Thursday, June 30, 2011

Favorite French Things Friday - Ornamental Wrought Iron Window Boxes and Balconies

Some of my favorite features of many French buildings are the ornamental wrought iron window boxes and balconies. 

When you look at these you know where the phrase "Window Dressing" comes from!

I took all of the following pictures in Provence this past spring. 

The facade of this building has all of my favorite things!  Limestone, wrought iron balconies, french bleu painted windows..................sigh.

I love the stone facade of this building, especially the way the door and windows are framed out with larger stone.  I also think the arched windows and door are a wonderful complement to the large rectangular building.  Needless to say, the wrought iron window grills and boxes with the hanging ivy geraniums are spectacular.

I hope you have a relaxing weekend with the people that make you laugh and smile.

Take care, Au revoir, Mitty

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Deceive the Eye! "Trompe l'oeil"

Have you ever looked at something quickly and then at closer look realized that you are actually looking at a painting? 

This painting technique is referred to as "Trompe l'oeil," French for "Deceive the eye."  Trompe l'oeil is an art technique using extremely realistic imagery to create an optical illusion to make the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.

As you know France always finds a way to make me smile.  At the end of my buying trip this past Spring I was in the airport in Paris.  Sad to be leaving and facing a long flight home, I went to the restroom at the airport.  Guess what greeted me?  Of all things.............fanciful Trompe l'oeil in the Ladies Restroom! 

I didn't know whether to choose Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3 - They were all so beautiful!

There was even a beautiful black and gold mirror and an ornate wall sconce with a lit candle!

Even a beautiful decorative chair was waiting for me!

I've seen Trompe l'oeil used beautifully here in the U.S.   Take a look at these wonderful examples:

Notice the beautifully executed Trompe l'oeil panels on the walls behind the bed! This room was designed by Pierre Herve, Creative Director for Carolina Herrera.  The Trompe l'oeil was also painted by Pierre!

Can you tell what is Trompe l'oeil in this picture?  It's the two Italian candle sticks on the mantel. This room was designed by Kim Ficus and appeared in House Beautiful Magazine.

The intricate carving on this headboard is actually Trompe l'oeil!  This House Beautiful article features the design work of Gary McBournie. 

I'm thinking of all the places I'd love to have a trompe l'oeil painting in my home. 

One of the cutest trompe l'oeils I've seen was in a friend house in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It was a picture of cracked plaster on the lower part of an enry hall wall and the crack had a cute little mouse peeking out of it!

 Au revoir! Mitty

Monday, June 27, 2011

Silver Plate Trophy Cup Challenge!

Do you like to solve puzzles, ponder mysteries or research topics?  If you do, I have a challenge for you!

I purchased this beautifully detailed, large silver plate Boxing Trophy at auction recently.

It reads:

115 Pounds Class


W. White


Boxing Championship

I did some research on the Internet and found a W. White

W White
Global ID 361613
sex male
country Australia

won 1 (KO 1) + lost 0 (KO 0) + drawn 0 = 1
rounds boxed 9 KO% 100

 I'm trying to find the year that W. White won the Featherweight boxing championship in Ontario, Canada.


Beautifully embellished, large Boxing Trophy Cup. 

Detail of the engraving on the Trophy

If you "accept the challenge" and find out anything about this trophy, I'd love to hear from you!  If I figure out the year it was won, I'll let you know. 

I'd love to find W. White's family and see if they would like to have this trophy back in their family.  I feel that it belongs with them.

Au revoir, Mitty

Friday, June 24, 2011

Favorite French Things Friday - French Window Shutters "Volets"

I live in a newer home in Fort Worth, (you know, "My Faux French Chateau!) It has a little wrought iron balcony on the facade and French style shutters.  Everything is freshly painted and in "ship shape."

I often wonder what would happen if I chose to let my shutters age gracefully and take on the aged look of most of the window shutters on the buildings and homes I love in France.

Why is it that some of the appeal of the homes I love in France wouldn't be regarded as so appealing here in Fort Worth?  Why is chipped paint charming in France but a sign of neglect here? Perhaps it is that everything is old there and the buildings are all aging at the same rate. Whatever it is, I love the imperfect beauty of France.

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Preferred French Mode of Travel

I've always joked that I'm sure I was born a princess and somehow switched at birth! 

In the village of Aix- en- Provence recently I found my preferred mode of transportation befitting my pretend heritage.

Perfect carriage for a Faux Princess!

Beautiful Carousel Horses with French Bleu trimmed saddle and bridle. (Tricia, I thought of you and your love for carousel horses when I took this picture!)

Beautiful old Carousel on Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence

Au revoir, Mitty

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

French Picture Frames "Cadre Photo"

One of my favorite finds on my buying trip to Provence was a collection of French Picture Frames or, as the French say "Cadre Photo"!
Many of the frames were found at the Nice Brocante Market.
I'm in the process of photographing and cataloging them.
The problem is .....................I want to keep them all.
They are beautiful.
I have the perfect place for them.

Here's a sneak peak at the collection.

I purchased 14 Frames in total. 

Many of the frames are examples of the unique French frame design with the thick beveled glass without a surrounding frame.  I love this look.  A brass or bronze right angle (lip) encases the glass at the top and bottom of the frame.  There is a stand with a spring that fits tightly onto the glass and keeps it in place.
All of the frames have beautiful French embellishment on the top of the frame.

Three of the frames I believe to be either French Ormolu or French Dore Bronze.  The question is -  how do I tell?  The financial difference is major. I can find nothing in my research that really answers the question of how to distinguish the two.  My next step will be to take them to an appraiser. 

Here are the three frames in question.  They are beautiful!

The first one is an antique French picture frame, rectangular in shape. The frame is decorated in the Louis XV manner with laurel leaves, ribbons, and crossed torches with arrows.

I've decided that as I catalogue the frames, I'll share information on some of the typical french embellishments.

This is one of my favorite frames!  It is a very petite frame and contains an original sepia French baby picture!  Is that a necklace around the baby's neck?  I love the one sleeve off of the arm and the sheer look of glee on the baby's face. LOVE the woven colored rattan baby's chair!

This is a framed "Wedgwood - like" plaque.  I know it is not Wedgwood as it is not marked as such.  I'm researching what it could be.  I purchased this thinking someone might take the plaque out and use it as a picture frame.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these and love them as much as I do!

Au revoir, Mitty


Monday, June 20, 2011

"Wash Day in France"

It was "wash day" at my house today too.................
After over a week away there's a lot to catch up on.

This picture is of a French village scene that I love.
Freshly laundered clothes drying on the line....
three floors up in an old apartment building.

Why is even the mundane a work of art in France?
Is it the stucco facade of the building,
the aged and beautifully chipped paint on the French Grey shutters?
Is it the graceful wrought iron scroll holding the lantern?

I think it's all of it combined into a beautiful French still life.