Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waxing sentimental on this Thanksgiving Eve

"The dinner table was stretched to its furthest capacity, and there was another table for the small children. Both tables were covered with cloths of big green-and-white-checked gingham (three-inch squares). Down each table was a lovely arrangement of red apples, ears of corn, vegetables and fruits. On each table, too, were big old-fashioned jugs of beer and cider. 
There were place cards with red turkeys on them. And shiny new tin plates from the ten-cent store. The first course was oyster soup, served in yellow bowls (also from the crockery counter of the ten-cent store). Then came the turkey (three of them, in fact, stuffed with creamed puree of chestnuts...). There were candied sweet potatoes and celery and a green vegetable. There was corn bread, sweet and piping hot. There was a mixed green salad served in little individual wooden salad bowls. And for dessert pumpkin pie, of course, and 'country coffee' in big cups.
Everyone sat a long time around the table telling the old family jokes and stories. Then my aunt gave the signal and we all went into the living room where there was a piano. There was music laid out on it, all old-fashioned songs that everyone knew and could sing. Later on we had a magic-lantern show. The slides were photographs of members of the family when they were babies, and we had to guess who was who." 

Dorothy Draper, Entertaining is Fun! (1941) 


Friday, November 08, 2013

Recreating the Past: Francis Cadell's Edinburgh studio

Scottish artist Francis Cadell's circa 1912 painting Afternoon has long been one of my favorites. Cadell frequently used his Edinburgh studio (in the city's posh New Town district) to paint fashionable women in a relaxed interior environment. Many of the props must have been his own as they reappear in several paintings, which you can see at the end of this post. But, as this is my favorite of his works, and as I've had a free afternoon to Google with leisure about absolutely nothing... I've decided to find similar objects featured in the scene. What I'm mystified by, however, is the painting... perhaps it's a work of Cadell's imagination or something from his collection, or perhaps its a reference to something he saw while studying in Munich or Venice during the wee small years of the new century. What's so remarkable is that it looks startlingly like a Franz Kline, or maybe even a Helen Frankenthaler. If anyone reads this and knows more about it, please email me -- I'm dying to know!

Until then... a fun little round-up of pieces similar to those seen above, should you be wishing to redo your living room as a late-Edwardian art studio. (I am.)

An English Edwardian ballroom chandelier, circa 1910, from Matthew Upham Antiques.

A pair of Regency painted armchairs from Jayne Thompson Antiques.

A George IV mahogany wine cooler with brass mounts, from Mayfair Gallery.

An English Victorian papier-mache tray from Susan Silver Antiques.

A giltwood Rococo fauteuil, via Mallett

A 1909 sterling silver coffee pot by Thomas Bradbury & Sons of London, from Bryan Douglas.

Staffordshire teapot (New Hall type), c. 1790 from Patrician Antiques.

And, for fun, Bernardaud's 1000 tea cups... because the women in Cadell's paintings were nothing if not modern.

A few of the other Cadell paintings created in the same Edinburgh studio, believed to have been at 130 George Street:


The Artist's Drawing Room

The White Room

 For more information on Cadell: