Seventy some years ago, just before the war, a woman named Mrs. De Florian fled here Parisian apartment for the south of France never to return again. Throughout the decades, she faithfully maintained her rent payments without question, but never returned. When she passed away at the age of 91, her heirs enlisted professionals to inventory her forgotten apartment. The space had not been seen since the day she left, and everything was in its place just as she left it. A time capsule well preserved for decades, provided a look into the life of an early 20th century socialite with a collection of wonderful and eclectic items. Covered under a think layer of 70 year old dust, the workers found an entire apartment full of beautiful antiques and other fine furnishings. Among the treasures was a painting by prolific french artist Giovianni Boldini along with several pieces of romantic correspondence between Boldini and Mrs. De Florian's grand-mother. The Painting, who we now know shows DeFlorians grand-mother, depicts a woman in a wonderful pink dress. The style of this work proves that Boldini was a leading force in Paris' bell epoque movement. The painting later sold at auction for over 3 million dollars. One of my favorite finds was a giant taxidermy ostrich just standing in the corner. It is such a mystery why she never returned to the city to collect her items, perhaps she just wanted to start a new life. I can't imagine what it would have been like to walk in the apartment for the first time in years, a once in a lifetime experience I'm sure.
Painting of De Florian's Grandmother by Boldini, her secret lover
Two new plates from Pia's Antique Gallery with an interesting Story.
"We proudly present for sale a rare
and historical Sevres hand painted hard paste plate with a floral garland
border and cameo portrait. The plate is marked for the period at Sevres known
as the Consulate years 1801-03 in iron red stencil, and incised CC1. The cameo
depicts Lucille in charcoal (gray) against a pearly, slightly marbleized
background. The portrait has been attributed to J. M. Degault, who painted
cameos at Sevres for many years. The gilder is unknown, but the floral wreath
decoration has been attributed to Charles-Eloi Asselin.
The plate has significant historical
value because it was produced during the tumultuous years after the French
Revolution when Sevres was on the brink of ruin and bankruptcy. This followed
the fall of the monarchy of Louis XVI and the ascendancy to the throne of the
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Only after the slow recovery of the Empire and the
appointment of the brilliant scientist and teacher Alexandre Brongniart as
director of Sevres in 1800, did the factory begin to achieve success once
An almost exact plate is found at the Minneapolis
Institute of Arts with the cameo of Ben Franklin, date 1801-02. The exhibition
states that Sevres only made a few plates in this neoclassical style and that
only one is now known to exist. The book, "The Sevres Porcelain
Manufactory, Alexander Brongniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800
-1847", by Tamara Preaud, suggests on page 173 that a sales entry was
entered June, 18, 1803, for three plates with wreaths and heads in gray.
Apparently, a complete service with this decoration was never produced
suggesting that these plates were a prototype. The inventory does show that on
November 24, 1804, Monsieur de Lucay, Premier Prefet du Palais de Sa Majeste,
chose a service for the Chateau de Fontainebleau that was quite similar and
described as "service Nankeen ground, low relief figures with a garland of
flower." Another delivery of seventy-two similar plates was made to
Emperor Napoleon on Demember 5, l804." -Pia's Antique Gallery
Have a look at this beautiful 19th century cut glass tankard with a sterling silver rim. It was made by a company named Dominick & Haff which was bought out by Reed and Barton around the turn of the century. I love the American brilliant cut and the wonderful repoussé work on the flowers around the silver rim. I would imagine this is one heavy piece. Those offering this piece for sale claim it comes from a Victorian estate in Tennessee.
This lovely little desk was made by the Mervyn Macartney Factory for display during the London Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1983. Furniture from this time period doesn't always fascinate me but something about this desk was so quirky and different I had to know more. It's legs and overall shape speak to the beginning of the Art Nouveau movement which was just beginning at this time in France. It was crafted around 1891 and is made of mahogany and macassar ebony veneer with silver mounts and knobs. It can currently be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York City.