Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh, oh, oh...this superb example of the highest art in the world of parasols...I am so happy to have been able to handle it, since its compatriots are all in museums - including the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Collection!

Here's the link - it is a spectacular piece, and a very fun story about the maker, M. Marie Cazal:

Beautiful Victorian Silk "Carriage" Parasol
by the 1851 London Great Exhibition Award-winner, Cazal of Paris
Handmade Belgian Chantilly Bobbin Lace
GREAT folding white composite/bone Handle, bone finial
brass slide marked CAZAL Paris et Londres
Elaborate two-layer pattern, MINT condition
Two large 22" scalloped circles; Lace and ecru, with silk fringe

This MUSEUM QUALITY silk parasol was made in the mid 1800s. The light silk fabric is laid under the exquisite Belgian lace, quite secure, in a small size, folding to easily fit in a confined carriage space. Deeply scalloped edge flutters attractively in the breeze. A completely wearable piece of Victorian art! This is THE BEST of the gorgeous parasols in this group.

**Our lace expert tells us this is Handmade Belgian Chantilly bobbin lace.**

M. Marie Cazal was the founder of a legendary parasol and cane firm in Paris. "The famous 1860s fancy-goods man" had his shop on the Boulevard des Italiens, and manufactured some of the period's finest parasol frames. He entered his work in England's Great Exhibition of 1851 (year of the Crystal Palace) and was awarded the great prizes of the exposition for his new design for the catch and exemplary workmanship. His parasols are included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Collection. This one is simply spectacular, in glorious mint condition. H

He is the author of an 1844 small piece, Essay on the Umbrella, the Walking-Stick, and their Manufacture.

In his 1842 guide, How to Enjoy Paris Francis Herve fawned over his establishment:

"..I must not omit to mention [the invention] of M. Cazal, who has obtained two patents, and medals for the umbrellas and parasols he has invented, with which he furnishes Queens and Princesses, and which are entirely superseding all those of any other construction."
His major innovation was that his catch was not inserted into the stick, but was attached to the wire framework, and "merely touching a little button will slide up and down as required with the greatest facility, without those little annoyances which so frequently happen in the old method, of either pinching one's fingers, or the glove catching in the spring, or the spring breaking or losing its elasticity."

M. Cazal was well-known among the Paris elite: in the memoirs of Alexandre Dumas, a doctor was required at the bedside of Dumas' mother.

..."So I called in another of my friends, named Cazal. He was an extremely clever fellow who, when he found that, in spite of his mediical skill, his practice did not increase, invented a new kind of umbrella and parasol, took out a patent for them [in 1839] and made a fortune. Cazal spent the whole night with us by my mother's side..."

Cazal's clients included the Empess Eugenie. The Prize Medal he won at the Great Exhibition was awarded for "Parasols and Umbrellas Elegant in form and of excellent workmanship"
"The handles evince much taste and are well-sculptured; the framing, which is very light, in many cases presents novelties of construction. The self-opening umbrella, for instance, may be cited as a very ingenious contrivance; a travelling umbrella so arranged that the stick may be conveniently removed and used as a walking stick is also worthy of commendation. The prices of the umbrellas are high."

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, or Great Exhibition, was sometimes refered to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition for the beautiful structure in which is was held, from May 1 to October 1, 1851. It was the first of a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular feature of the 19th century. It was organized by Queen Victoria's spouse, Prince Albert.

Monday, July 6, 2009

1905 Postmark Souvenir Scarf + Travel Routes in Google!

Okay, I just lost it on this one - a silk scarf, stamped with the postmark of every place our Winchester Kentucky antiques collector travelled - on two journeys, in 1905 and 1907.

I figured it this way - let's see how many of the postmarks we can figure out! They were stamped on both sides of the scarf - so I put on Turner Classic Movies, get Nelson Eddy and Jeannette McDOnald to howl in the background as we discover a route that includes Alaska.

Okay - now we can sort the list in date order.

And - well, how about if we try to trace the route? The best way, I guess, is a Google Map. Sheesh. So, sports fans, here is the resulting listing, and an embedded link to the Google Map I came up with. Please tell me you like this object -- !!
Here's the link to the listing with all the photos:

This sweet silk scarf was carried on two voyages, most likely by Ella Haggard Watson, in 1905 and 1907. The light strong fabric is smooth and simple, with a hand-rolled edge. We had a great time deciphering all the postmarks, then tracing her journeys! Here are two modern links of her path. (Keep in mind that we don't seem to be able to tell Google Maps that we are on a ship or a train in 1905! Obviously, the fastest way between two points in Alaska is to get back on the BOAT! And when you are in Boston, you get on a boat to go to Halifax Nova Scotia - other than that, the maps are a fun look at these trips! She was starting near Lexington, Kentucky..and wouldn't have bothered to get postmarks til she was near something fun...)

A couple of neat points of interest:

Guardian of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove: This was a period when the grove of the Giant Sequoias were managed by the State of California; the Guardian was a paid position, the manager of the park and grounds.

Shasta Springs, California: a popular summer resort on the Sacramento River, on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Their natural springs were the original source of the Shasta soft drinks.

Jamestown Exposition: held from April 26 - December 1, 1907, near Norfolk, Virginia, commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the US. Its novelties included: a re-creation of the (recent) San Francisco Earthquake; the battle of the ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimac (only 40 years earlier!); and a 23 foot high section of the new East River underwater tunnel to Penn Station in New York City.

We find this collectible to be enchanting, with historic signficance - a glimpse into the recreational life of a woman of means at the turn of the century. A fascinating piece of Edwardian art!

Pattern: The postmarks are grouped into two main areas, documenting both trips.

Yosemite, California, May 29, 1905
G.T. Herlow, Guardian of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree grove,
Fresno, California, May 31, 1905
Long Beach CA , California, Jun 1, 1905
Southern Pacific Co, San Gabriel, California, Jun 2, 1905
Southern Pacific Co, Redlands, California, Jun 3, 1905
Shasta Springs , California, ,
Riverside Ca, California, Jun 3, 1905
Trans-Continental Passenger Assoc, Jun 5, 1905
Trans-Continental Passenger Assoc, Jun 16, 1905
Pacific Coast Steamship Co, Spokane, Washington, Jun 18, 1905
Pacific Coast Steamship Co, Tacoma, Washington, Jun 20, 1905
San Francisco, California, Jun 21, 1905
Hotel Butler, Seattle, Washington, Jun 21, 1905
Victoria, British Columbia, Jun 22, 1905
Juneau, Alaska, Jun 24, 1905
Ketchikan, Alaska, Jun 24, 1905
Skagway, Alaska, Jun 24, 1905
Metlakatla, Alaska, Jun 26, 1905
White Pass & Yukon Railway, White Pass, Alaska, Jun 26, 1905
White Pass & Yukon Railway, Skaguay, Alaska, Jun 26, 1905
Killisnoo, Alaska, Jun 27, 1905
Sitka, Alaska, Jun 20, 1905
Alaska Treadwell Gold Mountain, Treadwell, Alaska, ,
Wrangell, Alaska, Jun 29, 1905
Northern Pacific Railway, Seattle, Washington, Jul 3, 1905
Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, Jul 5, 1905
Yellowstone Lake Hotel, Yellowstone Park, , Jul 8, 1905
Grand Canyon Hotel, Northern Pacific Railway, Jul 9, 1905
Hot Springs Hotel, Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, Jul 10, 1905
West Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jul 13, 1905
Chicago Statn 6, Chicago, Illinois, Jul 24, 1905
Boston, Massachusets, Aug 13, 1905
Boston & Maine RR, Lexington, Massachusets, Aug 20, 1905

Niagara Falls Centre, New York, Jul 26, 1907
Niagara Falls, New York, Jul 28, 1907
Buffalo, New York, Jul 29, 1907
Chautauqua, New York, Jul 29, 1907
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Aug 14, 1907
I.C. (InterColonial) Railway, Moncton, New Brunswick, Aug 16, 1907
Saint John, New Brunswick, Aug 17, 1907
I.C. (InterColonial) Railway, Truro, Nova Scotia, Aug 17, 1907
Eastern Steamship Co, Aug 17, 1907
Plymouth, Massachusetts, Aug 19, 1907
Salem, Massachusetts, Aug 19, 1907
Hotel Chamberlin, Fortress Monroe, Virginia, Aug 24, 1907
C&O Railway Co, Williamsburg, Virginia, Aug 25, 1907
Jamestown Exposition, Aug 26, 1907
Petersburg, Virginia, Aug 31, 1907
Appomattox, Virginia, Sep 2, 1907
Natural Bridge, Virginia, Sep 7, 1907

Size: 20.75 x 20.75 inches.

