Flea Market Diaries, 10.07.12

There's not much (i.e. NOTHING) in life that makes me happier than riffling through dirty piles of junk lying on the grass at dawn -- sometimes nothing turns up, sometimes I'm left with an embarrassment of riches.  This week it was the latter:

Please ignore the messy dining room, with painting tools, plaster repair detritus and the odd ugly stair rail lying about.

Note the semi-absurd gilded mirror, which is luminous with first-surface gilding.  The glass is replaced, but the frame is remarkably intact -- it's in a style and quality I don't usually find in dirty piles of junk on the grass at dawn, but beyond that, this is out of my wheelhouse.  It elicited at least three gasps and a few exclamations as I was carrying it out.  Is it late Federal?  Early Victorian?  The proportions are so bulbous, but the motifs look like those I've seen in frames from the 1820s/1830s -- what do we think, guys?  (I'm asking you, Reggie.) 

Let's move on to the oversize pewter lamps, which I adore -- I love that they function as a pair, but are asymmetrical above the bottom foot.  Solid pewter until you hit the wiring, then they shift to patinated bronze.  The finials are a sight to behold -- spikes at least 6 inches tall, and weighing about 5 pounds each.

And lastly a beautifully battered late 18th, early 19th century serving piece (technically, found a few weeks ago).  I don't think it could be more worn.  The glaze has been rubbed away from nearly the entire surface -- how long does it take to do that?  Two centuries of continuous use?  It's really quite beautiful, though of course it has zero value.

It's laying on a large piece of Japanese indigo dyed linen in a shade of blue so vibrant it's a little hard to look at.  We also found an 18th century Sack-backed Windsor chair with remnants of the original green paint that will live in my office -- it's so comfortable.  Perfect for use while on the computer.

Each of these was about a quarter of the price you'd pay for the same category of object at Ikea.

What about you: find anything interesting at the markets lately?


Reggie Darling said...

Hello Nick: Thanks for asking -- I'd date your mirror frame to 1820-1830, right where you did. I'd call it late Federal/early Classical. If that's the original gilding, amazing condition! Buy an old mirror (cheap) and have the mottled plate cut to fit. It will look marvelous! Also, those lamps are a terrific find, as is that feather-edge creamware platter. All great finds!! Reggie

Nick Heywood said...


Thanks for the input -- I just found a mirror large enough to be cut down that I think will be much for suitable for the frame. I'm pretty confident that the gilding is first surface, which is hard to believe given how intact it is. Two corners need a bit of gesso work, but otherwise couldn't be better.

And you should visit the Moreau Museum next time you're in Paris -- very worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

I love the golden frame to the minor. Quite nice.

-Zane of ontario honey

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