Friday, April 11, 2014

Lady of Shalott

Check out these beautiful blooms.  They are a David Austin rose "Lady of Shalott"

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

King Ludwig's Meissen Swan

Last fall we were in Germany, and went to Neuschwanstein Castle.   It was a fabulous trip and we had a wonderful time.  Best vacation ever!

 Any way you look at it, the castle was a feat--even if you'd prefer to live in one of the houses in the valley.

Inside, you can't help but notice the fascination that King Ludwig had with swans.  In addition to being known as Mad King Ludwig, he is also known as the Swan King.

On the tour we spotted a fabulous Meissen swan in the dining room.  

The swan is life-size.   - As in the size of a swan.

Isn't it awesome!  It is Meissen.  Of course, when I got home, I had to look for swans.

I found some antique ones at Westerhof

They are 15" x 15" and were made circa 1820. Oh yes, they are $22,000 for the pair.   The work is fabulous.
You can see the details of the feathers in porcelain.
I went hunting for more swans.   Sothebys sold this tureen for $37,500 GBP

But I'm baffled that all the Meissen swans do not look anything like King Ludwig's swan.

And then I found a swan.   It is huge.

Mine is earthenware, and is from the turn of the century France.

And pennies compared to what this one would go for!

Now.  Where to put it!

I am happy to report that it fits on my giant demilune sideboard.   

My husband reminded me that King Ludwig died under suspicious circumstances--his family was upset that he was spending too much money on all his crazy ideas.    Hmmm.   

My swan seems at home on the sideboard, the mahogany reflecting just like water on a lake!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Antique Cocktail Napkins and Coasters!

Collecting antique textiles can be fun an practical.  There are so many items that don't involve wrestling 120" long pieces of linen.  In selling linens on Ebay, I found that a lot of people give antique linen as gifts.  It is something unusual as a hostess gift:  not too expensive, but something really fun for them to use and enjoy.

The one drawback is that you do have to iron them, but they are so much more elegant to use than paper napkins, and ironing only takes a few seconds, because they're usually about 4" x 6".  Antique coasters are great to use--don't necessarily have to iron after every use, unless it gets stained, and the lace ones often don't need ironing.

If you read my post on hankies, you know that I love Madeira embroidery.  Cocktail napkins can originate from many places.  They can be home-made, and have lace on them, but mostly they have fun figural designs.  I think roosters seem to be the most common, but many animals follow.

Cocktail Napkins
These cocktail napkins have an applique rooster on them.  Aren't they adorable!

These napkins are the most common to find.  However finding a large set is very unusual.

These Madeira napkins have the original metal tag on them.  Items with this tag indicate the highest quality embroidery from Madeira.
This rooster is very well done.  I love the red.
Aren't these works of art!  I love these figural napkins.
Wouldn't you love to get these as a hostess gift!
These appliqued animals are adorable.
I would like 3 dozen, please!

Can you see these in a summer party? On July 4, cherry red works for me!

These were cute in all the colors.   The little reticella bird is adorable.

These look like Marghab napkins, but they are a knockoff.  How can you tell?  The quality-the embroidery is great on the fish, but the edging is frayed.  That doesn't happen on Marghab.  However a scissor trim would solve this. 
These are handmade applique, aren't they cute!

Elegant Madeira grape embroidery.

These for sure should be a gift to an interior designer friend!

The napkins above are harder to find than luncheon napkins.  The sets below would make great gifts and work well as a hostess gift.  Think of a dozen tied up with vintage ribbon.

Fine Madeira embroidery.

Victorian eyelit embroidery

Fabulous set of a dozen cutwork napkins.

Cream Brussels lace edged napkins

Point de Venise lace with filet lace edge.

Really fun fringed napkins with great monogram

High quality fine monogram and embroidery

Fine yellow applique work.  

Another plentiful option is coasters.  They go for a song on Ebay--and I can't believe how cheap they are.

Check out the wonderful quality--click on photo to enlarge.
These are Madeira, of course.

Fabulous lace coasters.

Madeira applique

It's always fun when you find the original box.  These are a nice simple design.

Awesome example of drawnwork.  Each square is a little different.
These wonderful Quimper coasters were  too cute to pass up.
Royal Society silk embroidery coasters are still fairly easy to find.
The more ornate the embroidery, the more expensive they are.
 These pink rose ones are killer!
Of course, the quality of Marghab embroidery done in Madeira is superb.
A stunning set of Marghab coasters like these would be an awesome gift.
Didn't see anything that caught your eye?  Think they're a bit too spendy for your budget?  Well, we have another idea:  Fingertip towels!  Below is a photo of a few Madeira and Marghab designs.

You can always find a set of fingertip towels for $2 to $4 each.  

I hope you enjoyed this walk through antique linen!   Wouldn't you love it if someone gave you a unique item like this as a hostess gift?  I would!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Antique Find! Pink Lusterware

My first piece of Pink Lusterware - a huge pint mug:

Collecting lusterware is extremely popular, as porcelain collecting goes.  One could only hope to achieve the collection below:

From Kay Elliot Collection
Kay has a good blog post on collecting Pink Lusterware.   Her ability to load a china cabinet is amazing.

Pink Lusterware became commercially available around 1790.   It has an iridescence caused by firing gold that turns pink.

I love the artistic handpainting on many of the pieces.
From Designs by Cleo
A saucer with a house on it.

When you see beautiful pitchers, they tend to be Sunderland:

Sunderland seems to have more colors on it.  I think the squiggly lines filling in the open space is charming. 

The pitcher below has the detail of transferware.

Or you could luck into a lot of pitchers at an auction:

Take a look at the piles of teacups in antique shops--you never know what you will find.

I've posted a photo that has the giant mug next to a standard 8 oz mug so you can see the size.

In the mean time, I think I will sit this on my desk.   It will hold alot of pens!