Sunday, July 21, 2019


I got these big (25") covered jars at auction about 6 weeks ago.......I didn't check them out very well, just thought that they had a certain charm and big is always good. I knew that they need to have a bit of restoration work done to the lids, but otherwise, thought that they were great decorative pieces. Once I had picked them up and brought them into the shop, I took a good look. And realized that they are old early 19th or 18th century old. 
But what were they?? My first thought was Italian majolica, but their shape was really puzzling.....that deep foot reminded me of early Han pottery, but the glaze was too I went on a quest. My good friend, Albert, in The Netherlands thought they might be Chinese, also. If the Jars were actually Han, then they would be worth a very very very pretty penny. Albert directed me to a Chinese Specialist on the East Coast who could make a much more accurate assessment. Gerry also sent off an inquiry in England. For about 12 hours my adrenaline was rushing with the thought that the Jars were Han. But it was not to be. I was right on one point: the jars are old--18th/19th c. but European in origin. The specialist thought perhaps Italian; but the only similar forms that I have been able to uncover are 17th/18th century Dutch and Portuguese. So there you have it......almost but not quite ready to buy my mas in Provence.
Here are some close-ups of the jars (the bottoms are always the most important identifying elements)

I am not in the least disappointed as I love the hunt, but more than a simple hunt, I love the adventure of discovering what an object really is; prying back the details to reveal its quirks and its history if possible. Plus, the jars are not without merit.......a pair of large 17th/18th or 19th century majolica jars in very good condition and retaining their original lids is a true find. The lids are out getting restored and I can't wait to see the completed jars--and get them posted to 1stdibs and Decaso.

Sending blessings for the week!
Mary & Cole

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MID-CENTURY ITALIAN BEADED SCONCES..........(It Pays To Look Carefully)

I have faithfully subscribed to the principles of "Blink" (by Malcolm Gladwell) for at least 8-10 years. But sometimes the Principle of First Impressions does not apply.  Case in point:

Just a few weeks ago this is how 2.5 pairs of extraordinary mid-century beaded Italian sconces were displayed at My Favorite Auction. Not very impressive--the only details that drew my focus were the hanging and loose crystal pendants and swags of macaroni beads. Applying the Principle of First Impressions, I would have walked right passed this treasure trove. Fortunately, I have had this type of beaded sconces before and I know how to restring/reposition the macaroni swags. (I also know some one who loves to do this pains-taking work). Our last set of 48" beaded sconces like (just one of these pairs) was quite pricey--Gerry and I paid close to $1500 for one pair.
AND HERE WERE TWO PAIRS--one at 48" long and the other at 33" long. Additionally, there was a small single sconce thrown in for good measure........we managed to steel them simply because no one bothered to see beyond that first impression. Jean Michael has been working on the sconces and he is almost done. I did have to order a few extra pendants, but for the most part, all the original elements were present.
Here are a few shots of the work in progress.......

As you can see, the little single sconce still has some work left to be done--had to take a break as we need some additional 1.5" pendants for this little guy.
And then, last week, Gerry was at auction early and up came another pair of beaded sconces. Once again, no one was paying attention to them when they went to the block and Gerry bought them for a song. Jean Michael cleaned this pair today and I supplied the secret sauce: when I first caught sight of this pair, I thought: add some rock crystal pendants. And I had just the right size rock crystal pendants from another project--but I have moved since that last time I saw the pendants and was fearful that I would not be able to find them. Mais...voila! The rock crystal pendants were in the bottom drawer of a little chest and they are just the perfect size.
Here are the photos of this pair as Jean Michael had just barely finished working on them...........

This pair of sconces feature either French or Italian Louis XV-style brass sconces outlined in small hand-cut faceted beads with the center detailed in graduated hand-cut faceted beading, topped with fanciful sprigs of rock crystal pendants. Not too shabby!!! And I am filled with gratitude.

Hopefully, I'm over the hump with my blogging break.
Wish us luck tomorrow as there are some sleepers (hopefully) coming up.

Mary & Cole