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mardi 29 décembre 2015

An 18th century find.....



Distressed and timeworn this tiny trinket box or patch box is such a sweet confection.

I have left it just as I found it.

The lid carries a petite vignette under glass of a man declaring his love for his sweetheart " I promise to love you and never leave you...."

Hidden away inside is another vignette under glass that shows the mademoiselle in later years alone with three sad children and the message "Bacchus is a violent God, we avenge him by loving".



Inside the lid is a small distressed mirror with a twinkling of mercury within the silvering.

The outer is worn and the basketwork over card is peeling, I can just see a few words on the paper layers so old documents must have been used below the straw.





It is little treasures like this that capture my heart and fuel my imagination.

May 2016 be filled with more truffling for beautiful finds like this.

Happy New year and Bonne Annee mes belles.

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mercredi 9 décembre 2015

A divine hideaway.......



Even after 12 years of living here on the beautiful Cherbourg Peninsula we still find new places hiding away!!

Today we saw a sign we had never seen before so of course we had to follow the trail.....





A long winding road through the forest led to the most beautiful chateau.......





So now I have to investigate more to see why they would have signs pointing towards it.




Is it now a hotel I wonder?


I shall keep you posted mes belles...

xxxxx

vendredi 4 décembre 2015

What will the future hold............



Many many years ago when I had just started my truffling through France I was told by a fortune teller that if I ever found any old tarot cards she would be interested in them. But she was very adamant that I could only buy them if I had no idea who had been the previous owner. This was something she repeated to me at least 3 times before I left. There was to be no indication whatsoever of the cards previous user.



I am not particularly superstitious but It is something that has always stayed in my mind. 



 Truffling by torchlight at the Paris flea market  I saw this wonderful set on a house clearers stand that was piled high with brocante so I figured it would be safe!!!



They are timeworn and simply beautiful, each card is so detailed and the scenes are charming. I have yet to do some research to find their date.



At the moment I am reading a period novel set in Venice ( no surprise there with my Venice addiction!). The main character sits in her silk brocade bedecked room by the Grand Canal for hours and hours turning the tarot cards to read her future.



And just looks at these cards ....each one is marked where a thumb would have dealt them time and time again. 



I know I am not supposed to know who they belonged to but I can still imagine!!!

Bon weekend mes belles

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mercredi 25 novembre 2015

`Allo......`Allo....





I just love this 1920s glove puppet I found at the weekend.





He SO reminds me of Officer Crabtree!!!







In the words of Officer Crabtree "Good moaning I have a massage for you...................."

He is being added to my site tonight. Bon moustache Monsieur!!

A la prochaine mes belles

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jeudi 12 novembre 2015

Ooooh la la mes belles..............!!!

A Downton Abbey car boot sale! Stately home owners put 300 years of aristocratic bric-a-brac worth £1MILLION – including Queen Victoria's stockings - up for auction 

  • Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury wanted to declutter Hooton Pagnell Hall so they could redesign the interior
  • The impressive stately home was crammed full of old relics, so much so that some rooms couldn't be used
  • Over 2,000 items including paintings, furniture, jewellery, tribal weapons and stuffed animals are being auctioned
Most homeowners' clearouts end with a few bags for charity or a car boot sale but one couple stand to make £1million after a major de-clutter.
Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury found a mass of family treasures and possessions that had been accumulated over 300 years by their ancestors after they inherited Hooton Pagnell Hall.
The impressive stately home, compared to a Downton Abbey style house, was crammed full of old relics, so much so that most of the rooms on the second floor couldn't be used.
Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury found a mass of family treasures and possessions that had been accumulated over 300 years by their ancestors after they inherited Hooton Pagnell Hall. This image shows a room that was an Aladdin's cave of silver
Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury found a mass of family treasures and possessions that had been accumulated over 300 years by their ancestors after they inherited Hooton Pagnell Hall. This image shows a room that was an Aladdin's cave of silver
This room at Hooton Pagnell Hall was full of an incredible collection of items including old drums, stuffed animals and even a dinosaur head
This room at Hooton Pagnell Hall was full of an incredible collection of items including old drums, stuffed animals and even a dinosaur head
The impressive stately home, compared to a Downton Abbey style house, was crammed full of old relics, so much so that most of the rooms on the second floor couldn't be used
The impressive stately home, compared to a Downton Abbey style house, was crammed full of old relics, so much so that most of the rooms on the second floor couldn't be used
A painting of Windsor Castle from the Thames with figures in the foreground by Paul Sandby, signed and dated 'P Sandby 1802', is being sold off by the Warde-Norburys and is thought to be worth £60,000
A painting of Windsor Castle from the Thames with figures in the foreground by Paul Sandby, signed and dated 'P Sandby 1802', is being sold off by the Warde-Norburys and is thought to be worth £60,000
Their decision to take a 'less is more' approach to interior design has resulted in a sale of about 2,000 items including paintings, furniture, jewellery, silverware, Victorian toys, tribal weapons and stuffed animals.
Some of the more odd items include a Queen Victoria stocking, 18th century cook books and a bloodied blanket from when the house was used as a First World War hospital.
In the library the couple found a moving letter written by former estate manager Bernard Wilson to his younger brother Dr Edward Wilson, who died alongside Captain Scott on his doomed expedition to the South Pole in 1911.
The elder sibling wrote: 'Goodbye old chap & take care of yourself. God help you.' The letter is valued at £3,000.
The sale includes many important paintings including a large watercolour of Windsor Castle by Paul Sandby painted in 1802 which was bought by the family in about 1890 for £1. It is now worth £60,000. Pictured is the Badsworth Hounds meet at the hall in 1934
The sale includes many important paintings including a large watercolour of Windsor Castle by Paul Sandby painted in 1802 which was bought by the family in about 1890 for £1. It is now worth £60,000. Pictured is the Badsworth Hounds meet at the hall in 1934
Hooton Pagnell drawing room was used as a auxiliary military hospital during WWI
Hooton Pagnell drawing room was used as a auxiliary military hospital during WWI
Also in the library was a rare copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle, or Liber Chronicarum as it is known to Latin scholars, which is an illustrated biblical paraphrase and world history and was written by Hartmann Schedel in 1493. It has an estimated value of £30,000.
The sale includes many important paintings including a large watercolour of Windsor Castle by Paul Sandby painted in 1802 which was bought by the family in about 1890 for £1. It is now worth £60,000.
A pair of flintlock duelling pistols made by HW Mortimer, the King's gunmaker, in about 1800, are expected to fetch £8,000 and a rare mid-18th century English wooden doll, which was found propped up on a chair in the nursery, could make up to £15,000.
On the floor of the safe the Warde-Norburys uncovered a valuable silver candlestick and cutlery that had been buried for years under four inches of dust.
Hooton Pagnell Hall in Yorkshire has been in the Warde family since 1681 when it became the home of Sir Patience Warde, a Whig politician and former Lord mayor of London who began restoring the grand property.
During the First World War it was used as an auxiliary military hospital for injured servicemen and the sale includes items from then. There is also a letter from nursing heroine Florence Nightingale.
Mr Warde-Norbury, 53, said: 'When we inherited the estate we quickly discovered there were areas of the house that had not been looked at and sorted through for many years, decades.
The sale includes this cased pair of 22-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols by H.W. Mortimer & Co., London, that date back to 1800 and are thought to be worth £8,000
The sale includes this cased pair of 22-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols by H.W. Mortimer & Co., London, that date back to 1800 and are thought to be worth £8,000
A document signed by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was unearthed by the Warde-Norbury family during their huge decluttering operation
A document signed by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was unearthed by the Warde-Norbury family during their huge decluttering operation
