Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mastery of Design: The LeRoy Coral Bracelet, 1860




The Victoria & Albert Museum


This delicate jewel of marine coral and African gold depicts intricately carved flowers emerging from a woven basket. This sort of naturalistic jewelry became especially popular in the mid-Nineteenth Century, especially in Italy where this bracelet was made. Coral’s softness allowed for easy carving, but it could also be used in its natural form, taking advantage of the appeal of its natural branches in styles reminiscent of those from Asia and Africa.

Most of the coral used in Europe came from the sea near Naples, Italy, and the medium quickly became a favorite symbol of world travel around 1815.

Saturday Silliness: Private Eye Popeye, 1954






I think this explains itself.  Happy Saturday before Thanks-a-ma-giving.




At the Music Hall: A Peach of a Pair, 1930


Jack Haley


"Follow Thru," a 1930 Technicolor musical from MGM featured a host of songs which would become popular hits of the era. The film was based on a 1929 play of the same name by Frank Mandel and Laurence Schwab which starred Jack Haley (of “Tin Man” fame). Haley went on to reprise his role in the film. One of the songs, unique to the film version, “A Peach of a Pair” by George Marion was a real stand-out. 


Enjoy!


Unusual Artifacts: Devonshire Villas, 1900

Devonshire Villas No. 3
England, 1900
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum



This isn’t a dollhouse. It’s actually a replica of an actual house that stood in Kilburn, North London in the Devonshire Villas. The house, No. 3—now long gone—was once the home of Mr. Samuel Loebl who commissioned this model as a gift for his daughter, Cecy, so that she would have a record of her childhood home. The model was made in 1900 and it passed from Cecy to her own daughter who donated it to the V&A in 1972.

The model, like the real house on High Road in Northwest London had been, is decorated in the height of early Twentieth Century fashion—much in the Art Nouveau style--and includes a host of “modern” amenities, including a fitted bathroom with a double sink in the kitchen. The bathroom walls are outfitted with "sanitary" wallpaper—paper coated with a special material which allowed it to be washed, a new concept at the time. The nursery, almost an exact replica of the real thing, was filled with miniature toys and a colorful frieze.

The most interesting thing, perhaps, is that the model contains a small telephone. The six room replica also depicts the house’s conservatory (separated from the drawing room by a beaded curtain). The hallway of the model also replicates the handsome stained glass window of the original house.

Cecy Loebl even had a hand in the decorating of the model. She made the carpets, lampshades and furniture upholstery to match those of the real house’s bedroom and drawing room.

The replica was exhibited at a 1925 Toy Fair in Frankfurt where it was wholly praised for the fine replication of the original house.















Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 193




Chapter 193
Knowing 



Mr. Punch sat in his nightshirt, cross-legged, on his bed. Dog Toby snored loudly at the foot of the bed, on a pillow of his very own. In Punch’s lap, he held his Punchinello puppet and studied its face.

“How’d that bloke know?” Punch muttered, recalling Roger’s announcement earlier in the day.

He ran his fingers over the puppets face, tracing the cool lines of the figure’s long, hooked nose, his prominent chin and flat eyes. Next, Punch touched his own, well Julian’s face—the smooth brow punctuated by the two slightly-arched brows with their stiff hairs. He felt the outline of Julian’s sharp, almost Roman nose; the prickles of beard on his cheeks; the gentle slope of his chin.

Punch straightened his back and sighed loud enough to awaken Dog Toby who looked up sleepily at his master and smacked his lips as if to say, “Dogs are sleeping here, please.”

“Sorry.” Mr. Punch mumbled. He watched the terrier yawn and curl up again.

“Don’t look like Mr. Punch, not on the outside.” Mr. Punch whispered. “Maybe he’s like our friend Marjani who can see inside o’ folk and know what they are beneath.” He shook his head. But, hadn’t he known that Roger was different—like him—when they met. From the outside, Roger didn’t look any different than any other man one might see walking the streets of London. With his thinning strawberry-blond locks, pale skin and narrow face, he could have been anyone—a young parson, a merchant, a clerk. Still, Punch had known that beneath that façade bubbled more than one voice, more than one name, more than one man—just the same.

Perhaps, Punch considered for a moment, perhaps it was an ability that all of those like him had—the ability to recognize brethren. Robert always told Punch that there must be others like him, that there surely must be many people all over the world with the same…the same…circumstances…condition…mind-set…outlook. After all, that’s why Robert was writing his book.

