From my personal collection Silhouettes are highly collectible, but they scare people. It is hard to know what is an early one and what is a reproduction or a 20th century silhouette. Hopefully, this blog will give you an overview of what to look for. Etienne de Silhouette was a Finance Minister in France in the 18th century, and an amateur artist. He was also known to be very cheap. Because of his reputation, these inexpensive profile portraits that he and others produc
I have a passion for the little tin dunce caps with handles which are often called "witch hat" snuffers or dousers. I'm not sure why I love them so much, but I do. In the 1700s the most ubiquitous and common candle snuffer was the scissor-type snuffer. The advantage of this type of snuffer is that it not only doused the candle, but snipped the used wick at the same time. The other type, primarily in country homes, was the douser with a long handle. (People in the cities on
Shops? Shows? Auctions? The pandemic has really changed the way we collect. Is it safe to go into a shop? An indoor show? An on-site auction? I don't know about you, but I'm being very cautious. With underlying conditions, not being young, and the virus raging all around us, I've been staying in. But I'm a dealer and I need fresh merchandise. And perhaps you are a dealer or collector or an observer - and the desire - passion - doesn't stop because of a virus. For what it'
In this strange year of isolation we find comfort in our homes at Christmas. Our collections just shine at this time of year. The warm and cozy feeling we get from surrounding ourselves with country antiques explodes when we add greens, fruit, antique toys and lots of candles to our home displays. I sold this multi-socket tin candle holder a few years ago and have regretted it ever since. It really says Christmas! We used to have an old wagon and we found some straw reindee
Starting in about 1820 the female academies of New England introduced theorem painting to their young students. It was thought that even the youngest child could produce a reasonable painting using stencils. The curriculum in those years included skills that were to prepare girls to take their places in society, including needlework, painting, sewing, and other domestic skills which would allow them to create a beautiful home. (See Blog post on Marking Samplers on this site.
The international pandemic has had us all staying home more, and many of us are starting or expanding our gardens in order to be more self sufficient, and also so that we need to shop for food less. This got me to thinking about how the early settlers got their food, stored it, and ate it. Growing and sourcing food was a major pastime, requiring lots of time and work. Everyone who could had a garden where they grew fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicines. They hunted for m
I am mad for miniatures. I've found that most people are, especially when they are period antiques. I don't particularly collect them, but when I look around my house I see them everywhere, so I guess I do. There is something sweet, cute, cuddly even, about teeny weeny things. And good period ones can command astounding prices. A tiny firkin went at auction recently for $8500.00! The first miniature I ever bought was a little tiny candle lantern. I was in my early 20's an
Wooden kitchen and storage utensils have been in use for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands of years. We Americans have a strong tradition of using wood to create all kinds of useful objects, primarily because of the abundance of wood that existed in our new world. Objects crafted of wood or often called treen. The early settlers crafted eating utensils including plates, bowls and spoons from the wood around them. Wood was cheap and available, and unlike china, did not bre
Three years ago I posted a blog about the famous New Hampshire bandbox maker, Hannah Davis. I have revised it, what year no building now they're doing Native American now native American Collection oh more of you based on new information that I discovered, and here it is: Hannah Davis, of Jaffrey NH, is not the swimsuit model married to Derek Jeter. This Hannah was born in 1784, the daughter of a New Hampshire clockmaker. Hannah made boxes. Very pretty boxes. "Aunt Hannah"
When the leaves start to turn and the smell of wood smoke permeates the air I start to gravitate to country antiques that remind me of autumn, - harvesting, warming by the fire, and turning my attention to inside. Harvesting We have a huge old apple tree - so old no one can identify the variety - but they taste fantastic. I love apple boxes filled with apples and I put them all around the house, especially in autumn. Of course you need to check them often or a rotten apple
Thos. Bartlett Antiques and Oddments, Chichester, NH To see the very best in American country antiques, folk art and Americana, you should go to the New Hampshire Antiques Week which is held each year during the first week of August. This year, August 4-10 was the big event. We attended all but one show, visited some shops and some of our favorite pickers, and came back with some treasures. But the best part was the eye-watering, fabulous, rare, special, unique and just plai
About 3 years ago I published a blog post about having antiques in the garden. If you are a gardener, as I am, and if you love antiques, as I do, you invariably start adding them to your plantings. There are lots of ways to use antiques in the garden - some antiques were always meant to be there, and others just look good among the plants. I started collecting photos of things that appeal to me in other people's gardens and I created a Pinterest board from them. You can se
No closets, no wardrobes, no privacy! This is how it was in the typical early 19th century homestead. People lived together in one or two rooms that also had to act as kitchen, dining, sleeping and sitting rooms. So where do you put your stuff? How do you keep some things private and safe? The answer was ubiquitously the wooden box. Boxes for Blankets and Clothes Before wood peg racks appeared on walls to hang clothing, all clothes were stored in boxes. Remember, they didn
I started thinking about how the settlers dealt with light indoors because I found a spill holder at a market in New Hampshire recently. A spill holder is a container for sticks used to transfer fire from the hearth to an oil lamp or candle. Spill holders were usually hung on the mantle or near the hearth. There were no matches. So how did you light a candle? Or a fire, for that matter? Tinder. (I guess that's how the dating app got its name). The items at the right are
The most sought-after and ubiquitous eating vessels of the early 1800s in America were transfer printed earthenwares produced by the British, often referred to as "Staffordshire". If you collect American country antiques you need to have it in your collections. Why? It's English! We didn't make it here. It's not "American Country". Oh, but it is. We tried to make it ourselves, - but just could not compete with the volume of cheap wares imported from Britain. The Britis
It's time to get those herbs inside for winter use! This blog tells you how I use all my 18th and 19th century country antiques with the herbs I grow or buy - and you can do this too, even if you're not a cook. What's nicer than some aromatic rosemary chopped in an old herb bowl, sitting on your kitchen counter? The scent will last for days. I have always had an herb garden. When I was young and wanted to live in the 18th century I planted herbs that would have been in a p
I admit it. I LOVE blue. It has always been my favorite color. The blue shades that appear on American country antiques of the 1800s are special in so many ways. Collecting a variety of them on all kinds of wares creates a serene and often dramatic look. Why are they so appealing?? And why are they different from today's blues? Natural Dyes on Natural Surfaces I think the appeal is the unmistakable softness and purity of the natural as opposed to synthetic colors. Until t
Old leather books are one of the best things to collect! If you have an American country antiques collection they are a must. In addition to enhancing the appearance of your old cupboards and shelves, they are, in themselves, a fascinating category of items to collect. How many of your country antiques can you say, with certainty, exactly how old they are? Even know the exact year, and where they were made? Not many! Most early books tell you the date and place of publicat