Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today's purchases

1840's American carved rosewood Rococo Revival piano stool

Actually I purchased theses items over the past few days, One day when I can get more organized I would love to have my blog posts in categories to the side, but because I live in the 19th century I have not figured out how to do it. This weekend has been phenomenal for! Friday was the best day of this New year. I'm sure it had something to do about it being a Full Moon in my sign of Leo. I will have a post about my busy day soon.

First up is a 1840's American Rococo Revival piano stool. I saw this stool in a Antique shop for a few months. I finally broke down and bought it. One of my favorite American styles of Antique furniture is the Rococo Revival style. Popular in America from 1840-1865 but never stop being made. During this mid 19th century period it was known as "French Antique" or "Louis Guinze" Its inspiration was the style of the court of French king Louis XV, and its chief features included fine wood like rosewood, the cabriole leg, shell and other fanciful carvings, curved surfaces, and a profuse use of delicate S- and C-scrolls. Since the curved line had never totally disappeared from the design repertory, Rococo was, in a sense, an exaggeration of previous styles. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to distinguish this 19th-century style from its 18th-century antecedent:

I first started going to Antique shops around the age of eight. I fell in love with this style of furniture at that time. I remember around the age of 12 or 13 a Antique dealer friend told me that I should like planer furniture like Federal or Empire as it was easer to keep clean and dust. But at that time Rococo Revival pieces were all I looked at. He was right about the upkeep of the pieces. You need a tooth brush to get into all of the intricate carvings with wax but I still love the pieces.

Around the age of 14 a saw a small 1840's American Empire square piano in a old Mobile junk shop. The price was $400. I did not have the money to buy it but I asked the dealer would he be interested in trading items for it. He said he was interested so I made two trips walking from my house to the shop about a two mile walk each way with Garage/estate sale finds I had bout over the years including a marble lamp. Once it was all tallied up the Antique Dealer was not interested in the trade so I packed my stuff up and huffed back home in two trips.

I have always wanted a rosewood Square piano. In the South they are more money then what you will pay for one up North. If doing a search for them on ebay they are priced at $499. -$30,000. square piano's are mostly used for decorative purposes because they do not hold tunes well and are extremely heavy you will need about 10 men to move one. When I buy one I want to know that I will be in the same place for some time as I don't want to keep moving a heavy piece around.

1840's American carved rosewood Rococo Revival piano stool

 assumed the old faded upholstery was the 2th time this piece was upholstered and I was right after doing some detective work The top upholstery was corduroy velvet that was originally Emerald green dating from around 1880.

Rosewood Square piano by Schomacher & Co Philadelpha 1848

Piano stool with it's original 1840's worn red velvet.

I discovered the original 1840's upholstery under the faded corduroy velvet. The original fabric was a red velvet also highly worn and faded. Reds and Burgundy were very popular colors for furniture fabrics during the mid 19th century in America and Europe.

1840's Grass/hay stuffing inside of the seat of the stool

Part or the original covering was lifting up and I got to see the original stuffing. Before I removed the fabric I assumed it was horsehair but was surprised to find packed Grass/hay as the original stuffing in the seat. WOW! grass from the 1840's! While not too many people might not be excited about preserved grass/hay from the 1840's I was the 1% that was. Most upholsterers that would find this would rip it all out and put some synthetic filling in that will not hold up like this has for a 170 years! This is why I like to upholster my own pieces if I can. On top of the grass/hay was raw cotton to smooth the grass out and then the original red velvet.

The newly upholstered stool by myself

After 30 minuets of nailing I had a wonderfully upholstered piano stool. I had been saving a piece of vintage Lovely Scalamandre silk damask  fabric for something small and special like this piece. I bought the fabric as a curtain panel at a Garden District estate sale years ago for $2. I upholstered a few items with it and just has a small piece left. Now I need to find some gimp and this piece will be finish. I cleaned the house, backed two French coconut pies and upholstered a stool today. I always tell people I'm a cross between Martha Stewart, Oprah & Wendy Williams!