Wear: For display purposes, there are some challenges: the postmarks face both sides, in all directions. Could be framed with two-sided glass or, simply kept as it has been these many years - rolled lightly over a tube, to be admired.

Remember the View Master?

A lovely friend here has shared his family's collection from Lenoir, North Carolina. I just LOVED this one!

I threaded the tiny film rolls and peered at extremely cool 3D shots - the little clicker advancing the film. My sisters and I had the ViewMaster, (mid 1950's) with the round discs - I remember especially Peter Pan! I just adored them all!
Here's the eBay link to the current listing and all the photos:


1946 Brown Case Tru Vue Stereoscope all brown streamlined viewer: with its original box and instructional card with 17 film rolls, red and silver "piano key" boxes from the 1930s - 1940s,
This wonderful stereoscope and film collection has spent its life here North Carolina. It is in good working condition, all parts move freely. The film collection appears to be very good - the boxes are all intact, the films firm and springy, with some unusual and possibly rare collectible numbers included.

Tru-Vue stereoscopes were introduced at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, before the View-Master appeared Most of the filmstrips contain 14 pairs of stereo pictures. These films are quite collectible, and lots of fun to view yourself!

Take a look at the collector pages for the View-Master & Tru-Vue Collector's Association (VTCA) for great history of this viewer and films. Thank you, gentlemen, for the excellent site!

103 Birds from Everywhere
105 Brookfield Zoo
206 In the Days of ‘49
509 Hollywood -1- (in a box for 1110, Land of the Sky)
510 Hollywood -2-
512 Long Beach (California)
516 Mount Wilson
1001 Atlantic City **
1012 New York City
1101 Asheville, North Carolina **
1307 Hollywood Personalities **
1310 Movies in the Making **

1504 Around the World -1-
1505 Around the World -2-
1506 Around the World -3-
1509 Egypt (in a box for 1505, Around the World)
1515 Honolulu

1849 Silent Night - the first English translation

We are so fortunate to have this wonderful piece: it is a hymnal which presents the very first printed English translation of Silent Night!

I was just doing the research on an interesting but not terribly fancy hymnal collected by one Mr. Charles Dingley, and where should I end up but at the special Christmas pages of Doug Anderson - I wrote to him and thanked him for this information - he very sweetly responded, saying that sometimes it feels like you're just working along and no one is watching...

Here's the link to my listing:

We are starting it around $500 - I chose the price of $440 (A440 is concert pitch - a bit of inside musical humor!)

The origins of "Silent Night" are no longer a mystery. We think that one of the best places to find the astoundingly well-researched history of "Stille Nacht" is with Doug Anderson, "The Hymns and Carols of Christmas" whose Web pages were our first contact with this subject.

The first United States performance of "Stille Nacht" was in 1839; the version most English-speakers sing today was penned by Bishop John Freeman Young. It appears to have been written between 1855 and 1859 while he was an assistant at Trinity Church in New York City.

However, what we learned through Mr. Anderson's pages is that the oldest translation of "Stille Nacht" in the English language was written by J.F. Warner, and first printed as Hymn 373 in the book we offer here, Charles Dingley's Devotional Harmonist. The translation was done for Methodist Episcopal churches in New York and New Jersey, copyright 1849, and appears here in four part SATB harmony.

Charles Dingley was very active in the musical and spiritual life of his communities. As an editor and teacher, his musicianship appears to be careful, his editorship wide-ranging. This volume is held in university libraries in the non-circulating reserve sections, in 1849, 1850 and 1851 versions. Some of these library copies appear to be the "Patent Note System", or Shape Note music. Please also note here some wonderful tunes, identified primarily by their tune name, including a lovely early rendition of the "Doxology".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

1890s pretty porcelain dessert

My favorite part of this work is to glimpse the life of the late 1800s through the beautiful objects which appear before us. This set of translucent porcelain bowls and little plates made it over 100 years, all the way to us. Probably designed in Germany, they are quite fine.

Brushed with pansies and flashes of gold; up on eBay today! Here you go:

Monday, February 23, 2009

1715 French military engineer Cormontaingne

Into my hands has come a book printed in the early 1800s. (If I were discovered with this book in the latter half of the 1700s, I'd have been tried for military espionage.) The author wrote extensively on the precise nature of the work need to attack and defend fortifications.
M. Louis de Cormontaingne built extensively on the works of an earlier engineer, Vauban, basically cleaning them up to match more modern techiques. His writings from as early as 1714 (when he was around 20 years old!) was a dead secret. By 1741 it was starting to leak out, and was published unofficially in bits. To correct the record, Cormontaigne published some of it himself officially in 1741, though it was not widely seen. His full notes were gathered and re-edited after his death twice, initially only distributed to officers (1776), later to the rest of us (1803 - 1809).

"His system of fortification was not marked by any great originality of thought, which indeed could not be expected of a member of the corps du génie, [essentially the corps of engineers, or the contrivers of military engineering works] the characteristics of which were a close caste spirit and an unquestioning reverence for the authority of Vauban. Forts Moselle and Bellecroix are still in existence."

Do forts work? Not very well, it appears, but if that's what you have to work with, you might as well get it right. So you follow this gentleman's diagrams, and careful metrics of all materials, manpower, and design.
Okay, here we are in the early 1700s. What you do when you prepare to attack a place, or defend it, is build big walls, collect a lot of food, blast away, and wait. (Oh, and dig tunnels!) A lot of people end up dead, or very sick. And - - the book is in French, so my rudimentary vocabulary is not keeping up with the specifics of the weaponry involved. There were three volumes in this set; we have the Vol II, "How to Attack", and Vol III, "How to Defend". Complete with tables about what is needed to supply the care of injured - how many spoons, napkins, specific medicines per person (and it is NOT one spoon for each invalid!).

I'll show you a couple of the beautiful engravings which show us all exactly how to fortify a place, with specific examples on how to aim your cannon. You need to know this.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Deezer, French music source

I adore the music of the early 1900's. My French conversation coach, MayaJoelle, recommended this site:

I have compiled playlists of some of the great chanteurs of the 1930's: Maurice Chevalier, bien sur, but also some folks who are tres connu in France, but perhaps not as well known today in this country: Jean Sablon, Leo Marjane, Charles Trenet...

A great way to get some subliminal French conversation...try listening to Leo Marjane singing "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" in French:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beautiful Smoke Bell

This darling thing is about 8 inches tall. If you are lighting your home with kerosene, the residue ends up on your ceilings, so Victorian light fixtures suspended creations like these over their lamp chimneys. This is a terrific example - very fine, translucent milk glass with a lovely raspberry-red rim. Some Valentine!

Here's ours:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1860 Rhein-Panorama, Mainz bis Coln

We have listed a beautiful 1860 panorama, a section of the Rhine river, an area full of castles, between the towns of Mainz and Cologne. It is almost 100 inches long, 16 pages folded into a portfolio.

This morning I received a request from a gentleman in Cologne: Could I send him a close-up of the area across the river from Cologne? Specifically, the area between the towns of Deutz and Poll?

And MORE specifically, is there a WINDMILL there?

Now this map was printed over 150 years ago. The engraving is outstanding, and I obliged him with a closeup. (You can get there yourself by looking at my posting on this web album, which includes a terrific magnifier:

He is satisfied; the windmill is there; we LOVE this business!

Vintage Jazz, 1957 Nothing Whatever To Do

While I work, I listen to a wonderful Vintage Jazz station, on Boston

Hosted by Bryan Wright, it is the perfect background for researching antiques. So many of the pieces I see derive from a 100-year period, about 1850 to 1950.

My mother was an author, and I look for her books on eBay. I especially love seeing an autographed copy, because I know her hands touched it.

My parents were both born in the early 1900s, and died when we were in our early teens. When I touch a vintage piece, I often think of Elsie or John seeing or hearing of it during their lifetime.

A friend in Vermont just gave me three books she had found over the years - one is autographed by my father, a fairly rare specimen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lenox and Sterling from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky

This charming set of silver came from an estate in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.
- Six tiny demitasse cups of Lenox china, in sterling holders.
- The set was displayed in a satin case lined with deep green velvet, and was sold at the turn of the century in fine department stores like Bailey, Banks & Biddle.

It now resides with a collector in Japan. (I just visited a friend in Vermont and found a set of them in her etagere!)

Barn Swallow Antiques

Years ago, I published a weekly electronic newsletter in Rochester, Vermont, which we called "Birdie". My totem is still the barn swallow, and Barn Swallow Antiques has been a lovely entree for me into many wonderful worlds.

I must admit I spend more time than strictly necessary researching many of the items I choose to sell. I have decided that it is my chosen path of doing business - to find the "flashpoints" for the wonderful time-travelers that pass through my hands on their way to a new home.

I'll share some of my discoveries here with you - a quick look into why I love this business. Have fun!