Sunday, March 31, 2013


Today is the day of Resurrection. A day of Gratitude. A day when we are called to action.
I'm cooking, and then going to my daughter's home where the big boys--14, 13, and 10 are coloring eggs and then having the joy of hiding them for the little girls--so much joy in the giving.
But today is also the Day to remember that we have just been through a terrible financial crisis that was brought on by the greed (and sinfulness) of those who we all trusted to monitor our financial institutions. There are other impending disasters on the horizon--GMO's, failure to regulate huge corporate entities such as Monsanto, Bayer, gun proponents, mass polluters--the list goes on and on.
Are we going to have the courage as represented in the Risen Christ and the faith of Passover to raise our voices in a resounding NO MORE? 
Isn't that one of the messages of Easter and Passover? We have overcome fear of death, fear to voice our concerns and stand up for what is right? We, the people, have immense strength and power--we are all part of the Resurrection. Jesus was a radical as was Moses: can we go passive when confronted with their strength and leadership?
Can we see the helpless poor and sick and not help them? Can we stand silent in the face of enormous wrong doing by our leaders? Can we fail to bring our financial criminals to justice? Can we fail to have compassion for the mentally ill? Can we continue to uphold a broken health care system where only those with the privilege of company obtained health insurance have access to adequate care? Can we allow a system based on corporate profits determine care for sick individuals? Can we allow the richest 2 per cent to pay a lower tax rate than the struggling middle class--trickle down economics is a figment of economic imagination. Can we continue to allow women to be treated as second class citizens? Can we continue to allow the rampant prejudice that is so pervasive in every culture without raising our voices in protest?
Today is a day of resurrection of our personal integrity and strength. To follow Jesus who stood for radical action and compassion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Turquoise For Spring--New (Old) Fortuny Fabric

Spring...fresh, joyful colors, the glorious blues of the sky and robin's eggs, fresh new greens and pinks ...they all make my senses perk up with Inspiration.
This great length of vintage Fortuny, with it's turquoise background stamped with a Renaissance gold, would make a glorious summer dress.

I had been searching for about 2 years for a length of vintage Fortuny in exactly these colors. This example is dated 1961 and it is in mint unused condition...just a little wrinkled, but that will steam out. Vintage Fortuny in this condition is getting harder and harder to find and much more pricey than when I first started collecting. I love the intricate scrolling of the turquoise acanthus leaves and whimsical flowers.

This particular example (I haven't researched the pattern yet) has the wide section of scrolling vines and florals and is bordered by several vertical border elements. It will be fun designing pillows to maximize the uniqueness of the pattern.

I have a pickup scheduled with Pam this week and will bring this Fortuny find with me so that we can put our heads together to create a new pair of pillows. These particular pillows will be a bit more expensive than my usual price point to account for the additional cost of the Fortuny..... But they will be show stoppers.
Just imagine a room with the Opaline lamps picking up

the turquoise of the Fortuny. LOVE.

While I am loving our California Spring, my friend Missy, who lives near Annapolis, Maryland, just sent me photos of their home taken this morning. .....brrrrrrrrr.

I love living on the East Coast, but you just can't beat our weather.


Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Massier-Vallauris, French Faience

What I love the most about this crazy business is the knowledge that there is always something more to learn or discover. My St. Patrick's Day post touched briefly on the very large pair of antique French faience urns that I had just purchased. When I went to the shop on Tuesday I was determined to find the maker's marks and /or signature on the urns. Sure enough, here is the mark stamped on the front of one of the urns. I need some help to look for the marks/signature on the bottom of the urns...tomorrow.

It turns out that my urns were made by Jerome Massier fils at Vallauris (shown on the impressed mark). I had some rudimentary knowledge of Vallauris being a pottery center as many French mid-century ceramics were created in Vallauris (including the ceramic works by Picasso), but had no knowledge of the very long history of pottery making in the region. The discovery of the mark set me on a quest to learn more about this particular maker and when the urns were created.
I love the internet!! Google turned up quite a bit of information regarding Jerome Messier Fils and the history of the Massier Family and ceramic fabrication in Vallauris. Below is a photo of the United Jerome Massier and Delphin Massier's art pottery works from just before the turn of the 20th century.

