Thursday, 10 September 2015


dried and pressed sea-weed picture from the Channel Islands

Yes I am back on the job and please forgive the gap, which was not a holiday but was caused by three big events in my personal life - the decisioj, for purely health reasons to leave my lovely old house where I planned to stay for a few more years, the decisiion to put it on the market which has involved a massive sort out of belongings and old stock, and  thirdly the delight of going back to bee-keeping with two hives on the terrace here which are just a big
waste of time, but I do love  my bees!

DRIED FERN, DRIED FLOWER and SEA WEED PICTURES, SCISSOR-WORK, CUT-OUT PICTURES( papier coupe ), PAPER SCULPTURE of FLOWERS,  a la Mrs.Delaney, SILHOUETTES,PIN PRICK WORK, often religious figures, FELT PICTURES OF ANIMALS, PLANTS, BASKETS OF STRAWBERRIES,  especially sought after and so charming! SILHOUETTES, human HAIR mormentoes made up in braids and plaits , Shell covered boxes and ornaments, The materials and skills involved shows how Victorian ladies used their hands to create pictures of delight.
   The following Blogs will show  just some of the samples of Ladies amusements, (Regency and Victorian craft work on pictures), which I have bought, sold and collected in a very informal way for my own amusement,  and also to decorate the bare walls of each house I have renovated.  Some are quite rare, others can still be found occasionally at the big general fairs, un-recognised by the sellers and very often in very poor frames which can easily be replaced and make a great difference to the charm of these rather delicate subjects.  Birds and flowers predominate of course.
   Dried flowers pressed between sheets of blotting paper are fairly common in Victorian scrap books, but often very faded and incomplete without foliage.   There are some exceptional groups of ferns which are often quite large and very stylish and decorative,  and properly framed, these are very attractive in  groups on large empty walls!  Sea-weed, see above picture,  dried and placed in a little woven basket,  in semi-profile on a parchment backing, can be very sweet and often have a little poem below " Call us not weeds, but flowers of the sea are we "  and are best seen in little boxed frames, well arranged and not flattened out.   Many natural history subjects, like flowers, insects, butterflies, birds' eggs, etc., can be much cheaper to buy in later print form rather than in the original  natural history volumes which are now rare to find as more and more are broken up to get the max. return on scarce designs -  ' pity too' as the Welsh would say!    More about these sort of pictures will follow with a few examples that I have owned or seen on my travels.  There is not a great deal of literature about Ladies Amusements as they were considered amateur and trivial and there was no proper market place for them as they were made at home and kept in the family, together with samplers and other hand-made decorations. They were just 'family things'.