long way to travel until our National consciousness has been transformed, but we are finally back on that path.

I haven't been buying much....cash flow + nothing to buy + no room + no desire, etc., etc.,--whine, whine, whine + complain + complain. (And The Pasadena Antique Center has not reopened yet--next week)

BUT we did acquire a few things and restored others:
First up and my pride and joy for the moment. I discovered this piece and Gerry bought and I restored it with Camilo and Roberto.





We acquired this very early 19th century (maybe late 18th century) Swedish Gustavian Drop Front Secretaire just before COVID hit us. It was in a kinda scruffy condition and in need of a bit of TLC. It went to Camilo to have new feet carved (Camilo did a great job) and some minor moldings restored. And then, last Wednesday, Roberto applied the finishing touches--both of us worked to figure out how to match the centuries old paint (we are not quite finished with the feet). The secretaire is in the uncommon two-part form; hidden behind the fall front are 18 small drawers and a tambour central section. The drawers retain (in near mint condition) their FAUX GRAINED painted fronts......this feature, alone, makes the secretaire exceptional.
I reupholstered some benches in a divine Clarence House woven linen textile........This is a pair of Regency-style small ottomans--they are detailed in patinated nails and buttons--I just love this fabric.





And I reupholstered this silver gilt iron bench in the same fabric but with deep tufting-perfect for the foot of a bed or in front of a fire.


I joined Incollect.com a couple of months ago. Incollect.com is a hosting site, similar to 1stdibs (of which I'm also a member), but it is so more more classy than 1stidibs. You can check "me" out if you search MJH Design Arts once you have landed on Incollect.com. (I'm also a 1stdibs and Chairish dealer/member) Being a dealer on 1stdibs is extremely challenging and pricey--hopefully Incollect will continue to expand to the point where I (like so many others) will be able to let go of 1stdibs.

An update. Our sweet boy, Cole, went to play with Jones. He was the most faithful labrador--loving, naughty and devoted.

Well, I guess this is a fairly good start to my return to Jones & Cole. Please send me blessings for reopening the shop next week......I do need to make some big sales and pronto!

Sending blessings.....
Mary