Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years Eve!!!

From the far left A Gold anchor period (1756-1769) Chelsea Porcelain Street Vendor flower seller figure candlestick. A French opaline glass vase with red camellia flowers from my garden. 1850's wax shrine doll of baby Jesus under dome.  A late 18th century Sheffield silver salver holding French cut saucer shaped Champagne glasses picked up at a thrift store for fifty cents each. A gold gilt Old Paris porcelain plate with slice of pound cake.  A American coin silver dessert fork circa 1840 engraved "West".

Happy New Years Eve!!! As I sit back and sip my champagne and reflect over the past year here at the blog, it has been a great year. Over 200 post this year. I hope to have double that for the up and coming year. I have almost 12,000 views since I added a counter less then 90 days ago. When I first started I hardly knew how to put photo's in my blog. I only found out how to post youtube video's in my blog a few months ago by calling a friend and having him walk me thru it. It gives me so much joy creating a post. I have had so much fun researching and posting and meeting other fellow bloggers.  Here is a New Years Eve toast to you. "Here's a toast to the future, A toast to the past, And a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant; The past a bright dream; May our friends remain faithful and dear". 

A estate sale find a Empire Franklin stove

American Classical Empire style Franklin stove

You never know what you will find when you go to a estate sale. I did not know I would happen upon a 1820's-30's American cast-iron Franklin stove today. This is one of those items I have always wanted on a very long list of things I want. The stove was located in a obscure area of the estate sale in a corner with stuff all around it. After looking over the recently freshly painted white stove for a few moments I thought I would get it as the asking price was $65. dollars. I thought it was a nice reproduction one that go for $500-1,000 price range. The stove was worth a lot more then the asking price in scrap metal. After I bought it at a reduced price of $50. dollars the dealer told me it was a period one that came out of a Greek Revival home in New York city. After the dealer told me this I examine the stove closely and came to the conclusion it was a period stove made during the first 30's years of the 19th century. It was my lucky day as this was my Horoscope this morning.

Your eye for beauty -- and a good deal -- is heightened considerably right now, so get out there and look for new stuff for your home. Adding to or completing collections of all kinds is quite favored.

After doing some quick research on the stove, stoves similar to my stove were priced in the $1,500-$3,500 price range. I bought a few other items not worth talking about other then some circa 1800 very heavy coin silver dinner forks in the fiddle pattern priced at a dollar each.

Here is some info on Franklin stoves. By the mid 18th century wood began to be less plentiful and more expensive in the region of Philadelphia as it became one of the largest city's in colony. , and this led to the invention of the Philadelphia fireplace to economize fuel. This was improved by Benjamin Franklin, and Franklin stoves began to be made about 1745. Franklin had made a study of fireplaces, chimneys, and draughts, among his many other scientific investigations, and his own account of his invention is interesting. In his autobiography he writes as follows:

"Having, in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering, I made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand. . . . The use of these fireplaces in very many houses, both here in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states, has been, and is, a great saving of wood to the inhabitants."

The Franklin stoves were built of cast iron, to be fitted into the fireplace, or to extend out into the room, with a flue connection. Some were very simple in arrangement, while others had more or less elaborate systems of draughts. The old fireplaces were not always smokeless, and the new stove was an improvement in that respect.

Sea coal was advertised in Philadelphia as early as 1744, and Franklin stoves were soon made with grates as well as with flat hearths for andirons. Franklin never patented any of his designs and inventions so other people got rich off of his inventions.

The designs were often good, the jambs curving gracefully and the proportions pleasing. They were decorated with embossed patterns in the iron and with brass or nickel knobs and sometimes rosettes and rails. They were made with and without feet. Franklin stoves provided more heat and less smoke than an ordinary open fireplace and could be placed into just about any existing fireplace. Because they are made of cast-iron it would heat up and radiate heat into the room. He believed “that as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously”.

My Franklin stove dates from the 1820's of 30's and is decorated very much like American Classical furniture of the early 19th century such as sideboards or chest of drawers. The front pillars are similar to carved bedposts of the period with tobacco and acanthus leaf design column terminating in a graceful Ionic capital. The post sit on square acanthus rosettes and are topped with Bulls eye in a square panel acanthus block. The back plate and sides also have raised designs, A fern pattern and Navette shape. With finials on top. My stove might also have brass fittings on the stove under the white paint. Can't wait to get into this project. If the stove does not have brass detail. I will painted it black with gold leaf detail. I have a book of 19th century French 22 caret gold leaf I found in the attic of a 18th century French home in the South of France. The Classical design of the stove will fit well with my collection of Federal and Empire furniture.

Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777

Other Franklin Classical stoves from the time period of my stove

Ben said it best "The best is the cheapest." and "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body" Quotes by Benjamin Franklin

Red Camellias on a bracket

Red Camellias from my garden in a 1860's French Opaline glass Aesthetic Movement vase next to a Old Paris porcelain 1840's Rococo Revival vase on a Louis XVI style bracket

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Richards DAR House 1860, Mobile Alabama

The Richards DAR House built 1860, Mobile, Alabama

The Richards DAR house is one of Mobile's finest examples of the Italianate style architecture. This Antebellum townhouse is famous for its lavish cast-iron gallery depicting the four seasons. The house is listed on the National Register and was built during Mobile's Golden period in 1860 a year before the Civil war. This beautiful Town House of the Italianate style tells the story of Mobile history during its antebellum period. Steamboat Captain Charles G. Richards and his wife, Caroline Elizabeth Steele, built their dream house in 1860.

The Ideal Cement Company purchased the house from Richards’ descendants in 1946. After being turned over to the city of Mobile in 1973, the six Mobile Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution leased the home for dollar a year from the city of Mobile. The organization is responsible for furnishing and administering it as a Period House Museum.

The house museum is magnificently decorated with carved ornate Carrara marble mantels, double parlors and reception hall with massive brass and bronze gas chandeliers designed of fanciful mythological figures holding aloft etched and crenelated glass globes manufactured by Cornelius & Company one of the leading light fixture companies of the 19th century. The front door has it's original panes of ruby Bohemian glass frame the doorway, silver bell pulls for calling servants are in each room and the front gallery floor is made of gray and white imported marble squares. In the Richards – DAR House Museum hangs one of the largest crystal chandeliers in the city, reflecting in a French mirror over the mantel. The furnishings of this house museum date back prior to 1870.
The Front hall with it's curved stair

Front hall

The front door has it's original panes of ruby Bohemian glass

The front door has it's original panes of ruby Bohemian glass

Richards Family portrait

a pierce-carved rosewood rococo etagere by New Orleans cabinetmaker Prudent Mallard 1860

One of the only original pieces of furniture is the 1860 Rosewood square piano in the front hall.

Gilt bronze gasolier manufactured by Cornelius & Company of Philadelphia in the reception hall

double parlors

Carrara marble mantel

double parlors

double parlors

Carrara marble mantel

double parlors

Marie Antoinette carved into the Carrara marble mantels

Dinning room

Dinning room

Upstairs hall


1850's Rosewood Baby's bed by New Orleans cabinetmaker Prudent Mallard

1850's Rosewood Baby's bed by New Orleans cabinetmaker Prudent Mallard

1850's Old Paris porcelain cigar holder

1830's Alabama made cherry bed

This Antebellum townhouse is famous for its lavish cast-iron gallery