Sunday, January 27, 2013

Astor's Animals

When we first posted about acquiring a dog portrait from Brooke Astor’s famous collection we hinted it wasn’t the only one of her animal treasures to find a home with us.

Among our favorite acquisitions from the Stair Galleries sale was a charming collection of frog figures including these carved malachite, jade, and cloisonné enamel pieces happily clustered here atop a green marble topped table between a pair of nautilus shells, one clad in sterling silver by legendary jeweler Verdura. The vintage green and white porcelain vase turned table lamp makes for a nice alternative to the traditional blue and white china while lending the green themed vignette a dose of Chinoiserie.

Birds were another animal beloved by Mrs. Astor, and we were pleased to procure a number of her bird figures in porcelain and stone, especially a beautiful carved pair of lapis lazuli bluebirds perched atop pertrified wood, which are now the centerpiece of the mineral collection in our eclectic cabinet of curiosities. On the shelf above between a collection of Asian ceramics and carved wooden folk art figures sit two of Mrs. Astor’s Vista Allegra porcelain bird figures flanking the laughing Buddha statue, before which sits an antique Royal Vienna tea bowl also from the Astor estate.

Here in a shot from the Sotheby’s auction catalogue is the same Vista Allegra owl pair seen on Mrs. Astor’s red lacquer table next to a gilt-metal Tiffany & Co. tortoise clock.

We also acquired a large lot of small English and Continental European porcelain articles including the lovely antique Meissen bird dish seen keeping company with our floral Chinese famille rose vase and a turquoise bird on a giltwood base also from Astor’s bird collection.

The main reason we purchased this lot was the four, though the catalogue only claimed two, leaf dishes by Herend. Included among them was the one seen here in the intricately hand painted Rothschild Bird pattern, first created in the 1860’s for a Rothschild Baroness after she lost her pearls in the garden only to have the gardener discover birds playing with them in a tree.

Here the same Rothschild Bird dish can be seen in another shot from the Sotheby’s catalogue, atop Astor’s Louis XV bureau plat, along with a smaller Herend leaf dish we displayed among the frogs in the first image. Brooke Astor truly was a great animal lover as evidenced not only by the things she chose to collect but also by her Statement of Faith,
“I want the creatures, the animals, and the birds to be a little less afraid of human beings because I have blessed them and loved them, and far from doing them any harm, I have done them good.”

*While the Astor estate pieces are not currently for sale much of the surrounding decor and accessories are available for purchase HERE in our online shop.

Photos 1, 2, 4, & 5 by KS&D.

Photos 3 & 6 via Sotheby's.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Antique & Vintage Treasure Boxes

Since we regard our hand selected shop inventory as a personal treasure trove it should come as no surprise that we’ve a weakness for the treasure chest in all its forms.

Whether crafted of wood, lacquer and brass, studded leather, silks and needlepoint, or even painted tin, these intriguing containers come in as varied materials as the treasures they held.

Could it be the mystery of what they once contained that make these antique and vintage jewelry and sewing boxes, and trucks and chest into alluring home accessories?

Treasure after all comes in endless varieties, be it a jewel or artifact, once even precious teas were kept locked away.

Click HERE to shop the latest in our collection of unique antique and vintage boxes ranging from trinket box to treasure chest.

Photos by KS&D.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Top Posts of 2012

What better way to start a new year of blogging then looking back over 2012’s best posts as selected by our readers…


Our 10th most popular post of the year was our colorful Vintage Hollywood Regency Lux vignette featuring a sexy swinging 60’s sofa and chinoiserie brass cocktail table.

The Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree post was so popular it found a place on our list after being posted only a few short weeks.

Our piece on Designing A Staircase Gallery Wall discussed the challenges of arranging art on a diagonal.

In A Garden City we explored the lush leafy streets of Lambertville, New Jersey.

We enjoyed finely crafted English Tudor manor house architecture at the Glynallyn Mansion in May.

In Impressionist Landscape Oil Paintings we viewed the Delaware River Valley landscape through the works of a local artist.

Our post on Ultimate Heraldry featured crests and coats of arms created for the 1939 World’s Fair.

In our Tuscan Villa Interiors post we toured a lavish Italian country estate currently on the market.

Art History & Architecture on the Delaware Canal featured a wealth of local landmarks all while strolling the beautiful Delaware River Tow Path.

And finally our most popular post of the year by a landslide was A Victorian City where we explored the beautifully preserved Victorian architecture of historic Lambertville, New Jersey.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our year in review as we set out to prepare many exciting new posts for the year ahead!

Be sure to check out our newest arrivals HERE in our online antique and vintage shop!
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