There is a historical record of the Massier family having worked as potters in the area of Vallauris from the mid 18th century. The record becomes more detailed with the works of Jacques Massier father of Clement and Delpin and uncle of Jean-Baptiste Massier (Jerome Massier fils).
These three Massier ceramists were responsible for the renaissance of art pottery/ceramics in Vallauris. At one point their factories employed several hundred workers, including well known artists and sculptors. The photo above shows the factory of the "United" Massiers, Jerome (Jean-Baptiste) and Delphin. After the deaths of these founding members of modern French ceramic arts, their daughters carried on with  management of the factories until the closing of the  last Massier factory in 1990. The Massier art potters were some of the initial exponents of the Art Nouveau movement. In addition, Clement is famous for his invention of metallic lustres glazes and for his creative  innovative designs. I'll post a couple more photos of the factories.


My pots date to the late 19th century and are in the Renaissance style of the period. They exhibit very detailed modeling and glazing. I was able to find a few examples of pots of a similar size, but in the Art Nouveau style. Both examples were from Christie's Auctions. The following examples are also Renaissance style, but tending to art nouveau, pots with their original faience pedestals. I do not know if my examples originally sat upon pedestals. Needless to say--the urns together with the pedestals are true works of innovative arts.

Here are images of my pots--they seem to pale a bit after these gorgeous exuberant  examples--but they hold their own. It must be remembered that many of these large pieces of artistic pottery were lost in the firing process due to effects of heating and cooling, making works of this large size quite desirable.


Have a wonderful Spring week-end. It is glorious here in Southern California.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)  

Saturday, March 16, 2013


In honor of St. Patricks's Day. With the understanding that I am 95% Irish and my grandmother spoke with a lovely Irish lilt, I decided to buy something green this week. Well, truth be told, I bought two green things this week. And they were not small green things. They were two very large green things.......


They are a fantastic pair of 33 inch French Majolica Urns that date to the early 20th century. At one point they were fitted with gilt bronze electrical sockets--can you imagine the size of the shades they must have worn? At least another 33 inches in height, bringing the total height of the lamps to a glorious 66 inches. I will have Roberto removed the bronze electrical mounts (saving them for the buyer) and bring them back to their original urn form. 
I love the detailed modeling--acorns, oak leaves, acanthus leaves and shells....fantastic Renaissance Revival pieces that are definitely a departure from my usual neoclassical favorites. But heck: the stock market is going great guns, the economic forecasts are getting stronger and YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE.
Everyone is coming for dinner tomorrow night--corned beef and cabbage and potatoes. Roast pork for the littlest ones. Plus my over-the-top brownies. Then we    are going to talk about the great grand parents who came from Ireland...
Wishing everyone a wonderful St. Patrick's Day--don't forget a little bit (or two bits) of green.


Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Friday, March 15, 2013


I bought a few single elements of Chinese Export Lacquer Quartetto Tables yesterday--so I thought I'd give a little expose on Quartetto Tables, currently referred to as nesting tables.
The English Regency period, with Thomas Sheraton' publication of "The Directory" of furniture styles in 1803, first promulgated the use of Quartetto (set of four) Tables. These were practical sets of tables which nested under the largest tables and were used for games of checkers and as put-away work or sewing tables.

Gillows of London

The example shown above is by the famous English furniture maker of the early 19th century, Gillows of London. This set includes a drawer for the checkers pieces on the smallest table. The following example is more representative of the traditional Regency period Quartetto Table form and is crafted of beautifully grained walnut. Note the ring turned legs and banded tops. These tables fit perfectly within the largest table and have a gorgeous simple profile.

The next two photos show a highly refined Regency period set of tables--the rosewood and exceptional profile makes these a top notch find. Note the beautiful  serpent head feet and coloration.


The following examples of Quartetto Tables are Chinese Export Lacquer tables and are all of excellent quality and condition for their age and use. My favorites are the Gracie examples. 

Gracie New York

Gracie New York
Here are a few more Chinese export examples:


These last examples are composed of only three tables which may indicate that the set lost the smallest table or perhaps because these sets date to the later nineteenth century, they were originally comprised of only three tables.

The following examples are of iconic 20th century nesting tables: Edward Wormley for Dunbar--note the very unusual set of five tables, Maison Jansen, Kaare Klint and a French Deco example. 
Edward Wormley for Dunbar

Maison Jansen
Kaare Klint

French Deco
All of the above examples of Quartetto and Nesting Tables were taken from Please refer to for further information and pricing.

There are numerous other examples of modern nesting tables...Just goes to show that when a design is great, it lasts forever and will be reinvented with each generation. 

