Archive for the ‘antique’ Category

A Very Unusual Antique

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Even if we hadn’t been in an antique furniture store, I’d have described this as a piece of furniture, but it’s original purpose was much less obvious, and I had to ask to learn it was made over 100 years ago, to hold the preprinted but undated tickets railways then sold to the traveller. Each ticket was then individually stamped for date of travel, either that day or some time in the future.

Made of the wood nogal (sp?) , rather like teak and very hard wearing – the cabinet? (fechero de billetes) was recently auctioned along with all the other office fittings from the old central rail office in Montevideo. The owner of the store we were in also bought several other interesting tables with drawers and even a large bell embossed ‘FCM’ for ferrocarril (railway) central montevideo, which once rang to signal “all aboard”. On reflection, there are parts of the world where this would never have been allowed to happen, and the whole place would have been turned into a museum, although there are pros and cons to that one which I won’t go into here. Last year I was in a marvellous old station in downtown Santiago which is now a cultural centre – there are several galleries, a restuarant and bar, and the huge interior is now a flexible space used for performances and large conference gathering kinds of presentations. The grand old Montevideo railway station building would be fantastic for such purposes, and may one day be so, as it is in the port area of the old part of the city where such things are starting to happen, just as they have in the Rocks area of Sydney, Fremantle in Western Australia, and similar areas of other cities around the world.

The little panels each have round indentations so you can use a fingertip to easily slide one aside to access the tickets behind it. The lack of one panel on each row gives the sliding space needed, a much more elegant design than any door system or open shelves. There is no sign on the lovely woodwork that there was any kind of labelling attached, but I guess working in the then busy ticket office it didn’t take long to know which niche held the required tickets.

As soon as my eyes lit on this marvellous unusual piece, I saw its potential as a storage unit for my sewing room, and DH commented ‘You can have that if you’d like it, it would be good in your sewing room’ , bless him. And so, we bought it, and it was delivered late yesterday. The store owners are pleased it has come to a loving home where it will have a new lease of useful life, not just be a conversation piece. You can see it’s very shallow so although it is large it doesn’t impinge at all on movement in the working area of my relatively long narrow room. The upper part is only about 10cm deep, and the cupboards below about 15cm – still shallow, but they’ll be marvellous for large cones, bottles and the like which currently hang out on the bookcase, either in open boxes or just balancing in a spare space. It will be fun sorting and putting stuff there, and a delight to use it every day. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

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30’s Textile Necklace

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

A beautiful day, not too hot, and a fresh breeze – perfect for a morning’s stroll through some of the Tristan Navaja street markets this morning. The market goes on and on for many blocks, the best stalls occupying the whole length of Tristan Navaja, but it then spreads many blocks westwards of that street, into shall we say lower rent areas, for all stall holders pay a fee to the intendencia for this.

The lady in the mid blocks of Tristan Navaja who often has interesting household linens didn’t seem to have much this morning, but just along from her was another stall I usually look carefully at, having found a couple of other treasures there previously. This morning my eyes lit on this vintage 30’s neckpiece. Around what feels like a soft rope? core, is some kind of mesh fabric I think, possibly canvas, and ecru silk thread has been darned into this, covering any seam there might be – the flowers at first glance looked like lovely carved bone or ivory but they aren’t – they are ‘early plastic’ the woman said – I can tell they have been set in a mould not carved. The flowers are sewn into place by hand, and these of course may may have been added later, perhaps in place of something else, but she was very firm that this from the 30’s, and I must say I have never seen anything quite like it. It could have had a lovely silk flower on it… My mother and maternal grandmother were both pretty stylish, and Grandma had a couple of very elegant sisters – between them all they had heaps of modish jewellery and accessories. “In their day” it was a big thing to have your photo taken walking along the street, and they all did fairly often – I have seen a lot of these photos for the record so to speak, and the gals were always dressed to the nines complete with hats gloves and fox throws over their shoulders. And parties, too, or big nights out – they dressd up and often had photos taken. I have always taken a great interest in changing fashions of jewellery and accessories – but saw nothing quite like this in the family photos. Of course, little old Launceston Tasmania is and always has been, a long way from the fashion centres of London, Paris and other european cities. Which is where I feeeeel it might have come from – inexpensive but chic.

Since it was rather grubby, I have washed it, it has come up beautifully, and as I said, I am sure I will enjoy wearing it sometime.

Antique cane baby carriage – what a beauty

Thursday, June 30th, 2005


In our wanderings last weekend we went in and out of the many antique shops on Av. Tristan Navaja, as usual finding many beautiful things to oooh and aaaah at. Montevideo is an antique collector’s paradise. It’s a shame that we don’t have the money or the housing space to buy some of the most appealing things, however DH and I both enjoy wandering and spotting outstanding pieces, and occasionally go to one of the local auctions. They say a thing beauty is a joy for ever, and here is a case in point . Now if I were to buy this I would somehow feel that I needed to put it to some purpose. And although the tally is not necessarily final, currently all our grandchildren are all well past this stage. So perhaps it could serve holding a large tub of maiden hair fern …. but any carelessness with the watering could damage the cane base. The same concerns arise using the pram as a very elegant, indeed capacious, drinks trolley, as condensation on the ice bucket would play havoc with the base in no time. It could be a perfect display unit for a doll collection if that were my thing …. fabric stash mobility in my work area might be improved, that’s one idea …. anyway feel free to make your suggestions.

Sunday, June 26th, 2005
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