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Showing posts from January, 2010

Primitive Oil Painting: Her Gentle Disposition

This lovely lady arrived on Saturday morning and helped to brighten up an otherwise cold and sunless day. She slipped through Ebay for less than $200 and will fit perfectly on the wall going up the stairs.

I like her mousey look from behind those glasses. She is a normal size, 20x24, so I won't have too difficult a time finding a primitive frame for her. I estimate she was painted about 1840. That should place her birth about 1780 to 1800.

I showed her to Nita at the antique shop and she was as excited as I was. This makes a total of three primitive women I have hanging on the wall at my old house. I was inspired to own a few after getting my copy of Jill Peterson's "The Homestead" plus all those years of Colonial Homes and Early American Life.

Early American Life is about it for primitives and old houses. Colonial Homes went out a few years ago. Jill Peterson is starting a new magazine about Primitives that is supposed to begin publication in February. I am…

Adding to the R S Prussia collection

I notice that Ebay prices for R S Prussia are almost reasonable again. The celery dishes and the odd sugars and creamers are less than $50. I found some bowls tonight in the same price range, especially the unmarked ones. I know many of the common decals used as well as the mold patterns , but I am lucky to have the gift of looking at a piece and being able to know if it is good or not.

All of the R S Prussia collectors can do that. The R S Germany pieces are no problem being on the page, but the fake pieces give me a headache just looking at them. They all need to be busted with a hammer.

I still see them in the shops here sometimes, but not as often as before. I would like to write FAKE on the price tag with a red Sharpie just like I saw it once written on a piece of fake Roseville.

Anyway, I need to add two or three pieces a month to what I have while it is cheap ( cheap for R S Prussia , that is ).

Part Two: Director's Opinion on the Admiralty House Photo

The next two blog entries are about a little cdv photograph of a building in Halifax called the Admiralty House. I bought it for less than a dollar and kept it over 30 years. I finally donated the photo to the Admiralty House Museum. It is the oldest known photograph of their building/museum. It was like finding a picture of the White House twenty years older than any other known picture. They were all excited about the whole thing. The earlier blog gives the background, and the blog below gives the results, so if you want to read them in order, skip to the next entry and come back to this one. The whole ordeal turned out to be lots of fun over such a little thing.


The email arrived from the Director of the Admiralty House and his historical savey is all over the place. Here is what he had to say:

Good afternoon

Your donation arrived this morning. I must say I was gob-smacked.

As you mentioned in your accompanying letter, it is the earliest known photograph of Admiralty House. It …

Part One: Admiralty House 1860 Photograph

That particular Saturday was the right Saturday of the month in June of 1978 and I was at the Fairfield, Alabama, flea market, once the glorious location of the Alabama State Fair. Fairfield is not hard to find; just follow US 11 through Bessemer and there you are. If you go too far you'll end up on 1st Avenue North in Birmingham.

This monthly flea market was not one of those pretty outdoor affairs like you see on the treasure hunt shows on BBC and HGTV; it was held in a large dirty building where dealers or anyone else who wanted pay the fee would bring their smalls to display on old tables covered mostly in sheets.

When I say that the dealers brought smalls, I say so with no exaggeration. The 1970's and 1980's were a time when people who liked antiques ( including myself) were doing what I call collecting collections. Some dealers sold nothing but depression glass; others were selling figurines; others sold old paper ephemerae.

Today's young antique en…

On Writing a Blog

This is a blog about my life in Central Alabama. I don't presume that anyone other than myself would want to read it, at least not on purpose, for it might prove to be dull reading indeed.

But, it's foolish to pretend that anyone who starts a blog doesn't have the idea that someone will click and read, someone who can say I understand what this person is saying. I know how this person thinks.

Sarah Palmer ( real teacher whom everyone loved ) told me in college that I had the potential to be a fairly tolerable writer, but that implied something of hard work and committment to the task, and, at that stage of my life, I didn't understand the concept of not doing anything to the extreme.

I also remember that she hated what was called stream of consciousness writing, which I was inclined to do, and, in the 70's, that was not good for an A in English Composition 101 unless you were assigned to mimic the style of Henry David Thoreau, whose essays she could not bear to read…