Robert.

Where was he?

Punch knew that the household would not be as clockwork precise as it had been before they’d gone to Aberdeenshire. Speaight was still not quite himself yet. It would be weeks before Gerard could return to his duties. With Charles as the sole fully-functioning male member of the staff, there would, of course, be delays. Georgie had already proved himself helpful and assuredly secured himself a position better than that of page in days to come. But, still, Punch knew he’d have to be patient.

His patience proved to be worthwhile when, after several minutes, Robert appeared in his dressing gown.

“Hullo, Chum!” Punch said brightly.

“Dear Punch,” Robert smiled. “I’ve already been to the nursery and Colin is sleeping quite contentedly. I think he’s pleased to be home.”

“No doubt he is.” Mr. Punch nodded.

“I’ve looked-in on Gerard as well.” Robert continued, sitting down on the bed next to Punch.

“How’s the poor man?”

“Quite alert.” Robert answered. “In fact, he was chatting quite clearly with Gamilla.”

“She ain’t gonna stay at his bedside all night, is she?” Punch asked. “She’s not slept in I don’t know how long.”

“I’m afraid I was rather insistent that she retire to her own room.” Robert nodded.

“Will she?”

“That’s difficult to say.” Robert replied. “Charles mentioned he was going to play cards with Gerard for awhile before retiring, so, hopefully Gamilla will feel that he’s being looked after long enough to get some rest of her own.”

“Sure, Chum.” Punch nodded.

“Charles mentioned that you’d gone to the servants’ hall earlier.”

“I had.” Punch confessed. “I wanted to see for me-self that all were settled. Mrs. Pepper were asleep in her chair by the fire. Violet was sittin’ at the table tryin’ to make something outta her poor, ruined hair. Georgie was readin’ a Penny Dreadful. Speaight had already gone to his pantry. Everyone seemed quite at peace.”

“Let’s hope that it stays that way.” Robert sighed. “This afternoon was actually quite pleasant. I think Lennie rather enjoyed shopping.”

“I liked seeing her face when she were lookin’ at all them pretty fabrics. I ‘specially liked the cherry red and that sea blue she picked. They’ll make some fine dresses.”

Robert nodded. “I’ve been meaning to tell you that I was very moved when you suggested that she call herself ‘Lennie Molliner.’”

Mr. Punch shrugged. “Makes sense, don’t it? Sure, she ain’t me pa’s daughter. But, we can’t call her ‘Fallbridge.’ She ain’t due a title, what with bein’ illegitimate. Takin’ the Molliner name is the closest we can give her to a family name.”

“You’ve been very generous with her.”

“Ain’t got a reason not to.” Mr. Punch replied. “She’s been through such an ordeal.”

“Some would look at her judgmentally, considering she handed her own name to that terrible woman.”

“She were upset and confused and scared. It’s something what we can all look to in our own lives. Ain’t a person what ever lived who ain’t felt the same. She made a mistake, but ain’t right to make her suffer forever for it as it were an innocent enough mistake.”

“I agree.” Robert smiled.

“I’m glad we’re home.” Punch sighed.

“As am I.”

“Do you think maybe we can have a few days to ourselves? Just to enjoy bein’ home?”

“Well, no.”

“What?” Punch raised his eyebrows.

Robert pulled a letter from the picket of his dressing gown. “Just as I was coming from my rooms, I met Georgie in the passage. Seems a page from the palace brought this moments ago.” He handed the missive to Punch.

“Royal seal.” Punch shook his head.

“Her Majesty or Prince Albert?”

“Albert.” Punch sighed.

“Shall we open it?” Robert asked.

“I s’pose. Only I already know what’s inside.” Punch replied.



Did you miss Chapters 1-192 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 194.



Drawing of the Day: Old Cottages at East Bergholt, 1940

Old Cottages at East Bergholt
Algernon Newton, 1940
The Victoria & Albert Musuem



This 1930 charcoal drawing is part of the “Recording Britain” initiative of World War II which served to capture the changing face of the British landscape.

The scene depicts East Bergholt, John Constable's home—an almost hallowed spot for landscape painter Algernon Newton (1880-1968). Newton had a particular affinity for “Constable Country.” While others in the Recording Britain program attempted to mask the encroaching passage of time on the landscape, Newton embraced it and made sure not to conceal modern marks such as the telephone poles and wires which we see to the left of the cottage.



Object of the Day: The Chicago Fair

Click on image to be scandalized.



One might think that this comic trade card is advertising the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893—The World’s Columbian Exposition. But, nope. It’s not. The card actually advertises a Wisconsin shop of the same era which called itself “Chicago Fair” in order to capitalize on all the press the exposition was getting and to make their wares sound more glamorous. This stock trade card also makes use of imagery of new contemporary technology—the telephone—for that extra feeling of excitement.

The card’s front shows a split-scene of a man and a pinched-face spinster—each at their respective telephones.

It reads:

Fond Dad: Darling How-s Baby? Bless Her 
Dear Little Tutsy-Putsy 




Maiden Lady: Good Gracious! 



And the punch-line?

THEY RUNG HIM UP THE WRONG NUMBER 

Ha! See, she was scandalized by his filthy, filthy, dirty, nasty talk. The cad! Ain’t technology scary?

And, then, in red script…

Chicago Fair 

What’s sold at Chicago Fair? Corny dogs? Prize pigs? Pies? Fried butter?

Nah.



FOR 
GREAT BARGAINS 
IN 
Dry Goods, Fancy Goods, 
CARPETS, 
Tinware, Glassware, 
Crockery, 
and all kinds of Notions, 
GO TO 
THE CHICAGO FAIR 
I. GORDON, Prop. 
NORTH MAIN ST., near 1st Nat’l Bank 
FORT ATKINSON, WIS.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Carlo Giuliano Pendant, 1867



Pendant
Carlo Giuliano for Harry Emanuel
C. 1867
The Victoria & Albert Museum




Let’s take a look at this attractive pendant upon the back of which the V&A has written the museum number. Why do they do this?

This pendant was made by Italian jeweler Carlo Giuliano. It is believed that it may have been shown at the international exhibition in Paris in 1867. An identical pendant was displayed at the 1867 exhibition by the jeweler and silversmith, Harry Emanuel. This fact was illustrated in the Art Journal magazine at the time. Giuliano, who launched his own firm in 1874, worked almost exclusively for Harry Emanuel at the time, so it’s a safe bet that this was the pendant that was displayed in 1867.

The vase-shaped pendant of enameled gold is decorated with table-cut rubies and features three enameled cherubs and three pendant drops set with diamond chips and hung with river pearls. A glass locket fitting at the back would have allowed the insertion of hair or other mementos. 



Drawing of the Day: A Young Professor, Nineteenth Century

Chromolithograph after an unknown artist
Nineteenth Century
The George Speaight Archive at
The Victoria & Albert Museum






I very much like this Nineteenth Century print of a beautiful drawing of a budding Punch professor. A young boy with a puppet booth carries a drum on his back. In front of him he walks his puppet, a marionette figure of Mr. Punch.

What’s interesting about this is that by the Nineteenth Century, most Punchinellos were glove puppets which were performed in the Victorian style fit-up which first comes to mind when we think of Punch & Judy. In fact, marionette Punch and Judy shows were a century out of vogue in the U.K. So, this was a sort of nod to the antique and that makes it all the more charming.

Of course, this is from the George Speaight Archive at the V&A.



The reverse shows a page from an album.

Friday Fun: More from Mr. Punch’s 350th in Covent Garden




Here’s some more from May’s celebration of Mr. Punch’s 350th birthday celebration in Covent Garden. Oh, how I wish I could have been there. There’s also a nice interview with Geoff Felix, a professor of Punch and Judy who, in my estimation, is one of the finest going. Also, you get to hear from a puppeteer from Naples who talks of Punch’s Pulcinella roots.





Mr. Punch's Puzzles: The Riddle of the Week





Once, again, Mr. Punch, with my help, is offering up a true Victorian riddle.  The first person to answer correctly--by posting in the comments--will receive public congratulations.  

So, here's this week's riddle.  We ask that you don't Google the answer.  Mr. Punch would not find that sporting at all.  Give it a shot and see what you can come up with.  Here we go... No cheating...


     I fly to any foreign parts,
Assisted by my spreading wings:
     My body holds an hundred hearts,
Nay, I will tell you stranger things:

     When I am not in haste I ride,
And then I mend my pace anon;
     I issue fire out from my side:--
Ye witty youths, this riddle con.


And...the answer is...

