Thursday, December 3, 2009

a clock and a lock

tick-tock, tick-tock...literally the sound of time passing!
in Paris, I stay in an apartment where the large pendulum of the old standing clock has a particular loud beat and the clock would chime out the hours not once but twice, hour upon hour!...sometimes it truly drove me mad!!
but this little "JAZ" alarm clock has a sweet little tick-tocking...and is in good working condition...[on the back cover, the previous owner has scratched a series of faint numbers, perhaps to secret bank accounts??]

"JAZ" trademark and "MADE IN FRANCE" printed on the face;
pre-1960's; found at the Porte-de-Vanves flea market;
6 cm round; "bronzy" metal



Monsieur L found this cool old metal padlock with key but he doesn't remember from which brocante or flea market...

"CERES" brand name and "VF PARIS" etched on the lock cover, which is hinged to slide open for the key;
pre-1950's; in good working condition;
7 cm x 6 cm [+ 4.5] x 1.5 cm


Friday, November 20, 2009

dog prize plaques

Woof! Woof! I Won!!
19th century; red and gold paint on metal [spelter]
12 x 7 cm


Woof! I only came in 2nd place...whimper...sigh...
19th century; blue and gold paint on metal [spelter]
12 x 7 cm


Monday, November 16, 2009


verdigris bronze drawer-pull with twin rams' heads flanking a central medallion with roman profile below a classical urn motif;
19th century; found at Marché Vernaison, St-Ouen
15 x 12 cm



lovely pair of ornate bronze drawer-pulls;
19th century; found at a brocante in Paris
12.5 x 4 cm


pair of simple laurel leaves bronze drawer-pulls;
19th century; found at a brocante in Paris
12 x 2.5 cm



cast iron drawer-pull;
early 1900's; found at a flea market outside of Paris
10 x 2.5 cm


*Monsieur RADIGUER was the former manager of the Paris branch of H.W. CASLON & Cie, a type-foundry that designed and made metal types for printing, and he eventually established his own company - hence his name on a drawer-pull presumably from his type-founding premises!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


These two heavy ancient iron door-pulls were found by Monsieur L many years ago and I love the fact that they had been touched by generations of french hands on a daily basis...

this one with a lion's head is still encrusted with traces of burgundy paint...
18th century; found at a brocante outside of Paris;

8 x 8 cm [+ 5 cm back screw]



brown paint flaking a little off the finely detailed sun motif of this door-pull;
18th century; found at a flea market outside of Paris;
8 x 8 cm [+ 6 cm back screw]


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Knock-Knock jokes aside, I only have these two metal door-knockers left...[having sold all that I find, I have hung on to these two favourite ones]
The elegant lady's hand holding a ball ["une main de bienvenue"] is always popular [enough to be still reproduced], but this one is the real deal - unfortunately, the screw on the back has been broken, thereby making it too short to insert into a door, but it is still very decorative as a paperweight or part of a collection of smalls...

19th century; can't remember which brocante it was found;
11 x 4 cm [4 cm length of back screw]



this silvered metal knocker with the double winged creatures is a one-of for me, not having seen another one again since... I have used it on our front door but was afraid to have it stolen!
"A V *" mark is etched onto the back screw post
19th century
8 x 8 cm [7 cm length of back screw]


Thursday, October 22, 2009

a songbird and a spider dance

I found this lovely little watercolour [with the frame] at a mad jumble of a brocante in an unremarkable suburb of Paris... I love the fresh spring colours, the spontaneous brush-strokes and the naive quality of it...[the slight white line just right of center in this image is from a reflection in the glass and is not on the painting]

Unsigned and undated [my guess is pre-1960's, judging from the frame];
watercolour on paper;
12 x 16 cm / 17.5 x 22 cm framed in gold-painted wood



"Printed in Oil Colours
By G. Baxter
The Inventor and Patentee
XI. Northampton Square"
is stamped on the lower left hand corner of the backing paper;
found [with frame] at the brocante fair at Chatou outside of Paris;
10 x 7.5 cm / 17 x 13 cm framed in gold-painted wood


G. BAXTER is presumably George Baxter [1804-1867] and there is a website about his life and work, with a complete listing of his oil colour prints. There is mention of the Tarantella Set [1850], of which this print must be a part of, but there is no accompanying image to confirm its belonging.
[The Tarantella dance is a rapid whirling folk dance that originated in southern Italy from a dancing mania, also known as tarantism, supposedly caused by the bite of a tarantula spider!]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a drawing and an engraving

The what-goes-around-comes-around Aesop's fable of the Fox and the Stork is beautifully illustrated in this fine drawing of the Stork finally enjoying her lunch while the Fox sniffs around the jar in hunger and frustration...