Here are photos of the single tables that I bought yesterday. I'm not really sure why I had to have these guys. It's probably due to the fact that I love the history and the stories that these tables would tell if they could talk. They all need restoration and I'm hoping that Roberto is up to the task...I bet he is and he's coming next week.

I have this set of mid-20th century Maison Bagues style brass and glass nesting tables in inventory (the finial adventure).

Bagues Style
And Roberto is painting a set of three nesting tables in black "lacquer" which will go to the faux painter for gilt detailing....yes, I love tables almost as much as I love chairs.

Jones is loving Spring and the Park and daylight savings--me, too.
Have a wonderful Spring week-end.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Sunday, March 10, 2013


They're mine...

Here is a close up of the gorgeous deep cerulean blue of the opaline glass:

Opaline glass has always been very desirable, especially the colored pieces. This beautiful opaque glass was first developed in France and reached its height of popularity in the late 19th century. Although these vases (now lamps) were created in the mid-20th c., their desirability is increasing as opaline glass is no longer made. The French method of creating opaline glass involved blowing powdered lead into the molten glass which created the desirable opacity. However, this process was highly toxic to the glass workers and its manufacture is now prohibited. These lamps were very pricey and I was not careful enough during preview and missed a restoration to the opaline base at the back of one of the lamps.....I HATE IT WHEN I DO THIS...I get absorbed in the beauty of an object and neglect my homework. Marcos (glass restorer) will pick up the lamp next week--and there goes my profit margin. The repair will be almost invisible, but I will still disclose its existence and consequently the price point will be lower.
.......AND I also brought home these guys.

Here is a detail shot

These beauties are circa 1970-80's Frederick Cooper solid brass lamps with a Chinese porcelain-inspired form. Note the beautiful ribbed brass lidded jar form and the custom rosewood base. I went on the Frederick Cooper website to check for current large solid brass lamps....and there weren't any! The price of brass and copper has risen to the point where it is almost prohibitive to create large purely decorative objects with solid metals. And these lamps are big guys--they measure 23" to the top of the socket, but they also have a large girth and highly detailed molded brass lids.....all marks of exceptional metal work. I've paired the lamps with black linen shades that are lined with gold paper--not bad. They would be great with Milo Baughman  (or a contemporary) furnishings or even with period furniture as their form references antiques Chinese porcelain.
As long as we are discussing lamps....

I bought this pair of early twentieth century theater lamps a couple of months ago. They have been rewired for domestic use...I'd love to see them sitting on some one's library shelf. Both of these spots have a heavy and well-earned patina and lots of character. Nothing like a little counterpoint in my lamp inventory.
In my opinion, lamps are an extremely important focal point in any room. Their form, color and placement need to be considered at the start of a project, not as simply an end-of-project add on. It is possible to have a great lamp and to ruin it, or at least mask its character, by using an inappropriate or wrong-sized shade. I've been know to return shades 3 or 4 times before finding the "just perfect" shade. Because lamp shade styles (just like decorative pillows) go in and out of fashion, a great way to update a room is to change out the lamp shades.

I'm loving the extra hour of daylight--Jones gets more park time and my creativity level goes way up.

Thanks for visiting. Happy Spring.
Mary & Jones (& Cole)

Thursday, March 7, 2013


This stump sits at the base of "The Loving Tree" in my back yard. Every year I anxiously await the first budding of the The Loving Tree as witness to approaching Spring. This week her leaves started popping out from their fat nubby tips. I'm anticipating seeing her in all of her glory: she is huge and spreads her branches wide--it is always moody and cool under her canopy even on the hottest Southern California scorcher. Her heart reminds me that all is well.
Wednesday was a glorious morning--crisp with cerulean blue skies and puffy wispy clouds. And The Loving Tree was full of many tiny chatty finches. I tried to get a good photo of them, but the little guys are so perfectly camouflaged that they just look like branches. Oh, well, they are there proclaiming spring.

Now on to Auction Thursday.
I'm drooling over these gorgeous French opaline blue glass lamps (the pair). I need another pair of lamps like another whole in my head, but the color of these is
spectacular and highly desirable.  

And as long as I'm going for lamps.....these brass guys are great, very large (a good thing) and manufactured by Frederick Cooper (a very good thing) and probably date to the 1980s!!! Great to mix with Milo Baughman furniture.

Wish me luck....can't believe that I'm buying more lamps!!!

Mary & Jones (and Cole)