A SHIP

Hooray for all of you!  We had some excellent, thoughtful, bizarre and thorough (and some unrelated)  answers today!  Mr. Punch is pleased.  Next week, Mr. Punch is taking Friday off for his second American Thanksgiving.  However, he'll be back the week after with another of Mr. Punch's Puzzles.  


Mr. Punch wants you to always know “the way to do it,” so why not check out our “That’s the way to do it!” products which are available only at our online store.  


Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 192



Chapter 192
Sweet Dreams 



Roger,” Mr. Punch said softly as he and Robert were ushered by the man’s caregiver into a darkened, musty room. “Remember me?”

The man narrowed his eyes. “Yes.”

“Who am I, then?” Punch asked.

“You’re Victor Geddes.” Roger replied fiercely.

“No.” Punch shook his head.

“Yes, you are.” Roger growled.

“Victor Geddes is now called the Baron Lensdown. I’m not he. I’ve seen him just days ago. He’s a bad man. I know why you hate him.” Punch answered gently.

“Do you?”

“I certainly do.” Punch replied.

“Why do I hate him?”

“He hurt ya, he did.” Punch nodded. “I remember for I were there. See? I’m…well, you’re looking at the Duke of Fallbridge. Remember me from Scotland when we was boys? I lived in the Grange Molliner.”

“You’re Lord Fallbridge?”

“I was called that then, yes.”

“You’re the thin one with the pale face and sad eyes. The boy with the dark ginger hair.”

“I am. I was.”

“You saw us on the turret.” Roger continued.

“I did. I saw what he done to ya. I saw him push ya. I’m dreadful sorry he done it. But, you don’t gotta fear ‘im no more. See, he can’t come to ya here. He won’t hurt ya ‘gain.”

“He hurt my sister, Ellen. She let him.”

Robert and Punch looked quickly at one another.

“What’s that look?” Roger asked. “What do you know?”

“The baron isn’t gonna hurt no one again. And, Ellen is just fine.” Punch replied.

“Mr. Barrett,” Robert spoke up. “We’ve brought someone to see you. Would you like to have a visitor?”

“You’re visitors.” Roger shrugged.

“Other than us.” Robert nodded.

“Who is it?”

“You tell us,” Mr. Punch smiled. He opened the door to the parlor of the small flat which Roger shared with his caregiver. Nodding at Lennie, Punch turned to Roger as she walked into the dim chamber. He studied the man’s face for any signs of recognition.

“Roger,” Lennie began, choking back her emotions.

“Who’s this, then?” Roger squinted.

“Don’t ya know her?” Punch asked.

Roger’s eyes widened. “Is it Ellen?”

“Yes.” Lennie nodded.

“You look different again.” The man grumbled. “You always look different.”

“I know.” Lennie sniffed. “But, I won’t look different anymore. I will always look like this.”

“Your voice is even different than it’s been. Softer, nicer. Like it was before.”

“And it shall remain so.”

“You’re really Ellen?”

“I am.” Lennie answered. “Only I’m called by an affectionate name these days—‘Lennie.’”

“Why is that?”

“So you’ll always know that it’s me. Your friend. You’ll never have to wonder again.” Lennie replied.

“My friend?” Roger narrowed his eyes. “You’re more than that. You’re my sister.”

Lennie wrung her hands uncomfortably. “I will always be your sister in some way.”

“Lennie.” Roger smiled. “I like the name. Lennie Barrett.”

“Not Barrett.” Lennie said quickly.

“No?” Roger tilted his head to one side. “Did you marry? Is this your husband?” He pointed to Robert.

“No. That’s Dr. Halifax. You know him. He’s also your friend.”

“You married him?” Roger pointed to Punch.

“Not hardly,” Punch chuckled.

“What’s funny?” Roger grunted.

“Nothin’ at all, Mr. Barrett.” Mr. Punch said softly.

“So, if you’re not married why is your name not Barrett?”

“As you say, I’m different again. I want to have a name that will suit me, a name that will last, a name that will ensure you always know that I’m here to be your friend and to be your sister.” Lennie explained somewhat awkwardly.

“What name is that?” Roger asked cautiously.

“I don’t know.” Lennie shook her head. “I haven’t decided.”

“Perhaps,” Punch suggested, “you could call yourself Molliner? I know that you’re not a Molliner, but we can’t call you Fallbridge considering…” Punch trailed off.

