More Finds


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French Casaquin c. 1790

Meg Andrews here

I started collecting 18th century shoe buckles last year…

Many from the Georgian time period 1714-1811. Anyone who has

read my blog for a while has probably noticed I love 18th century

ladie’s shoes…


c. 1772

Until the end of the 18th century, women’s shoes were made

of lovely silk and embroidered fabric. Perhaps that’s why I find

them so charming…and expensive…and fragile…

and why I focused instead on collecting their sturdy silver buckles

I focused on silver with paste stones…

In the 18th century, paste was by no means an inferior

product and both men and woman loved how they

added a little sparkle to the dance floor….

highlighting their perfect mincing footsteps…

Some buckles lose their prongs along the way…

the top and bottom buckles

have the similar shaped mechanism that I prefer…

It was customary at the time for silver buckles to

not be marked, but they were all tested chemically

by the sellers who vouched for their composition..

Of course I was most drawn to flowers and bows.

The only matched pair I have,

this set came backed by damask

and the seller included loose stones

so that I could restore them…

Probably my favorite…

It has a nice heft to it, a good mix of paste sizes and shapes

and I like the open design. A pin was added to the back to

turn this into a broach and I added the scrap of 18th

century fabric. It’s not the whole shoe but it’ll do….

Pastes were set into foil, which intensified the shine

They also often added a black dot to the bottom of the paste to give more

dimension to it and duplicate the look of diamonds…

Matched pairs with no missing stones command high prices,

but I’m content with my little ramshackle fleet…

The buckle with baguette shaped pastes is another favorite. I’m working on a storage

and display case, but I like collecting antique objects that can be picked up and examined.

It just gives another dimension to history to touch the every day objects that people

lived amongst, relied on, were proud of.

Photo from Marie Antoinette Style by Adrien Goetz


A great photo timeline of antique shoes here

A  collection of my posts that feature antique shoes here

Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 18th century buckle collection here

Romance novelist Candice Hern’s gorgeous collection here



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This week I thought I’d show you some of the things I love to collect…

I’ve been collecting antique French letters for several years…

Here’s one of my latest letters adding a bit of pedigree to faux

stack of old books…

I wanted the look of stacks of old books to add some visual height to a cabinet.

So I took the glossy covers of a stack of old SAT, etc,  prep books that I was going

to recycle, and brushed a few shades of cream on their outer edges, tied them up

with gardeners twine. Close up, they don’t look bad. On the top of the cabinet…

even better…

I searched for 18th century script…but fell in love with the more swooping

and looping style of the first decade or so of the 19th century…

I looked for words and letters that popped out from the neat rows of script…

My heart skipped a beat when I found this 19th century “Aubusson cartoon”…

Cartons de Tapisserie d’Aubusson are oil paintings on canvas that preceded the

creation of an aubusson rug or tapestry. Schools of artists copied classical elements

from master paintings, wools and silk were dyed to match the painting and

then weavers copied it…

Against the somewhat dingy background the aqua, vert, rose, and blue and white petals  glow…

Painted full size, either with gouache (an opaque watercolor) on paper, or oil on canvas,

cartons are also important as archival material. As tapestries woven from the mid-18th century

with wools coloured by chemical ingredients have faded with time, « cartons » are now the

only true representation of how tapestries looked  when being made. More here

Love the theatrical drapery, garlands of flowers,

stylized swirl of acanthus…

From the same dealer, an 18th century French embroidered piece of silk…

This triangular scrap (about 28 inches by 22″)  might have

upholstered the side of a bergere once…

Up close…stitches and bright chenille from over 200 years ago….

Not to be confused with your grandmother’s chenille bedspread,

Additional info on 18th century chenille embroidery here

As much as I love antique embroidered silk

It’s a relief to enjoy antique and vintage linens…

They’re washable, dye-able, sturdy…

Besides stacks of humble grain sack pillows,  my new favorites are initialed

French linen chemises and sheets that were probably folded neatly for

decades into an armoir….


Loved this Anthropologie jacket…but not

thrilled with its buttons…

Some other options….

