Sunday, 27 April 2014


   Ah!  la belle Brocante!        The French tinsmiths of the early 20c. were busy making their wares and these were sold all over Europe;  but first they had to be decorated with enamel to make them safe and hygienic - that was the main idea!   Wooden utensils were considered dirty and unhygienic and china's cracks and chips not much better and so the 'modern' fashion was for a good coating of enamel, white or coloured, and much was decorated with art deco style patterns which suited its practical use very well.   It was not only manufactured in France, although hugely popular there, it was made in very large quantities in the Netherlands, Austria and other European countries following on the fashion.  Much prized are the long sets of canisters with lids which had labels in bold letters engraved on them - sugar, coffee, flour, etc., and these were for putting on the mantlepiece of the kitchen to show the visitors that the kitchen was well supplied with essential ingredients.    Poverty was not acceptable.
   The patterns were usually stripes or checks, but there are many other more interesting versions of chequerboard,  floral, spotted, etc. and all are highly collectible by English and American housewives!   Some of the other kitchen wares are also very attractive and in great variety,  sets of four or five saucepans,  racks for kitchen tools, for kitchen cloths (torchons), for laundry chemicals (soap, sand, soda, etc.), big bowls for mixing, draining, soup tureens, jugs of all sizes (many very decorative) spittoons, soap dishes, clysteres (douches),  fountains for hand-washing in the outside loos, candlesticks, match boxes (allumettes) and dozens of others!  Nowadays they are only hygienic if the enamel is perfect, otherwise beware of using them for cooking, especially anything acidic!
   There will be a good private collection of enamel goods for sale at our Fair here in Bradford on Avon, on Sunday June 15 -  but I can assure you it will not last long as there are some very striking pi           
Part of a good private collection of vintage enamelware for sale at the Rag Fair on June 15th

1 comment:

  1. I use to collect those from 1970-1990's
    I had an auction in 1995 and sold a huge lot of them