Scalamandre silk damask upholstered by myself

This piano stool is really a transitional going from the Classical style of furniture to the early Victorian Rococo style. The acanthus carved support is Empire in style but the fancy S and C scroll acanthus carved tripod cabriole legs are Rococo Revival.  The seat is a adjustable swiveling seat 

Scalamandre silk damask upholstered by myself

The next few items I bought are for resale. I'm thinking about opening a Etsy shop here at the blog so I can share my fabulous finds with the world. The is a lovely English porcelain Café au lait cup in the Aesthetic Movement style dating from the 1870's. I'm a sucker for Cobalt and gold! This cup is truly a fine combination of the both. 19th century Café au lait cups are very rare and hard to find French ones. I have a collection but I have never seen a English one before. Café au lait cups are very large, larger then a coffee or tea cup.

This cup is inspired by Orientalism, & exoticism combined with 18th century Sèvres porcelain designs. The cup and saucer has handpainted flowers in raised gold gilt inspired by the Japanese influence of nature, For the first time world wide trade had opened with Japan in 1850. After this date the craze for Japanese influences, epitomized by the 1885 Japanese exhibition in Knightsbridge, influenced aesthetic furniture and furnishings and decorative arts in Europe and America. There are commonalities especially in the overall rectangular shape with columns, and the intricate woodcarvings, this influence can be seen in a concurrent movement known as the Anglo-Japanese style, especially in the work of E.W. Godwin and Christopher Dresser.

English porcelain Cobalt blue & gold Café au lait cup in the Aesthetic Movement style circa 1870's

But the borders of the cup and saucer are inspired by 18th century Sèvres porcelain designs with it's Sawtooth gold gilt rim and Neoclassical Greek Key etched band of gold. Although this cup is not marked by a maker but it has iron red mold numbers on the bottom of it's saucer like most 19th century unmarked English porcelain.

English porcelain Cobalt blue & gold Café au lait cup in the Aesthetic Movement style circa 1870's

English porcelain Cobalt blue & gold Café au lait cup in the Aesthetic Movement style circa 1870's

French Nécessaire or travailing case circa 1900-1920

I could not pass this Spectacular French Nécessaire or travailing case up after seeing it had all of it's original pieces. dating to 1900-1920 the interior is fitted to hold the pieces and the exterior is leather. The pieces inside are made of matte gold gilt fished metal & Celluloid a early type of plastic that is highly collectable today. The Celluloid is very unusual in that it is made to look like semi-precious hard stone, or jewel.  All original contents including pressed glass jars with matte finished gold stoppers, mirror, brush finger nail file, shoehorn (sometimes called a shoespoon) and Comb.


Covered jar for powder or cream

shoehorn or shoespoon mirror and finger nail file


  1. Those are some wonderful finds!
    There is a piano just like the one here on Chicago Craigslist for cheap because it has no strings! I wish I could figure out a way to get it to you!

  2. I had a square grand once, sold it for very little when I moved to New York. Have no room for one in my present house, they sell cheap here in Mo.Love your stool and especially love the fabric. Richard

  3. OMG that piano! You made some lovely acquisitions. The story of your attempt at trading... boy you must have been disappointed.

    Careful about Etsy. I'm a customer but it seems that it isn't as fantastic as it seems. Do some homework, google it, look for tips on how to make your shop work.

  4. @ Laurent yes I know about the reference of Charon in The Invention of Love. I love the colors and the flesh is beautifully painted. Thanks Richard. Your house looks big I'm sure you can find room the squeeze one in. Actually I don't have room for one in my home now but one day I will own a Antebellum home and one will fit in well then. Thanks cieldequimper. I was a little disappointed about not getting the piano but I believe things work out or don't work out for a reason. It was Empire in style and I want a Rococo one. Thanks for the info about Etsy I will do the research.