Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Illustrated first are a nice pile of old tickings, both French and German which I had in vast quantities in the 80s and the portrait was taken in my garden to show them off for an article about the 'new' antiques of the period. The photographer arrived without the usual assistant and had not planned the picture at all. I suggested the iron gazebo already in our old garden and tried to drape the long lengths neatly to make a dome shape - the wind was blowing hard and whipped the ends off the structure and we battled as if in a sailing boat to get the scene under control!
After my climb up a ladder to find and buy a haybarn loft stacked with old tickings, forgotten and neglected by a bedding merchant, I had some very welcome publicity in a couple of decorating magazines. English decorators had newly re-discovered tickings and their bold colours and stripes introduced a fresh look to their 'mood boards' and colour schemes. Americans had always collected and valued tickings as they were amongst the most essential belongings that the early settlers took with them when they travelled across the States and set up home. They filled them with feathers, hay, straw, and corn shucks for bedding. To this day, many people in Pennsylvania and Connecticut display a neat pile of folded tickings as a sign of their ancestry and early beginnings. Many US dealers and designers visited me to buy the most unusual striped colour combinations with a view to getting the copyright and reproducing them - which they did in due course. Ian Mankin found his own designs elsewhere and was part of the ticking resurgence and it all helped my sales. I was very flattered when the photo above showed a pile of tickings from different decorating shops, all of which had come from my own stack! The garden gazebo draped with my tickings caused much amusement in the family who said they had never seen me sitting in the garden till then! The wind was blowing and it was the very devil to anchor all those long strips down for the shoot.

Friday, 9 July 2010


Went to Brittany for a real summer holiday and had a great time on a beautiful estuary at Port
Le Pouldu, simple inexpensive lodging and the best sea food we have had anywhere and we have been to most places. We watched the boats, the sailing classes, the skiers and the swimmers and relaxed completely. However, before this pleasant peacerful interlude we had a very busy two days, first at a big fair at Chartres and the next day at Le Mans - I was looking to top up my linen and hemp sheets and to find chateau length big sets of decent curtains. I found three excellent triple sets from a smart house in Strasburg, next door to an American Embassy, in pale plainish shades with lovely trims, very drawing room (or ballroom if you happen to have one, ) They half -filled my transport, and next day at Le Mans, within the first half hour, I had bought such huge quantities of good linen that I could not fit it all in the van and had to hire some space in another dealer's lorry! Something has happened in the French markets - with no US and UK buyers around, suddenly linen is a drug on the market French dealers just do not deal in old linen! and there were huge quantities available at very modest 'all or nothing' prices. I will be passing on good stuff at much lower prices as soon as it is all washed, ironed and labelled (about two weeks' time). And if you want splendid rich curtains at really good crunchy prices, do get in touch - I now have a choice of 20 different sets, all over 10ft drop, in every colour.