I found this framed drawing at the wonderfully atmospheric brocante fair at Chatou over ten years ago now, and still am slightly reluctant to let it go...

"Le Renard et la Cicogne"
signed "Gve GAUHEY" and dated 1826
[I have tried researching for a Gustave GAUHEY but no luck]
graphite pencil on paper [with some damage in spots around the drawing];
24 x 18.5 cm / 37.5 x 26.5 cm framed [wood painted black; original glass]



"Les Disciples de Flore"
"Peint par Bonnieu Peintre du Roi"*
"Gravé par Amb. Orio"**
18th century; found at an antiques fair in Paris
24.5 x 17 cm / 41.5 x 34 cm framed [found in wood frame and original glass]


*BONNIEU peintre du roi is mentioned in one book "Mercure de France"
**AMBROISE ORIO has his name on another engraving that I googled - "Vue du Grand Marché à Bruxelles" by Bernard RIDDERBOSCH, 1783

Monday, September 28, 2009

oil paintings

These two semi-rustic oil paintings were found by Monsieur L - so they are more his taste than mine, and yet I have grown quite fond of them over the years!
The detail of the tiny fisherman in this painting reminds me of the time we drove past a solitary live one sitting patiently on his upside-down bucket on the banks of the Loire with his pristine old Citroen Deux-Chevaux parked close by beside him. It was such a classic french country moment that we stopped the car to take pictures of him - and he didn't seem to mind at all!

Untitled; signed "A. SARDET" and dated "FEVRIER 1914" [detail shot below]
Oil on canvas nailed around a wood stretcher;
50 x 32.5 cm
found at a brocante in Le Bourget [a suburb to the northeast of Paris]


*Re: "A. SARDET" - I have tried to find out more about this painter [including googling, of course!] but to no avail. If anyone out there has any information, please do let me know...


signed on the front but the name is indecipherable,
and on the label pasted on the back is a name "DON [?]Y" [detail shot below];
dated 1956
Oil on wood panel;
46.5 x 33 cm


*PYLA-SUR-MER is a seaside town known for its fine sand dunes [and pine trees, too, according to this painting!] located on the Bay of Arcachon in the Gironde region [on the Atlantic coast of France]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

les boîtes en bois

wood box for holding a dozen small bottles of perfumed hair oil [but found without the bottles];
wire hinges attaching the lid at the back;
side and bottom panels are joined with tiny metal nails;
metal hook clasp in the front;
repairs to a crack in the lid;
circa 1900, found at an antique fair in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris;
[24.5 x 21 cm wide x 5.5 cm high]


very lovely paper label glued to the inside of the lid
[the box is unlined]


"CHOCOLAT LOMBART"* box [but chocolates long gone!]
wire hinges attach the lid to the back of the box;
side and bottom panels joined with tiny metal nails;
metal wire clasp on the front of the lid;
19th century, found at a brocante fair in Paris;
[30 x 20.5 cm wide x 9 cm high]


[the words on the bottom halves of the ovals are not quite legible]"
stamped on the top of the lid

paper label glued onto the inside of the lid
[the box is unlined bare wood]

*CHOCOLAT LOMBART was established in Paris in 1760, as indicated on the label above, on the Boulevard des Italiens and only moved to Avenue de Choisy in 1860. It was taken over by Chocolat MENIER [I have a small metal box from this chocolate company as well] in 1957.


tiny wood box used for mailing something...
the address label handwritten in ink and attached to the top of the lid is now barely legible;
the Republique Français stamp glued to the front side panel is date-stamped JANV 99 [January 1899];
there are 4 blobs of red sealing wax [with partial monograms], one on each of the side panels;
the lid is attached to the box with metal hinges on the sides;
the side and bottom panels are joined with tiny metal nails;
shapely closing metal clasp on the front;
found with a collection of saint medallions inside, but I don't remember from which village brocante we were at
[7.5 x 5.5 cm wide x 3 cm high]


Thursday, August 27, 2009

metal boxes

copper box with the crest of MONTBELIARD*
19th century, found at the Porte-de-Vanves flea market
[15 x 7.5 cm wide x 6 cm high/7.5 cm with the feet]

detail of crowned headless bird [eagle?] on the sides;
a pattern of the double crossed Croix de Lorraine** on top of the lid and on the front and back sides;
the lock is missing its key;
original tufted red satin cushion still lines the bottom of the inside


*MONTBELIARD is located in eastern France in the Doubs département of the Franche-Comté region...distinguished by the Château des Ducs de Wurtemberg and the Peugeot car manufacturing plant, now running out of gas...?

**The Cross of Lorraine was the heraldic cross of the Dukes of Lorraine, the region bordering Alsace to the east, and north of the Franche-Comté... it was also held as a symbol for Joan of Arc and during the second World War was adopted as the official symbol by the Free French Forces.


"CHOCOLAT MENIER"* bronzy [brass?] lidded box
late19th/early 20th century, found at the St-Ouen flea market
[12.5 x 8.5 cm wide x 5.5 cm high]


*Chocolat MENIER was founded in 1816 in Paris by the Menier family as a pharmaceutical aside from their hardware company, and the chocolate was only used sparingly as a medicinal product to coat the bitter pills! After almost 150 years in business, the Menier family lost control of their company and had to sell it in 1960, eventually being brought into the Swiss Nestlé S.A. concern of today. [The chocolate producing factory that was built in Noisiel in 1825, and became the largest chocolate manufacturer in 19th century France, expanded in 1872 with "an iconic iron and brick factory building of the Industrial Revolution", which is now designated as an official "Monument historique" and will soon be included as a UNESCO World Heritage site.]


"K.L.G " painted tin lidded box
[I am not sure what K.L.G stands for and what had been stored inside this little box]
19th century?/early 20th century?, found at a brocante outside of Paris
[9 x 3.5 cm wide x 3 cm high]


printed on the front edge of the lid

printed on the back edge of the lid

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

les boîtes rondes

This round lidded tin box is one I have held onto for a while...and I have never come across another one quite like it!
The intricate design is pressed into what I believe to be lead, or a softer such metal, and then attached [glued?] onto the plain tin surface of the top and around the sides. Tiny milky "pierre de lune" [moonstones] are set in the center of the flowers like glistening drops of dew...

19th century, possibly one-of-a-kind homemade, found in a brocante outside Paris
[17 cm in diameter x 4 cm high]



This Paris souvenir box in plated silver needs a little polishing, but I love the way it has discoloured to a goldy sheen...

The date "1918" is etched above the crest of Paris and "Souvenir de Paris" is etched below the laurel branches.
[enlarge the image below to read]
[10 cm in diameter x 4 cm high]


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

rising temperatures...

My temperature is set arising by the well-formed naked gods who grace these two pieces...!

I believe this to be Aristée, son of Apollo and Cyrene, posing casually atop the pyramidal base attached with the thermometer gauge with the word "REAUMr" marked above - the Réaumur scale was formulated by René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur in 1730 and was widely used in France, Germany and Russia in the 18th century, but by the 19th century France had adopted the Celsius scale for the metric system, and nowadays the only use of the Réaumur scale is in the measuring of milk temperature in cheese production!...[perhaps that is why Aristée was chosen to crown this piece as he was once taught by the nymphs to curdle milk!!]
[1 degree Ré = 1.25 degree Celsius]

bronze, 19th century, found at an antique fair in Paris
[23.5 cm high/ 7.5 x 7.5 cm base/ statue 8 cm high]



This must be Zeus sitting astride his soaring eagle holding onto his thunderbolts and his sceptre, rather grandly commending a modest hair salon in Brest! A promotional novelty item with a non too reliable thermometer [in Celsius, but with diluted mercury??] that could accommodate any business concern on the plaque... this one advertising for:

36 rue d'Aiguillon
BREST Tel. 44.20.69"

metal, pre-1960's, found at a brocante in Brittany
[16 cm in length x 4 cm at widest]