Monday, January 30, 2012

Antiquing in Paris

Going to Paris in January guarantees some rainy shopping days. When it does rain we head to the Swiss  Antique Market. There are around 150 antique shops of high end dealers that are in permanent stalls and most are covered. They each have their own specialty. This particular shop had these fabulous Hat pin cushions that are around 10 -12 inches in diameter. I collect vintage Haskell pins and thought it would be fun display them in lieu of having them in my jewelry box. They generally cost around 120 Euros.

Normally I do have to focus on buying furniture. However, when we are in the midst of so many fabulous oddities I have to stop and at least enjoy looking and asking the dealers questions about their treasures. These were 18th Century baby rattles. I love how they are made from bone and sterling silver. One can be held and turned back and forth to make the rattle. Many of them double as whistles. Gene said, this makes me think of the movie, Nanny McPhee. In this movie, things took place around the turn of the century and they were shown using them. These rattles dated around 1830. The detail and craftsmanship were exquisite. What a great baby gift today!

These two rattles on the left would go over the babies wrist or hand to hold and shake.

These were my personal favorites. The rattle/whistle on the far left is French and dates to late 1700.

Recreating screens was actually how I got my start in decorative arts. For over 28 years, in decorative painting  career there has been a soft spot in my heart  for painted screens. This one is French and is dated around 1850. The color palette is divine! It was burlap on a wood frame and had gesso under the art. It was around $10,000 dealers price. You could find this piece in a fine antique shop in New York or Atlanta easily for $20,000.
Four panel screens are great hanging above a sofa or as a head board.

There is a paper market in Paris each week. We decided to visit my friend in the Swiss market place. Here is a grouping of letters from the 1700-1800's. I love the color palette, stamps and typography.

These are some examples of letters that he had that were literally 6-8,000 Euros each! They were rated on the importance of the document, age and especially the stamps.
I love enlarging old stamps and framing them as art! They look especially nice in an acrylic frame. I suggest enlarging 6-8 stamps and hanging them in grouping. You can also enlarge them all on one piece of paper and hanging as one piece of artwork. I would suggest the size of a large movie poster.
Be on the look out for a new introduction of letters framed with wax seals in our spring collection!


  1. What a wonderful way to spend a rainy day wandering around a French antique mall. Love your idea of making enlargements of stamps but I have to be honest if I was going to spend nearly $11,000 on something it probably wouldn’t be for stamps. OK please show us what you purchased Amy I’m dying to see.


  2. Wonderful objects!! So many lovely finds!

    Art by Karena

    1. Looks like you are certainly enjoying the Paris trip; we're enjoying right along with you!

  3. So beautiful - thanks for sharing! Chantelle

  4. Oh these things are all so beautiful! I can't wait to take your class when I am back home in a few weeks! Rescue, Restoration, and REstore! Can't wait;)Anne

  5. I want to go to Paris every time I see all the beautiful things that are there.

    -Zane of ontario honey