“Molliner is your name.” Roger squinted at Punch.

“Yes,” Punch nodded. “That’s my surname as it was my father’s--though since I’m a Duke no one uses it.”

“I think that’s a sensible solution.” Robert smiled.

Lennie sighed thoughtfully.

“What do you think?” Mr. Punch asked Lennie.

“I’d be honored to call myself Lennie Molliner.” Lennie smiled finally.

“That makes you related to the Duke.” Roger frowned.

“Well, as it turns out,” Lennie said slowly. “I am related to the Duke.”

“Oh,” Roger nodded. “Then, it makes sense.”

“I’d like your approval, Roger.” Lennie smiled. “Before I decide finally.”

“You want my approval?”

“Certainly. With Father gone, now, you’re the closest male of the family I’ve ever known. Your brothers have gone off on their own. Only you remain for me here. Your approval is very important to me.”

“No one ever wanted my approval for anything before.” Roger’s eyes widened.

“Well, I do.”

“I approve, then.” Roger nodded.

“Thank you,” Lennie smiled.

“I’m tired now.” Roger shrugged.

“We’ll leave you to rest.” Dr. Halifax said gently.

“Will you come back?”

“Do you want me to?” Lennie asked.

“Very much.” Roger said sleepily. “Not just you, but the two blokes. The one’s amusing and the other makes me feel safe.”

“We’d be very happy to visit you.” Robert nodded.

“Later tonight?”

“Perhaps tomorrow before tea.” Mr. Punch answered.

“That’d be fine.” Roger agreed. He paused. “I know you.” He pointed to Punch.

“Yes, I’m the Duke of Fallbridge.”

“No.” Roger shook his head. “I mean…yes, you look like him, but, you’re someone else.”

“I am.” Punch smiled.

“You gotta baby and a dog.”

“I do.”

“They’re nice to you. They love you. People love you.”

“Thankfully, they do.” Mr. Punch replied.

“I wish people would love me.”

“I love you, Roger.” Lennie touched the man’s shoulder.

“Oh. How nice for me, then.”

“Goodbye for now, Mr. Barrett.” Robert began.

“Wait!” Roger snapped.

“Yes?” Robert asked.

“I know who the other one is—the strange one.”

“He’s the Duke of Fallbridge. He’s a jeweler for Her Majesty. He’s my companion. He’s the father of a boy called Colin. He’s your friend.”

“Yes…yes and no. He’s those things, yes. But, someone else.”

“We just spoke of that.” Robert interrupted.

“I know that!” Roger growled. “I’m not daft. I remember. He’s someone else.”

“Who am I?” Mr. Punch asked.

“You’re Old Red Nose. I can see it in you. Where’s your hunchback?”

Punch was startled by this. “I…I don’t have it anymore.”

“That must be easier for you.” Roger nodded.

“It is.” Punch replied.

“Maybe that’s why the baby likes you.”

“Must be.” Punch smiled.

“Good for you, then.” Roger sighed. “Now, I must sleep. Go away.”

“Good night,” Lennie whispered as Roger curled up in a ball on the floor. “Dream sweet dreams.”

“I never do.” Roger muttered.

“Perhaps tonight you will.” Lennie said as she walked away with tears in her eyes.



Did you miss Chapters 1-191 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 193.



Print of the Day: The Fun & Frolic Lancers,




Here we see the sheet music cover for “Fun and Frolic Lancers” which was written by Warwick Williams (1846-unknown), and published by Francis Bros & Day. The cover shows a gaggle of circus folk and characters engaged in circus-type hi-jinks. I suppose one could call it “fun and frolic.”

This chromolithograph cover dates to the 1880s and is the work of the expert lithographer Alfred Concanen (1835-1886). At some point, it was backed with card.

It reads at the top:

INTRODUCING

TING, TING, THAT'S HOW THE BELL GOES - CLARA WIL YOU COME OUT TO-NIGHT - I KISSED HER UNDER
THE PARLOR STAIRS - TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO - OH JOHNNY DON'T YOU GO TO SEA - DEAR ME - I'LL MEET HER
WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN - TAKING OUT THE BABY - IT'S ALL UP WITH POOR TOMMY NOW - &c. &c. 



Object of the Day: A Corner in Pork


Typically, Fridays are Punch (or, at least, puppet) days here. I’ve got a nifty Punch-ish card and an exciting reveal coming for you the next two Fridays, but today’s card isn’t exactly Punch-related. It is, however, suitably bizarre and has puppet-ish overtones. So, let’s proceed.

