Saturday, 18 December 2010


    The first time I saw a design of little monkeys swinging through jungle trees was down the Kings Road in London. It was on a pair of early 19c.chintz bed covers in a very smart antique shop called Browns. I was shocked to hear they were more than £30 but you have to know that this was in 1950 when I was newly married and trying to furnish a little mews house on a wage of £5. 50 a week! Somehow they stuck in my brain and next time I saw another pair of lovely green chintz counterpanes with ivy leaves in a trellis pattern and a rich border with red berries for £10, I bought them to console myself! In fact I got them from Robin Eden in Pickwick, Corsham, on my way for a Cornish holiday. I was to meet his son Matthew, another antique dealer, nearly 30 years later, when I moved to Freshford and I was able to tell him that his father (much missed by many) had started my love of old textiles.
     I have always loved the 'singeries' but they are quite rare - porcelain, silver, carvings and textiles were decorated with monkey figures in the 17th .18th C. and give a playful, exotic Eastern image to European designs. The picture shows a good example and comes from the collection of Julia Basset who lives in France and is a well known textile dealer.   I saw her at the Textile Society's Fair in Kensington in Septembrt.  She has lovely and rare things and often takes her textiles to Newark Antiques Fair..

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