The Warde-Norbury's treasure trove includes a first edition of The Nuremberg Chronicle, which is the most extensively-illustrated book published in the 15th century. It's said to be worth a staggering £30,000
The Warde-Norbury's treasure trove includes a first edition of The Nuremberg Chronicle, which is the most extensively-illustrated book published in the 15th century. It's said to be worth a staggering £30,000
This painting of The Molo in Venice by Italian painter Luca Carlevarijs, which was found in Hooton Pagnell Hall, is thought to be worth £28,000
This painting of The Molo in Venice by Italian painter Luca Carlevarijs, which was found in Hooton Pagnell Hall, is thought to be worth £28,000
'It was quite a daunting task and it's taken us two years to get to where we are, and we're still keeping an awful lot of stuff.
'Some of the rooms were over-furnished and needed decluttering. But there were so many things stuffed in drawers and boxes that we didn't know about.'
The couple even let their children Isobel, 15, and William, 12, decide what should be kept or sold.
Mr Warde-Norbury said: 'It's been a very emotional experience to sift through everything.
'We basically put a list together of things we weren't sure about and went through item by item.
'When we went through the silver safe it was so full we couldn't get into it. We had to take everything out and clean it to see what there was.
'We found lots of interesting stuff in the archway room, a storeroom that took us a day and a half to go through.
'Victorian toys to a Middle Eastern water bottle to antique daggers - it was a real eclectic mix.
'We even found a blood-stained blanket in a cupboard from when the hall was a military hospital. It just shows in those days no-one threw anything out.'
The clearout brought a letter from Florence Nightingale to light
It was signed 'in great haste yours truly Florence Nightingale'
The clearout brought a letter from Florence Nightingale to light. It was addressed to 'Madam', informing her that Mrs Eyre's 'little operation is over quite successfully' and that 'she took chloroform which prevented her from feeling any pain'. It was signed 'in great haste yours truly Florence Nightingale'
A 19th century iron mantrap with eighteen inch jaws and a tilting footplate is one of the items being auctioned by the Warde-Norburys
A 19th century iron mantrap with eighteen inch jaws and a tilting footplate is one of the items being auctioned by the Warde-Norburys
An Italian 17th century ebony, pietra dura and specimen marble cabinet from the manor house, estimated to be worth £30,000 is being sold by Bonhams
An Italian 17th century ebony, pietra dura and specimen marble cabinet from the manor house, estimated to be worth £30,000 is being sold by Bonhams
This English doll is worth around £15,000
A painting by Richard Gibson of Sir Patience Warde
Hooton Pagnell Hall horde: This English doll (left) is worth around £15,000 and will go under the hammer, while a painting by Richard Gibson of Sir Patience Warde (right) is also up for sale
As well as Mr Wilson's letter to his Antarctic explorer brother, there was also a letter sent by Mr Warde-Norbury's great-great-grandmother Julia Warde-Aldam to him.
The lady of the house wrote: 'I do hope it won't be very long now before you are back home again.'
The Florence Nightingale letter that informs 'Madam' of a successful operation is valued at £600 and there's a warrant signed by the Duke of Wellington authorising a payment of £1,888 - a substantial amount of money in 1809 - to an army corps that is worth £300.
Charlie Thomas from auctioneers Bonhams, said: 'There hasn't been a clearout at the house for over 300 years and the second floor, which were the old servants' bedrooms, we couldn't get into. They were so packed full of Grand Tour souvenirs all stacked up on top of each other.
'Everything had just been left untouched for years.
'The great thing about this sale is it's a real English country house sale. There are great academic pieces, like the Paul Sandby painting, to quirky things like one of Queen Victoria's stockings, which we found stuffed in the attic.
Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury decided to adopt a 'less is more' approach to their interior design - and their decluttering has revealed a real treasure trove
Mark and Lucianne Warde-Norbury decided to adopt a 'less is more' approach to their interior design - and their decluttering has revealed a real treasure trove
Charlie Thomas from auctioneers Bonhams, said: 'The great thing about this sale is it's a real English country house sale.' Pictured is the living room of Hooton Hall
Charlie Thomas from auctioneers Bonhams, said: 'The great thing about this sale is it's a real English country house sale.' Pictured is the living room of Hooton Hall
The 559-lot collection, which totals about 2,000 items, includes pistols, paintings, furniture, jewellery, Victorian toys, tribal weapons and taxidermy from almost every room in the house
The 559-lot collection, which totals about 2,000 items, includes pistols, paintings, furniture, jewellery, Victorian toys, tribal weapons and taxidermy from almost every room in the house
'As soon as I walked in the house I got a Downton Abbey feel about it. When we found these amazing handwritten cookery books from the 18th century I could imagine a Mrs Patmore type writing down all her recipes for things like rabbit pie.
'The house even has an oubliette, a sort of holding cell that was used in the 14th and 15th centuries to hold criminals on the way to Doncaster magistrates.
'In there we found 18th century padlocks and a mantrap - which was used to catch poachers. In this day it's just an incredible thing to find.
'What makes it so interesting is these items haven't been seen on the market for up to 300 years and it's all in original condition, which is hugely appealing to collectors.
'A country house sale like this is a rare beast, you don't get them very often.'
The Hooton Pagnell Hall collection will be sold by Bonhams in Knightsbridge on December 1.



dimanche 1 novembre 2015

Taking a chance.....




Firstly my apologies for my slow blogging. I tend to Facebook as I work every day adding pictures as I go as it is quicker from my phone. You can either find me on Facebook under simply-chateau or if you do not Facebook you can slap me next time we meet!!!

I took a chance on  the dirtiest but most beautiful pair of printed cotton chateau curtains from the 1850s this morning.



In my 30 or so years of truffling I have never seen this design before and their condition is good but they have come from a chateau barn out of a trunk and they are laden with dust.



After coughing myself silly in the garden I discarded the linings which were shattered but also bright tomato red. I have learned from experience not to wash that tomato colour with curtains unless you want a shade of vile pink!



The colour of these Chinoiserie curtains are amazing with all the shades still as fresh as they day they were printed.



As we speak they are languishing in a bucket of freezing water with Vanish as I cannot risk any hot water near them. Many years ago I laundered a pair with similar shades in hot water and the design was hardly visible afterwards.


So...here`s hoping....this might be the only time we ever see them....or I may be lucky!!!


A la prochaine mes belles

xxxx


jeudi 15 octobre 2015

The little Paris theatre....



This wonderful childs puppet theatre dates from the mid to late 1800s and is by "Mairie" of Paris a famous 19th century childrens theatre " Lanterniste".




I have been a little precious about this since I truffled it! I have lived with it for a month before I can let it go!!






To top it all it is Pulcinella....Polichinelle....Mr Punch and I adore it!!




But I am ready and it is to be listed tonight!!

Let the spectacle commence mes belles!!

xxxx

samedi 3 octobre 2015

What if?



On Thursday afternoon Jacques arrived with his equipment to cut the large box hedge that edges our garden and leads to the marsh.

After his "Bonjour" and kisses he set off to start work. 

Two seconds later he was at the cuisine door " Come and look at this!! It is the biggest I have seen this year".

I thought it was a mushroom or something similar so ambled out to look.

Eeeeeeek !!!!!! A snake basking in the sunshine at face height too!!! It didn`t want to move and was quite content whilst we looked on . Well, I say looked on...Mark and Jacques looked on and I stood mortified at a distance!!

They couldn`t see it`s head to see if it was a grass snake or a viper so they didn`t take any chances and after a short while it slithered away inside the hedge.

"Don`t worry" Jacques told me "now that it has been disturbed it will go back to the marsh and you will not see it again".

He carried on cutting the hedge on his step ladder with his stomach resting against the leaves. I watched terrified from the cuisine window. What if it was still  there and sunk it`s fangs into his middle?!!!

Yesterday was Friday so after setting off for La Poste we returned home in the glorious Autumn sunshine. I went down to the post box joking with Mark that if I didn`t come back the snake had dragged me away. I glanced at the hedge and froze in sheer fear. There he was again in the same place !!

I screamed for Mark as I was frozen to the spot. You may have guessed by now that snakes are my biggest fear - well my biggest fear next to no brocantes!!

Mark managed to take a closer photograph before it slithered back in the hedge.



We think it is a grass snake and later when asking our local head of the "pompiers" ( fireman, rescue and general save everybody department!!) he said that we need to see it`s eyes. If the eyes are round then it will be a grass snake but if they are slits like a cat it will be a viper and to take care.

SO this is the situation....I shall never weed around that hedge again and every time Charles comes through the cat flap I have to run and check what he has in his mouth.

What if it gets in the post box ? What if it has friends ? What if it comes in the house ? What if it gets in my shirt on the washing line? What if?  ..What if?...What if ?

Yes I know I live on the marsh but after five years this is the first one I have seen in the garden. Or have they been there all the time? What if?

A la prochaine mes belles

Save me!!