The over-printed message is simple enough.

When buying your new spring HAT
present this card and receive a dis-
count of 5 per cent from lowest prices.
 


Well, that’s just fine. It’s a doozy of an offer, in fact. I’ll bet when I look down, I’ll see an attractive image somehow related to my new spring HAT. 



Or…

Well…

Maybe I’ll see a Punchinello-ish butcher waving a knife at a dog who seems to have stolen a ham. The dog looks utterly demented. His eyes are rolling in his little deranged head. I think he might be a little…different. After all, he has rabbit legs. Perhaps he just can’t help himself. Poor thing.

So, surely, there must be some explanation for this monochromatic cerise scene. Right? Maybe it even has something to do with hats.

No.

It says.

“Corners” 
A CORNER IN PORK WITH CONSIDERABLE
EXCITEMENT AND ACTIVITY
 

What does that even mean? A corner in pork…

Surely the back has some sort of explanation. Let’s look, with hope, at the reverse.

Cash trade preferred to long accounts.
Prices guaranteed.
Small store, but large stock.
New good received almost every day.

G.J. KIRKLAND 
DEALER IN
DRY GOODS, CLOTHING, HATS,
CAPS, BOOTS, SHOES AND CROCKERY 

FORT ATKINSON, WIS. 


That pertains to hats, and crockery, apparently. But, it doesn’t really explain a corner in ham. 

Maybe nothing can.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture, Caption Contest: Prince Bertie and Some Other People







Now, it’s time to put words in Bertie’s mouth. Instead of giving you a caption for this Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture, let’s see what you think he’d say. 



Image: Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) with her Two Eldest Sons, Johan Zoffany (Frankfurt 1733/4 - London 1810), c. 1765, Commissioned by King George III, Presented to the Prince of Wales/Prince Regent, 1794. Crown Copyright. The Royal Collection. Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
 








You, too, could have a cup of tea with Bertie. Or, you could wear his picture proudly. Visit our online store to see our range of Gratuitous Bertie Dog products.

Mastery of Design: The Colonnade Egg by Fabergé, 1910


The Colonnade Egg
1910, Fabergé
Bowenite, Four-Color Gold,
Diamonds, Platinum, Silver,
Enamel
The Royal Collection

This remarkable work of art is one of four Imperial Fabergé eggs which incorporated a clock into the central design. Designed by Henrik Wigström for Fabergé in 1910, the egg was originally presented to Russian Tsar Nicholas II as the traditional Easter gift for his wife.


The centerpiece of the egg is a rotary clock by Henri Moser et Cie. The clock is supported by bejeweled and enameled columns and surmounted by the egg itself so that it takes on the look of a temple. It is meant to represent the “temple of love.” Two platinum doves symbolize the Tsar and Tsarina, with four cherubs representing their daughters and a fifth putti at the apex of the dome—a symbol of their long-awaited son. The entire piece is adorned with diamonds, enamel, four-color gold, platinum and silver.

When Nicholas II was overthrown and his family killed in 1917, most of the Russian treasures were confiscated by the provisional government. The Colonnade Egg was among those items which were seized. It was presumed lost. However, in 1931, it reappeared in the hands of Mary of Teck who presented it as a gift to her husband, King George V.

Figure of the Day: A Chinese “Pagod,” 1760

Pagod
Nymphenburg
1740-1760
The Victoria & Albert Museum


A “pagod” is, essentially, an idol. Here, we see a Chinese pagod of hard-paste porcelain and enamels dating to about 1760. The figure is the central piece of a table group of sixteen chinoiserie figures which was modeled by the great Franz Anton Bustelli for the Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory. The group also features figures of a priest, children and servants. Some are shown playing musical instruments, others are singing while some are shown bowing in worship.

The group was made during a period of great fascination with the orient. Meissen’s Kändler, a favorite of mine, began modeling chinoiserie figures in 1740 and the Nymphenburg factory followed suit 


The Home Beautiful: The Monnoyer Painted Mirror, 1710-20



Painted Mirror
Antoine Monnoyer, 1710-20
The Victoria & Albert Museum




For a painted mirror such as this to survive for centuries is nothing short of miraculous.   The mirror glass is fragile and the surface paint easily chipped or stripped away during cleaning.   Furthermore,  such mirrors were often built into an interior and many examples were destroyed when the room was altered or redecorated.

This mirror is the work of the French artist Antoine Monnoyer who was born in 1672--the son of the artist Jean Baptiste Monnoyer, who worked for Louis XIV.  Coming to England in 1683, the Monnoyers, both father and son, painted flowers from all seasons of the year, achieving a decorative effect that would have been impossible with fresh-cut flowers. According to the V&A, “Jean Baptiste did a mirror closet at Kensington Palace for Mary II. Apparently she was so fascinated by his skill that she watched him while he worked.”

This mirror was painted in England and includes the coat of arms of the Duncombe Family, thought it is speculated that this was probably added later. This example may have been an overmantel in a room which was thickly hung with tapestries.

Queen Mary, consort of King George V, was a fan of this style of mirror and, as such, hoped to restore the similarly-painted mirror closets at Kensington Palace.  She ordered such fashionable painted glass to be installed, but it does not survive.



The Home Beautiful: A Section of the Portières des Dieux, 1740-1760


Tapestry Panel
Gobelins, 1740-1760
The Victoria & Albert Museum


The famed Portières des Dieux series, designed by Claude Audran III (1658-1734) was made by the French royal tapestry manufactory, the Gobelins. The celebrated series of woven silk and wool panels depicts the four seasons and the four elements. So popular was the series that it was rewoven numerous times between 1700 and 1789.

This panel depicts Saturn, the God of agriculture who was often employed as an allegory for winter. Saturn’s feast—Saturnalia—was celebrated during the month of December, and, in fact, many of the traditions associated with Saturnalia have been borrowed for Christmas.

Here, Saturn is shown, seated in profile. He holds his attribute, the scythe of the harvest. From beneath, two putti come forth from clouds, blowing the first snows of winter. The group is framed by foliate, fruit-bearing garlands and arabesques.

Pierre-François Cozette (1714-1801) served as the maker of this original panel for Gobelins between 1740 and 1760. Claude Audran III (1658 -1734) was the designer. The entire series also includes scenes of Diana, Neptune, Jupiter, Bacchus, Venus, Ceres and Juno, each with his or her respective attributes.




Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 191




Chapter 191
A Wardrobe 



And, here’s your room.” Mr. Punch beamed as he showed Lennie to the chamber to which all referred as “The Gold Bedroom.”

“Oh,” Lennie gasped as she entered the room. “It’s too fine.”

“Certainly not.” Robert interrupted. “We just hope you’ll be comfortable here.”

“I never saw anything like it.” Lennie wiped her eyes.

“If there’s anything what ya don’t like, or what ya want changed, jus’ let me know.” Mr. Punch smiled.

“I never want to see a thing changed in this room.” Lennie replied emotionally.

“’Til we can get ya a proper lady’s maid, Vi will attend ya.” Mr. Punch continued.

“Oh, I don’t wish to put her out.” Lennie shook her head. “I’m perfectly capable of looking after myself.”

“Lennie,” Robert smiled, “it’s best not to fight it. His Grace insists that our household run properly. I wasn’t keen on the idea of a valet at first, but now, well…I find I’m quite lost without one.”

“Still, Violet must have other duties…”

“Yes.” Mr. Punch nodded. “But, only temporarily. Since Gamilla’s gonna be in the nursery full time, she is, we’re gonna have to find someone to act as upper house maid anyway. We’ll add two girls to the staff. One to replace Gamilla and one to be your maid. If Vi proves useful to ya and you want to keep her, she can remain as your maid and we’ll hire on a different parlor maid.”

“That would be quite a rise for her.” Lennie replied thoughtfully. “I do hope she excels at it.” Lennie’s expression changed.

“Is something wrong?” Robert asked.

“No. Well…it’s just that I’ve not had very good luck with maids in the past.”

“No, you haven’t.” Robert sighed.

Punch changed the subject quickly. “We’ll leave you to explore your new home, but I thought that after luncheon we could take you to one of the fine dressmakers and commission a wardrobe for you.”

“Oh, no.” Lennie shook her head. “You’ve already done too much. I’m quite comfortable with what I have.”

“You’ve one dress.” Mr. Punch chirped. “And, you’ve been wearin’ it for how many days? You ain’t even got a proper sleepin’ gown or nothin’. Now, let’s be practical.”

