.:[Double Click To][Close]:.

Death of a Closet

My closet finally gave way last week. Sometime in the wee hours I heard a crash. With a few nearly impossible deadlines looming, extended family in for the holidays and days without decent rest, I was a bit tired. I needed to make sure I was down for the count with the aid of a few sleeping pillies. So when the crash of the closet came, I looked up, looked at my dog and put my head back down. I wasn’t getting out of bed. I told myself, surely the crash was the ice storm outside.

The husband next to me did not stir. Until the following morning when he saw the closet doors bulging. The rule I set in our home is no talking, no sudden movements and most certainly no loud noises until after the second cup of coffee. Which he respected, and then it came…

Apparently, I have too many clothes. I cannot believe that otherwise I would not have been holding my head in my hands wondering what to wear to Christmas parties this season. The bar that fell was beyond repair and the holes in either side of the walls were enormous, puffing out bits of plaster relieved of their responsibility to carry so much weight. There was no time to find a replacement. So my clothing sat on the floor and I could only ferret out a skirt and a sweater which I wore Christmas Eve and Christmas day and the next day until stores opened back up. The guilt I felt for my few pairs of shoes buried underneath the rubble unable to breathe was acute. And then I felt guilty about feeling guilty over shoes when there are so many unfortunate and real situations in life that I should feel guilty about. Everyone surely has one or two, three or even four pairs of shoes -- the kind that are so fabulous to the eye and cost beyond anything reasonable. The kind you simply cannot financially justify splurging on, but you do, contort your face and look away as you hand the credit card over to the sales clerk.

Stores opened back up and my thoughtful husband ventured out in the wet icy snow to find a 7’-0” long new pole. He came home to tell me there weren’t any. So I sent him off to purchase a hanging rack. A quarter of the width of my closet, I tripled up my clothing on hangers and hooked them on the rack. Uncovering my poor overly-expensive shoes below, I picked them up and cradled them (kidding, not really) before I set them gingerly aside on the floor. I also set several of my handbags on the rack above. Before nodding off that evening in a particularly pleasant haze that certain sleeping pills give me, I noticed the rack was leaning a bit. I was soon fast asleep. I had a lot of work to do the following day.

In the wee hours of the morning, I awoke yet again to my clothing rack crashing down on the bed – handbags flying, dresses, pants, skirts suffocating me. Husband didn’t stir. I’m the one on the pills.

I shoved everything back in the closet. The next morning, the husband said I have too many handbags. It was the weight of so many handbags that caused the rack to topple over. That simply is not true.

On my extensive “attempt to accomplish” list for 2009, I vow to get myself a new closet. I’ve changed the once “must” to “attempt” as the years pass, I find myself a bit more realistic. Although I crave any of the above closet designs, it simply isn’t in my budget. I have a modest reach-in closet and well, because of this recession there have been some cut backs. Hanging rods and cubby holes for shoes… that is all I need. In an ideal world, I would see a move into a much larger, brighter residence with an unlimited budget to convert an extra bedroom into a closet of my dreams (I haven't decided on a finish just yet...) But realism, unfortunately prevails.

Street in Elora, Ontario after an ice storm – photo taken sometime between 1900 and 1919 by John R. Connon (1862-1931) was a professional photographer and inventor of photographic equipment active in Elora, Ontario in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Closets by
LA Closet Design


"Minsan yata talaga... may mga bagay na hindi na dapat sinasabi pa..."

Happy Holidays

... everyone. To those here and to those who have passed.

In the Courts of the 18th Century… the New, New Thing was the Bonbonnière

Fashionable things today are like fruit flies. They generate from nowhere and invade our consciousness like barely visible interlopers. As quickly as they appear, they vanish. Held captive by the trend machines of popular culture, magazines and television feed our imagination and push us toward one trend or another. In an age when all attention is given to the newest, new thing, why should we linger on one well-made masterpiece?

Well… to some of us, fancies of another day are more enchanting. Our thoughts are set adrift by objects of subtle refinement and exquisite craftsmanship, we imagine a time of splendid leisure, elegance and extravagance.

In the eighteenth century, the royal courts were the ultimate arbiters of taste and little decorative boxes were all the rage. There were boxes for face powder, for face patches, for snuff and for tasty little bonbons. Little porcelain boxes where the greatest artists and goldsmiths displayed their skill. These boxes were rich in material, exemplified beauty of craftsmanship, and were extremely exquisite.

Remembered as a softer, more genteel time, the eighteenth century was an age when the manners of a person were as important as integrity. But lest we forget, everybody in those days had bad breath. There were no toothbrushes. Just a scrub with a linen cloth or a dig or two between the teeth was all there was. Most teeth in those days were crooked and grey. Those were the fortunate ones who still had them.

To make good impression, it was necessary to mask the odor of one’s breath. To do so people relied on candies made of sugar coated seeds and nuts or a sugar paste mixed with mint, cinnamon or crushed up fragrant seeds that were quickly popped in the mouth.

These ‘kissing comfits’ which perfumed the breath, needed to be held in something and this was a time when a tin container like our Altoids today just would not do. Something had to be created. Alas, we have the genesis of a magnificent little gem… the bonbonnière. Created to hold sweets to freshen the breath, not chocolates as some mistakenly assume.

In the courts of England and France, the new, new thing was the bonbonnière. Owning an enamel bonbonnière indicated the wealth of a person, as did having it filled with sweets, because sugar was an expensive and desirable commodity in those days.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, sugar became cheaper and less exclusive to the rich. Ironically, tooth decay, linked to sugar, became widespread as sugar became available to more people.

Get your paddle ready as this little Louis XV stripped lacquered box with a central motif of a painted bouquet of roses with reeded gold mounts is set to be sold on January 22, 2009 at Christie’s (London). The interior is even lined with tortoise shell. (Date: 1768-1774).

Pugs were very popular dog in the eighteenth century. This French one, circa 1740, is available at Eron Johnson Antiques.

In Britain, many bonbonnières were made by the Bilston enamellers. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes each having exquisite painting. They took many forms from decorative little boxes to fruit, to the shape of animals, to even shoes.

Sweet little Bilston bullfinch, c. 1790, sold April 2001 at Sloan’s Auction Galleries in Miami.

Another little pug reclining on a grassy ground. Underneath has a scene of a woman playing with her dog. c. 1770.

The sturdy pug dog was one of the most popular pets in both eighteenth century France and England. The breed was first imported in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by merchants and crews from the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Pugs were first popular in England and their popularity spread. George III’s wife Charlotte kept many.

Head of a pug. Bilston. C. 1770, Wolverhampton Arts and Museums.

Head of a leopard, South Staffordshire, c. 1775. Sold at Ivey-Selkirk Auctions. September 2002.

Sad muzzled hound, South Staffordshire, c. 1770, Ivey-Selkirk Auctions. September 2002.

Hare Bonbonnière, Bilston, 1770 – 1775, Wolverhampton Arts and Museums.

Cow and nestling Calf Bonbonnière, Bilston, 1770 – 1780, Wolverhampton Arts and Museums.

2008 PRC Dental Board Exam Result

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has announced that 296 out of 708 or 41.81% passed the Dentistry Licensure Examinations held in December 2008.

Below is the roll of successful examinees in the Dentist Licensure Examination held in December 2008 and released on December 18, 2008:

