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Tin Sconces
Candlelight was the chief means of lighting American homes before the advent of various types of whale-oil and kerosene lamps. Whale-oil lamps first appeared about 1815. Those using kerosene, at first called "coal oil," did not come into general use until several years after the discovery of petroleum in 1859.
The Boardmans, Pewterers
Any piece of pewter bearing one of the several Boardman touch marks is an example of the well-designed work done in Connecticut during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. There were four Boardman brothers and back of them was a long tradition of family pewtering through their mother, Sarah Danforth, who married Oliver Boardman of Hartford in 1781. She was a granddaughter of Thomas Danforth, one of the best known of eighteenth century American pewterers and ancestor of a considerable group who followed the same trade for another two generations.
Coverlets, Dated and Otherwise
ALONG WITH patchwork quilts, the weaving of coverlets started in America in the eighteenth century. Weaving such coverlets was originally just another of the endless number of household tasks that housewives undertook as part of their workaday activities. The chief materials were home grown. From the field of flax came the undyed linen yarn used for the warp to form the white background of the coverlet pattern as it was woven on an overshot hand loom, The wool was sheared from the family's flock of sheep, then cleansed, carded, and spun on a wheel into the yarn. But before the actual work of weaving, this wool had to be dyed the desired color. This was also home-done in large kettles outdoors. Indigo was used for blue, madder and a variety of leaves and tree barks for the other colors.
The Hand-Quilted Coverlet
Quilting was undoubtedly among the forms of needlework practiced by early American housewives from the days of the Plymouth settlement until well into the second half of the nineteenth century. The art of quilting developed along with weaving, spinning, and crewel embroidery until, by 1750> quilts were commonplace articles in the average household.
Jumbo Pewter Plates
The first generation of American colonists lived in rude shelters and ate from wooden trenchers. But they didn't remain in that state any longer than they could help. Their trust in Divine Providence, hard work, and good busi ness sense soon brought prosperity to a considerable number. Living conditions improved and home comforts multiplied.
Pewter Spoons and Their Making
Pewter spoons were important items in the American home for nearly two hundred years. Wills probated only twenty years after the first colonist landed in Massachusetts listed pewter spoons. Toward the close of the seventeeth century, a sizable quantity was. being imported from England and there were also a number of pewterers working in America, all of whom presumably made spoons along with other household articles in this alloy.
Early American Pieced Quilts
Although both patchwork and pieced quilts are prized today for their designs and fine needlework, they were originally a product of spare time and thrift. The earliest quilts in America were probably of wool and done in that oldest of designs, the "crazy" pattern, with warmth rather than beauty the object.
Early American Wooden Ware
The first American settlers were not burdened with the care of fine china, silver, or even glass for their table settings. Nor had they been accustomed to them in the homes they had left. They lived in an age of wood. Among the few material things they brought with them were square wooden plates, known as trenchers, and platters, bowls, and spoons.
Early Knives and Forks
Eating tools are of comparatively recent date. Even at the time of the discovery of America, the ewer and basin, ancestors of the modern finger bowl, were necessary items at the end of a meal. Forks were especially late in appearing on the dining table, though Italians were using a small two-pronged utensil by the middle of the fifteenth century. It reached England about 1610 when it was at first considered a silly piece of Continental foppery.
Louis Prang and the Christmas Card
The general exchange of Christmas cards, taken for granted today, dates back only a little over three decades. Louis Prang is sometimes called the father of the Christmas card. This Boston originator of chromolithography was born in Breslau, Germany, in 1824, the son of a calico manufacturer.
The Patchwork Quilt and the Star Design
Patchwork and quilting are two of the oldest forms of needlework. Both were used in the colorful bed coverings favored as counterpanes in America from 1775 to about 1870 when starched pillow shams and Marseilles spreads became the fashion for the well-appointed bedroom.
Wallpaper-Covered Luggage
TODAY IF YOU SEE a photogenic young women with a hat box of shiny black looped over her arm as she walks down a busy street, it's a safe guess that she is a professional model hurrying from one appointment to another. A hundred years and more ago, before Daguerre had invented the first form of the camera, such feminine hand luggage was more colorful and decorative.
Best Known Leeds Patterns
Blue transfer printing was made after 1790. The blue printed Willow pattern is the best known. Most pieces of Leeds Pottery Willow are marked. There are several variations in the design, but the darker print is the earlier.
Good Taste in Collecting
THE collector who is endowed with innate good taste or who has trained his appreciation to note the beauty of fine line, significant form, and harmonious color has a sounder basis of judgment than the one who knows the number of diamonds in the pattern or the factory where such and such an article was made. Indeed the collector who arms himself with an appreciation of artistic values will never be cheated, for even if he buys a reproduction it will be beautiful in itself. For beauty is not a thing of antiquity but a living element, being created anew with each artist's conception, and in our ability to judge the best of today's decorative art we train our taste to appreciate the finest treasures of other days.
Leeds Pottery
IN SPITE OF the popularity of Leeds ware and the aura that surrounds it, most people are unfamiliar with the great variety of types made by Leeds Pottery. To some, Leeds means blue or green shell- or featheredge ware with a flower painted under the glaze in characteristic blues, greens, and yellows; to others it means the Willow pattern; while to others Leeds means only the rare and expensive hand-painted pieces with names and dates. Indeed Leeds Pottery made all of these wares, and to tell the story of Leeds is to give a picture of the pottery industry in England from 1760 to 1820.
Mocha Ware
MOCHA WARE is one of those things that has been regarded with scorn and labeled kitchen ware, but it has come into the collector's field during the last five years. Although at one time Mocha ware was a common household pottery it is now supposed to be sophisticated to collect it. There is not a great deal of Mocha ware on the market today, because Mocha is a soft pottery and much has been broken, and of that left, many pieces are damaged and browned with usage, and these pieces are not desirable to discriminating collectors.
Patterns Of Mocha Ware
Patterns were made on Mocha ware by the following process. The thrower or man at the potter's wheel first formed the vessel by hand, after which it was sent to the turner, who put it on the lathe and shaved the sur face smooth, and often even gave it a pattern by engine turning; the white parts were thus tooled or turned out.
Creamware Patterns
Creamware was first made in raised patterns of basket weave and in pierced and perforated leaf and diamond and rice-grain designs similar to those on the earlier salt glaze. Shellwork, fluting, and raised beaded borders were also used. Wedgwood made some of the finest pierced creamware. Edges and rims were embossed with ridges, lines, gadroon, and featherwork. The more elaborate pieces such as pierced fruit baskets, centerpieces, candelabra and candlesticks were fluted, scalloped, and decorated with festoons and other raised decoration as well as pierced patterns.
Flowing Blue
You can pick up odd pieces of Flowing Blue in almost any antique shop, but it takes some patience to assemble a tea set. However, once you get a few pieces together you will feel the charm and you'll be off on a new hobby. Flowing Blue (also called Flow or Flown) china is available and within the price range of the average collector's purse. Perhaps Flowing Blue, because of the similarity of its patterns, is not so interesting to collect as some other kinds of china, but it is decorative for the dining table and with patient search it is possible to assemble a complete dinner service.
Freehand - Painted Earthenware
I bought my first jug of freehand-painted earthenware in a little cottage on the Gaspe Peninsula years ago. It had the name of the owner's grandmother and the date 1820 and it was painted with splashy pink asters and green leaves. Of course, the day has passed when you can pick up such "finds" and if you do see a dated piece today it will be expensive. Usually only experienced collectors and those with plenty of money go in for such pieces today, but there are still plenty of simple freehand-painted plates and pitchers to be found.
Weathervan Whimsy
Some weathervane designs are of ancient vintage, especially the "Grasshopper" vane atop Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass. This quaint "wind stick" was copied by Peter Faneuil from the original used on the Merchants Exchange Building in London, England, several hundreds of years ago.
Old Prints For The Den
When it comes to den decorations, the do-it-yourself method can be an interesting as well as fascinating experience. With a variety of prints, it will enable you to picture yourself in any mood you may choose.
New Hall China
When Richard Champion brought the Bristol china works to an end, he transferred his patent rights to a group of experienced potters who, in 1781, established a factory at Tunstall.
Church Gresley China
Church Gresley must appear amongst the names of porcelain factories, in spite of the fact that no authentic piece of china emanating thence is known to exist.
Limoges China
The Limoges chinaware of modern fame started from a not very brilliant beginning. By an edict of 1783 Massie, Fourniers and Grellet were authorized to manufacture hard paste porcelain, the registered mark of the establishment being C.D.
Amber
Amber is one of the most beautiful of all natural objects: its glowing golden colour, its exquisite, smooth, silky texture, are alike remarkable.
Portraits In Enamel
I was surprised some time ago when inspecting the collection of miniatures belonging to a friend, to find that he did not realise the importance and artistic merit of miniatures painted in enamel, nor was he able to distinguish between ordinary miniatures and enamel portraits.
Watches
From earliest childhood men have always loved mechanical toys, and a watch has something of the attraction of a living creature about it; it almost seems to possess life and to constitute itself a companion.
Decanter Labels
At the City office of an important person connected with the wine trade is the most interesting collection of decanter labels I have ever seen, and probably a collection which has no rival, except in the Brown collection at the London Museum.
Straw Marqueterie
In the City of Peterborough, close to the Cathedral, is a small museum, and in one room, crowded together with insufficient space for careful scrutiny, is a collection, the finest in England, of about a hundred and seventy pieces of straw marqueterie work, made at the great prison that stood near to Stilton at Norman Cross, and which lasted from 1796 to 1816.
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