Antique French buttons…

Found at the Alameda Flea market from

a dealer with a San Francisco antique store

that sporadically appears at the flea…

I bought these buttons last year on Ebay France…

Can be a little challenging on one’s high school French…

Luckily we have Tongue in Cheek ‘s boutique here and

Mélanie for Le Petit Cabinet de Curiosités just opened

her online boutique here for fresh from France treasures…

Buttons above available from Mélanie here

More of my flea market buttons

still in their crisp tissue wrapping…

And an idea for using them…

this was on 1stdibs last year

at Sarlo

To be continued…



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Axel and May Vervoordt’s bathroom

18th century boiserie

Thomas Gainsborough painting

Crystal chandelier

Watery blue greens


Love Axel Vervoordt‘s bold and spare and rough Belgian style…

but while Restoration Hardware et al are running with that meme,

I love the personal glimpse into his and May’s private style

at home… in personal spaces like bath…


and garden…

Axel Vervoordt

Timeless Interiors

Photography Christian Sarromon

18th century Boiserie


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Somewhere in Switzerland at the edge of a lake, a collector gathered

a home full of beautiful items, lived amongst them, enjoyed them.

I found this gorgeous collection of photos from a 25 year old

magazine on shelves in my childhood room. I remember the

cover like it was yesterday. Incredible photos and antiques

like these are hard to forget, perfect, and perfectly timeless.

On the salon mantle, an incredible Meissen clock by Kändler

and Reinike, the original movement by Etienne Lenoir still

in working order

The extensive painted boiserie is stunning…imbuing the room with a

singular watery blue green cast. Click here to compare to Belgian Villa

Rozenhout’s 18th century boiserie reclaimed from a French chateau.

Two terra cotta figures by Clodion sit atop a commode from Turin, Italy

at right. Vibrant Iranian carpet underfoot  “either 16th or 19th century...”

The painted panels with the scenes from the fables of La Fontaine were originally painted white.

When the paneling was examined by the people who had worked on the restoration of the Petit Trianon

at Versailles they turned out to be genuine 18th century and a pale blue beneath the white paint.

In an earlier post If Walls Could Talk, I included a short video of the careful restoration of Madame

Dange’s c. 1750 Place Vendome boudoir boiserie which was also decorated with Aesop fables.   When

the house became the residence of Paris’s military governor in the 19th century the boudoir was gilded

and repainted in an ostentatious style. Research and radiographic examination revealed the original.

The decision was made to remove the gilding and restore a portion of the paneling to offer a side by side

view of both. Click here to appreciate the complexity of the restoration.

In the dining room, gorgeous 18th century Chinese wallpaper…

Flight, Barr and Barr Worcester table service c. 1830-1840

Chairs are Wheelback Hepplewhite …six original that

line the wall, copies pulled up to table…

Louis XV gilded candlesticks, possibly from model by

the great rococo designer Meissonier…

Collection of 18th century English air-twist glasses…

In sitting room, Samuel Dixon bird paintings on embossed paper in niche…

Looks like Dutch Delft tile lining the marble fireplace.

Vitrine filled with favorite objects

to the right of fireplace…

Étienne Maurice Falconet

BaigneuseThe Bather

c. 1757

Beauvais tapestry over red couch….

An 18th century clock by Baillon…

still keeping time with its original movement.

And lantern with 18th century Strasbourg faience birds….

Earthenware horses manufactured in Leeds, England

in the 18th century…

Made for saddle shop’s windows, they are 19 inches tall.

The largest private collection of these much sought after horses

The owner’s modest quarters, under the eaves…

House and Garden Dec. 1985

Rosamond Bernier

Photographs by Oberto Gili



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More of my daughter’s photos from Provence….

A visit to the Archaeological Museum in Nimes…

A treasure trove of weathered patinas on

metal and stone, mixed up with lovely

aqua tones…

Black and white checkered floor visible

through the aqua glazed backdrop

Greige and moss tinged stone…

Ancient glass “beakers”…

in an aqua group

Just love these shades of green…

The glass case throws reflection artfully back into the photo….

The French mansard roof line beyond the window cutting a wide

swath through the Etruscan urn and the checkered floor

emblazoning the antiquities with its pattern…

A classics major, Austin just got back from a

snowy first trip to Provence. Earlier

Provence photos here and here