1 Aba, Leilani Joy Dulce
2 Abad, Bernadette Balais
3 Aballe, Clifford Radoc
4 Abenoja, Eunice Bondoc
5 Acedo, Rhenz Alvin Uy
6 Adag, Cheryl Leuan
7 Adriano, Ruth Samson
8 Agag, Reesah Lacar
9 Agapito, Ritchel Chua
10 Agno, Haide Rhose Cabulisan
11 Aguilar, Maria Lourdes Santos
12 Alaba, Shane Marie Mendoza
13 Alambra, Mae Joy Baguitan
14 Alcantara, Alma Pilar Estrella Punzalan
15 Aldea, Kristine Olano
16 Alforque, Melon Sagrado
17 Alioden, Jamila Haya
18 Allama, Adz-Jira Kadiri
19 Alvaro, Julie Ann Fulgaon
20 Ambayec, Jenina Revilla
21 Anain, Melody Paas
22 Anastacio, Christine Baclig
23 Aperocho, Emily Colona
24 Apostol, Jonas John Sarmiento
25 Aproda, Mae Ann Bisnar
26 Aquiatan, Pol Lastimosa
27 Aquino, Anne Judith Clidoro
28 Aquino, Leila Kris Colili
29 Arago, Kathrine Grace Dimaano
30 Argana, Dianna Diamante
31 Asprer, Dexter Paul Canda
32 Aswani, Sonia Melwani
33 Atonducan, Earl Emperado
34 Azarcon, Robby Rose Gaut
35 Baguio, Diana Grace Paña
36 Balcanao, Sandra Caluza
37 Balisa, Isra Avila
38 Baluyot, Johanne Salalila
39 Bandola, Editha Gale
40 Baraga, Leonilo Jr Kintanar
41 Barinos, Mila Grace Zarcilla
42 Barrantes, Magnolia Francisco
43 Basco, Melissa Molina
44 Batucan, Rosette Abellanosa
45 Bautista, Gre Pearl Gay Arellano
46 Bautista, Kert Dolfo
47 Bautista, Mary Dawn Cruz
48 Baytec, Merienel Bongao
49 Belaong, Jhazelle Ann Cruz
50 Belgira, Jacqueline Bajar
51 Belmonte, Kathleen Pacer
52 Beltran, Amerigo Raguindin
53 Bernabe, Ciara Anne Marie Mallada
54 Bianes, Dinah Ditalo
55 Biasong, Joseph Klel Sala
56 Biston, Aisha Dideles
57 Blanco, Frederick Mendoza
58 Bonifacio, Clarisse Mae Navoa
59 Boquiren, Marjovi Guillermo
60 Braña, Bernice Bonilla
61 Caagbay, Roshielle Grace Nares
62 Calanza, Excalibur Ayn Cardenas
63 Calina, Wanda Timbreza
64 Capaciete, Ma Janine Kilayko
65 Carpena, Lamphel Saban
66 Carpintero, Nadem Janeo
67 Carrillo, Mharvic Azansa
68 Castulo, Analyn Deiparine
69 Cellon, Maria Anabel Loseño
70 Cervera, Chamaine Lynette Arroyo
71 Chua, Mary Jane Alenzuela
72 Cinco, Jubilee Laranjo
73 Collado, Marizel Braña
74 Corcega, Mary Joy Sison
75 Cordero, Amely Love Escanlar
76 Cornejo, Caroline Guillermo
77 Coronacion, Charles Andrew Mañalac
78 Crespo, John Alex Glenn Otilano
79 Crisostomo, Mari Kristine Agbayani
80 Cruz, Ephraim Timothy Lim
81 Cruz, Ethel Kristine Rellosa
82 Cruz, Leddie Czarina Closa
83 Cruz, Liezel Caliwara
84 Cuanan, Elma Geronimo
85 Culla, Mark Lawrence Gonzales
86 Cunanan, Maja Mirabelle David
87 Dahilan, Maria Josephine Cercado
88 Dalangin, Grace Argente
89 Dancel, Maria Angela Tamayo
90 Dano, Michael Oliver Sigui
91 Daradal, Maria Gina Alegre
92 Daria, Ma Eugenia Dadul
93 Dasugo, Sahlee Venoza
94 David, Cris Anne Mangio
95 Dazo, Deborah Dorothy Batan
96 De Asis, Fay Mapa
97 De Guzman, Haydee Gail Victoria
98 De La Torre, Andrew Enciso
99 De Leon, Jennifer Antoniette De Asis
100 De Los Santos, Jaja Rosendo
101 Degala, Mary Jane Angeles
