There are places I haunt. My only sympathetic connection with Holly Golightly is her use of retail as temple. Having an unlimited budget often leads to being an undiscerning buyer. Having to choose makes you a better shopper. And sometime stalker.
I stalk the antique silver at Hall's. It's in a case, behind glass, because it knows it's important. It doesn't care if you want it or not. It's good. It knows it. It welcomes you to admire it. And admire it I do. But I do wish these lovely pieces were gracing family tables and sideboards and shelves. Last week I took a little trip down to Hall's with Soodie Beasley, who is an antique appraiser, to take a look. We thought it would be fun to see which pieces we each would choose; she, backed by education and knowledge, me, liking pretty, shiny things.
We each picked five things. We had a couple in common. I started my list with this enchanting tray. It's just so pretty. The engraving, with the crane and the fan and the dragonfly is delightful, but the bamboo handles really got me.
Our trusty guide, Melissa Fritz of Hall's, was sure to show me how beautifully the handle had been attached with the lovely leaves as camoflage. The piece was manufactured by William Hutton in 1865.
Next up, a Georgian tureen, she of stunning silhouette. Manufactured in 1875 she is in good condition and her lid sits firm and snug just as it should.
We deemed this the "I Dream of Jeannie" teapot and it is a bit magical. Another piece from the 1800's, this one manufactured by Matthew Boulton, its jaunty wood handle and finial would add a spirited air to any collection.
Don't you think, wouldn't you want to, I mean, I know things are tight, but doesn't it seem somehow a bit better to save your pennies for something remarkably special than to toss one more $19.99 nothing into your basket? I think it is.
Number 4 is just the bee's knees. Late 19th century, this condiment set would brighten any breakfast table. Salt, pepper and perhaps mustard all so handy. Melissa did think there was a possibility that the glass liner had been added later and that that cup had originally been intended to hold an egg. This might keep me from eating my breakfast standing at the kitchen counter as I pack the boys' lunches. The button feet alone make me want to sit down and pop out a linen napkin.
And, last but surely not least, this Walker & Hall compote or centerpiece. The Victorians may have heaped it with fruit but it would surely be just as happy holding M&Ms.
Fine pieces like these should not languish behind glass. Save for them. Buy them. Treasure them. These are the things that make everyday something special. Hall's does have a special no-interest program for significant purchases for regular customers and a particularly appealing one for new brides. Anyone in tabletop can fill you in. To see Soodie's picks - and to have some real insight into the pieces - do check her blog here.