“But, I don’t want you spending your money on me.”

“Money I got plenty of.” Mr. Punch shrugged. “I only got one sister.” He paused. “Well, two.”

“I don’t mean to bring up a sensitive topic, however…”

“You want to know if Lady Barbara is still living?” Robert smiled slightly.

“Well, yes.” Lennie replied.

“She is.” Mr. Punch nodded. “She remained in America. She’s the one what gave birth to Colin. Dr. Halifax and me…well, we thought it best to say she’d died. Hers is a life of ill-repute. She’s no longer Lady Barbara. She calls herself ‘Barbara Allen.’”

“Like the song?” Lennie asked.

“And, just as cruel.” Robert muttered. “Perhaps one day we’ll tell Colin that she’s still alive, but for now, it’s best everyone forgets her.”

“But…” Lennie began.

“The Duchess of Fallbridge is truly deceased.” Mr. Punch interrupted. “She won’t bother us no more.”

Lennie nodded.

“Now, this is a happy homecoming.” Mr. Punch said excitedly. “So, we ain’t gonna dwell on the past.”

“Of course.” Lennie said.

“We’ll be looking in on Gerard to make sure he’s been properly settled-in.” Robert said. “Mrs. Pepper informed us that luncheon will be served at noon.”

“It were good of Mr. Hutchinson to see the larder stocked.” Mr. Punch grinned.

“Yes, he’s done quite a fine job managing the household during our absence.” Robert nodded.

“We told Speaight to take a day of rest, so Charles will serve. We’ll come for ya when it’s time. In the meantime, be thinkin’ ‘bout what kind of fine silks and satins you might want to have.”

“Thank you.” Lennie said sincerely.

“Until later, then.” Robert nodded.

“Wait!” Lennie said quickly as the men were leaving her room.

“Yes?” Robert raised his eyebrows.

“I feel that my expressions of gratitude are insufficient.” Lennie replied shyly.

“Nonsense.” Mr. Punch shook his head. “It’s what kin does.”

“Would you forgive me if I asked for a favor?” Lennie asked.

“Of course.” Robert nodded.

“After luncheon…I’d be very grateful if we could…”

“Go see Roger?” Mr. Punch suggested.

“Yes.” Lennie answered hopefully.

Robert and Mr. Punch exchanged glances.

Robert took a deep breath. “You may find him changed.”

“I expect to.” Lennie sighed. “I…I owe him an apology, too. My own shock and fear and insecurity…I…I left him in the charge of that woman. I was selfish. I was confused and frightened when I learned the truth about myself and, for awhile, I lost myself…I…”

“Remember, this is a happy day,” Mr. Punch warned.

“I know, Mr. Punch…”

“If it pleases you, when can visit Roger on the way to the dressmakers, but…”

“Just know that he’s, well…variable. Ain’t no tellin’ who you’re gonna see.”

“Most importantly, I’d like him to see me. Perhaps it’s also selfish, but I want him to know that I’m here should he need me.”

“We’’ll see that he does.” Robert replied.

“I can’t thank you enough.” Lennie gulped.

“Sure you can. You already did.” Mr. Punch shrugged.



Did you miss Chapters 1-190 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 192.


Antique Image of the Day: Judy Garland, 1959

Judy Garland
Harry Hammond, 1959
The Victoria & Albert Museum




Fabulous superstar and famous hot-mess, Judy Garland, spent a lot of time in London. In fact, she lived there for quite a time and was as popular in the U.K. as she was in the States. Here, we see a photo of Garland from 1959 which was taken by Harry Hammond (1920-2009) whose photography collection lives in the V&A. 


Hammond can be seen taking the photo as Garland poses in front of a mirror.

Hammond, a London native, bequeathed his collection of over 9,000 photos to the museum. These images chronicled the British popular music scene in the 1950s and 1960s. Previously, Hammond had served as a reconnaissance photographer during World War II.


By the way, I over-wrote today for some reason.  I guess I'm overly busy and wasn't paying attention.  SO--make sure to click "older posts" to see today's "Object of the Day," which is, of course, another wacky trade card.  Judy wants you to.  Just picture her on stage...all sweaty and disheveled...hands to her face, fingers outspread...gasping in song.  "Don't forget to shheeee the Object of the Day.  It'shhhh a trade card.  It's up to youuuuuuu, traaaaaade carrrrrrrd.  Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade...Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard."