Wednesday, 15 August 2012

microcosms of my house.

I thought I would show you some of the interesting items that mean a lot to me that I have on display in various places in my house. Most things have a story behind them and I like the quirky and extraordinary things you pick up through life. Often it is an association with a person that makes you love something, other times it is a situation in which you got them and other times there is no rhyme nor reason for why you like them.

I loved this print as soon as I saw the original on the wall in Chatsworth House. It is by Cornelius de Vos and is a portrait of his daughter painted in 1623-4.
And here is the mystery. I bought this more than 25 years ago and then 10 years ago my sister had a daughter. When my niece was about 5 or 6 she looked just like this girl, I don't mean a passing resemblance, I mean the spitting image, expression, colouring, the lot. It could be a portrait of my niece.

So from a purchase that is 25 years old to a more up to date one. I picked this up for a song a few months ago and loved it because of its name, for obvious reasons. It is signed by the Hogarth Players, 1879. I wonder what sort of play/musical it was?

Now I know that ivory is a very controversial material when used for artistic purposes but this very old piece was passed on to me by a grand parent. I don't condone killing elephants for their tusks any more, but I do still appreciate the beauty and artistry that has gone into this piece. It is nearly a foot tall and carved out of a single piece. It is the amazing work of a true craftsman who is long dead and gone. Sentimental memories.

Some of you may have read my post a few months back about Enid Blyton, relating specifically to her picnics. My first and most wonderful introduction to books came through this much maligned author and I for one loved every single book. The Adventure series was my absolute favourite so when the opportunity arose to get a free copy of the original dust jacket cover I couldn't resist (everyone loves a freeby) and this is framed in my hall. It was painted in 1948 by Stuart Tresilian.

I wonder if any of you could guess what this chest contains? It was a gift from my very first singing teacher, along with the table it sits on (actually it is a set of 4 tables that are dotted in various places around my house). It is actually a mah jong set that she was given by her uncle when she was a girl. It must be well over a hundred years old. So the story goes, it was given to her uncles father by the manager of the National Bank of China as a gift when he was on business there. I wonder who played with it in the past? It contains all the wonderful bamboo and ivory tiles, hand painted as well as some weird currency sticks. It's a real beauty. I did play with it a few times when I was younger and it is a pretty good game.

This was a gift from my best friend, he saw it at bygone times in Chorley and knowing my enjoyment of anything a little quirky got it for me. Who knows what you actually got for you 10d a ride, but I would sure like to find out. The plane is carved in relief from the rest of the picture.

And finally the haunted horse. This heavy bronze horse was left to me in the will of my first singing teacher. It stands about 12 inches tall and weighs a ton. It is haunted because of a very chilling ghostly tale that happened to me in connection with it a few years ago. I will save that story for its own post - probably at Halloween!



  1. I do get really cross with the equal opportunities lot, like baa baa white sheep et al. I loved Enid Blyton books and am convinced set me on a life long love of literature. How sad we have to apologise for the things that matter in our life.

  2. The horse is my favourite...can't wait to hear the spooky tale (though if you wait until Halloween...I'm just going to have to!).
    Jane x

  3. Hi Dan, You have such a diverse collection of beautiful items there. I love the chinese items the best but the haunted horse draws my fancy mainly because of the ghostly story. I think items retain something of their previous owners and the stories they have to tell. I'm glad to seem Enid Blyton in the mix as I introduced my boys to her and I hope to introduce my grandchildren to her books x x x

  4. Oo-er I'm frightened now! I, too, read all of Enid Blyton and enjoyed all the books. I've still got a lot of her books even now - can't throw them away.
    Love from Mum

  5. Another Enid Blyton filled childhood here, love the framed book jacket :)

  6. I loved Enid too. She is a product of her time though, an era that had its own prejudices and ignorance and as long as we read her books with that in mind and point this out to our children then we will all be fine.

    I adored the Faraway tree and The wishing chair series.

  7. Hello,
    I've just found your blog via Frugal Queen. I too moved from big city living to living in the sticks, at first I worked in my fancy nancy job in the metropolis and commuted to my bolt hole in the mountains.
    10 years on, I'm married to my first true love with a beautiful daughter. We always live within our means, and both get great joy from living where we live and making do and mending.
    Your blog looks right up my street. And your a man! in blogland! what a novelty.

    I'm your newest follower.

    1. Welcome here and you are very welcome. I have just looked at your blog quickly and joined, looks up my street too.

  8. I loved Enid Blyton books - my favourite was Valley of Adventure!

    A great diverse range of treasures - thanks for telling us their history.

  9. now I thought you were going to show us your signed photos of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry!
    you have a nice mix of eclectic bits.... I love this sort of house, where new and old mix together.... very tateful

    1. NO, they are both living in my cupboard and prefer not to be photographed.

  10. I love your house too Dan! Can't wait to hear the tale about the haunted statue at Halloween!

  11. The scare tale will be awesome. Love sharing the little "moments". I like that idea. I know you can't wait to get back home.

  12. Hi there,
    Great to meet you and don't quite remember how I stumbled upon your blog but glad I did. My thinking is in line with yours in so many ways. My husband and I live a peaceful life on a yacht in the Bristol channel. We were sick of the mortgage mill and never having anything to call ours without owing some large corporate something. We upped sticks and bought a boat. No mortgage, no loans and every penny we make is ours, apart from the obvious taxes of course. There is a lot to be said for stepping off the treadmill.

    I wish you luck and happiness and look forward to your future adventures.