102 Del Rosario, Christian Jigs Dematera
103 Del Rosario, Donna Leongson
104 Delatado, Jazel Cauilan
105 Delgado, Yzobel Perea
106 Deligero, Fe Veniza Espina
107 Dellosa, Dobbie Joy Marie Adigue
108 Deomano, Cecille Mae Uy
109 Desdir, Gerald Rosanto
110 Deuna, Jacquelyn Lozendo
111 Diego, Sandra Jimenez
112 Dio, Kristine Joy Doctor
113 Dominguez, Dianne Guerzo
114 Duavis, Dickson Columnas
115 Ducon, Angelica Relucio
116 Duldulao, Aimee Lou Gonatice
117 Echano, Kenneth Anne Marcelo
118 Echavez, Cresia Mae Queniahan
119 Encisa, April Puno
120 Escabillas, Rhodora Asonio
121 Escare, Arlene Acub
122 Escorido, Khristine Joy Tampis
123 Espela, Janice Ocampo
124 Eustaquio, Arlene Rose Langbis
125 Fajutag, Evangel Fajilan
126 Falla, Andrew Bajada
127 Faller, Liza Marie Bermoje
128 Felices, Darrel John Romeo
129 Fernandez, Marlin Sotejo
130 Fernandez, Pamela Eunica Pagsuyuin
131 Fernando, Mariefe Paula Mercado
132 Fresco, Cindy Ibangga
133 Gecosala, Anecita Ayo
134 Gemanil, Sherilad Sangoyo
135 Gerona, Anderson Genita
136 Gerona, Annah Shiena Genita
137 Gonzaga, Ellen Zarah Robles
138 Gonzales, Glenesis Espina
139 Gonzales, Irene Durumpili
140 Gonzales, Raymundo Monato
141 Gonzalez, Kristian Martin Aguirre
142 Gurrea, Mechelle Mateum
143 Hatague, Kristein Marie Simtoco
144 Hesni, Maria Shirin Bedia
145 Humiwat, Celine Palaghicon
146 Ibero, Lyra Longog
147 Idagdag, Ryan Roy Derequito
148 Idica, Ana Liza Doles
149 Jamoralin, Jeremiah Ong
150 Jones, Arizona Reyes
151 Jorgio, Mae Michelle Sanchez
152 Jose, Jocelyn Marie Bernardo
153 Joson, Saniel Vergara
154 Kindipan, Arvin Ordillo
155 Kudera, Joan Arias
156 Kulayan, Emeline Guerrero
157 Lacson, Sarrah Esconde
158 Lagarde, Joan Correos
159 Lagman, Claudina Edrosa
160 Landayan, Karla Marrie Andaya
161 Lavadia, Monadel Libardo
162 Leaño, Angelica Aro
163 Lendero, Kenet Bolastig
164 Li, Jacqueline Elevenson
165 Licong, Frances Mae Amper
166 Lizaso, Arlyn Ang
167 Llose, Hilda
168 Looc, Judith Ii Putis
169 Lopez, Aljy Gabriel
170 Lopez, Maria Norriza Cruz
171 Lorico, Donna Marie Arañez
172 Luat, Jim Foresi Quiambao
173 Lucero, Lorena Alvarez
174 Mabaquiao, Joseph Ryan Lubaton
175 Macaspac, Alida Grace Aguilus
176 Mallari, Janice Tandoc
177 Mallillin, Emerson De Asis
178 Mallillin, Leah Cherina Peñaflor
179 Mamuad, Renalyn Ubasa
180 Manalo, May Villanueva
181 Mangahas, Lani Casera
182 Manlangit, Ivy Romero
183 Manzano, Jean Barbara Paumig
184 Maramag, Girlie Morales
185 Marcelino, Diana Fungo
186 Marfil, Nancy Zarate
187 Mariano, Leizel Estipular
188 Mariano, Melanie Montalban
189 Martin, Jane Raguingan
190 Mayames, Melinda Lokingan
191 Maynes, Thea Marie Echevaria
192 Medado, Gwendolyn Alde
193 Medrano, Rouwanna Eloisa Barrameda
194 Melgar, Mary Ann Mission
195 Mendoza, Lynz Lou Camba
196 Merto, Mary Ann Alonzo
197 Mohamad, Nor-Aidja Anguindarat
198 Monce, Ehneias Jaime Cabatcan
199 Moralde, Daryl Hannah Mary Arrubio
200 Morales, Morla Lalas
201 Mordeno, Aisa Tiu
202 Najera, Karen Lucas
203 Nalzaro, Guia Patalinghug
204 Natividad, Mark Lawrence Salgado
205 Nero, Lloyd Banao
206 Novela, Mayflor Peñaverde
207 Obedencia, Aileen Cabanado
208 Obtinalla, Benjie Librano
209 Occiano, Cyrill Villaflor
210 Okamura, Hanna Mia Macaranas
211 Omapas, Aileen Bonifacio
212 Omega, Donna Belle Kapuno
213 Ortega, Leslie Molato
214 Ortizano, Mafel Chatto
215 Padua, Reina Tayoba
216 Palmiery, Olga Ibre
217 Panbeyi, Meysam Caranay
218 Paningbatan, Rhea Silao
219 Pari-An, Analiza Ople
220 Pasaoa, Reynard Landingin
221 Pate, Louella Serran
222 Penuliar, Venus Mercado
223 Peralta, Lianfe Cadag
224 Perez, Cherryl Paloma
225 Perez, Gisselle Anne Bearis
226 Peria, Persei Mizara Lucero
227 Perolino, Wennilou Obena
228 Peñacerrada, Jesse Tolentino
229 Pida, Maria Victoria Compuesto
230 Pilapil, Mary Ann Redoblado
231 Pilar, Jean Pelandas
232 Poniente, Leah Ann Bawalan
233 Poso, Ma Barbara Ledesma
234 Pulmano, Victoria Cabilatazan
235 Punzalan, Jennifer Layug
236 Puzon, Franz Joshua Del Alcazar
237 Quintos, Isanel Angela Aquino
238 Quiozon, Wildelle Hope Llamado
239 Ramos, Crystal Uchi
240 Ramos, Mathew Napiza
241 Ramos, Xavier Bartolome
242 Rayo, Gloria Pasagui
243 Rayos, Juan Carlo Que
244 Rebudal, Sheila Marie Collo
245 Rebultan, Beverly May Fernandez
246 Reyno, Harieth Joy Abonita
247 Riel, Emary Bernardo
248 Robles, Ana Patricia Torres
249 Robles, Liobelle Ochoa
250 Rodil, Ma Veronica Riego
251 Rodriguez, Danielle Ericka Anne De Leon
252 Rustia, Jonathan Nogot
253 Sabuga, Eula Leeliz Sombilon
254 Salagoste, Armila Castillo
255 Salapare, Ma Kristel De La Peña
256 Salazar, Dinah Valencia
257 Salcedo, Cherrylyn Cabasag
258 San Luis, Reynaldo Ii Gorospe
259 Sanchez, Krishan Tan
260 Sancon, Christian Lyn Patricio
261 Santos, Anna Marie Manuod
262 Sarmiento, Rizza Anne Bernabe
263 Sasani, Zeinab Hailar
264 Segovia, Sherwin Jasper Capicenio
265 Sensano, Jonathan Charles Sy
266 Sinohin, Rochelle Escalante
267 Solano, Edbert Palsimon
268 Suarez, James Louie Basco
269 Sucaldito, Eddie Marañon
270 Sumague, Jeffrey Montoya
271 Sy, Philip John Tiu
272 Tabia, April Harvey Dela Cruz
273 Taccad, Ayla Joy Cerveza
274 Tagaoc, Dayce Delos Santos
275 Talavera, May Ann Go
276 Tan, Donnabelle Montevirgen
277 Tan-Manzano, Timotea Zarah Flora Losa
278 Tancio, Marie Grace Malaya
279 Tandingan, Melanie Sumbillo
280 Tantiado, Jayhardt Daluping
281 Trias, Aleriza Marya Luna
282 Tuppil, Maria Ellen Dulnuan
283 Ungab, Jingry Luza
284 Uy, Marvin Allen Ty
285 Valentin, Natalie Gail Icasiano
286 Valero, James John Morales
287 Velasco, Jemabel Biag
288 Verzosa, Elizabeth Taylan
289 Vicente, Ma Geraldine Rhose Pitiquen
290 Villaflor, Mary Ann Grace Lubo
291 Villamante, Geraldine Alda Sapnu
292 Villanueva, Frances Mae Obafial
293 Villaver, Arcturus Win Nyo Win
294 Villegas, Arvin Paulo
295 Wadwasen, Rose Moyaen
296 Yasa, Rene Iv Labella

Remembering The Turnspit Dog

'With eagerness he still does forward tend,
Like Sisyphus, whose journey has no end.'

- anonymous poem about a turnspit dog called Fuddle.

Forever and ago dogs have helped us fulfill our needs. They hunted for us -- locating, flushing out or retrieving game. They have herded domestic animals, pulled sleds, yanked vermin out of holes from burrowing and eating root vegetables under the ground. They have guarded and protected us. Other breeds were even developed, such as the lapdog, not solely for companionship, but to sit on the lap to attract fleas away from the owner.

Before animal rights became an issue, dogs were expected to earn their keep. The idea that a dog had a right to exist other than fill the needs of the owner would have been regarded as well, rather peculiar.

There was once a small, hardy little dog. His legs were short and his body long with a coat of soft golden hair. He was forced into a wooden wheel about 2’-6” in diameter and had to keep moving it round and round. It was fixed that way, or else he would loose his balance. His job was to save cooks from the effort of turning meat on a spit by hand.

The wheel was mounted to the wall above a fireplace and connected to the pulley of the spit by an endless chain. As he dutifully ran churning the wheel, he endured hot and grueling work as he turned the roasting meat. When a larger slab of meat was on the spit, the more struggle he had to keep the wheel turning.

In larger kitchens such as inns where a roast was needed every day, two dogs might have been used. They would take turns each day. It has been said that these dogs knew their day to work in the turnspit. Their lonely eyes dark and wet from their painful thankless existence. The turnspit dog is where the anecdote supposedly comes from ‘every dog has his day’. There is a story of a turnspit dog who once went missing -- fleeing out the door -- upon his owner uttering the word ‘wheel’. He was chased down and forced back into the kitchen. Sometimes people took these dogs to church and set them under the pew below to keep their feet warm during long sermons.

Poor little dog. A very common practice from a time not that long ago. Now scarcely anyone has even heard of his sad quandary. Cooks who worked at inns were said to be very ill-tempered and would yell, scold and even beat the dogs if the wheel began to slow down as their limbs grew weary.

For three centuries this little dog was forced to work day in and day out. Then allowed to pass into extinction once his services were no longer needed. His plight not pitied. His head not patted. His drudgery and effort unnoticed.

So I hold a candle to you, little turnspit dog, with a softened heart and remember you from a day gone by.

'Whiskey' is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog.

First and last images from the Abergavenny Museum in Wales; Illustration from The Book of Days.

Lilly Reich: "Behind every great man, there is a great woman."

Lilly Reich played an enormous role in the development of Mies van der Rohe’s designs. Though she has been credited in a few scholarly journals, we have largely forgotten her name today. Google any piece of furniture by Mies, and you will usually see his name as the creator alone.

It is interesting to note that Mies did not fully develop any furniture designs successfully before or after his professional and personal relationship with Lilly Reich.

Barcelona Chair

Brno Chair
MR Chair

Reich co-designed these chairs with Mies.

After all, architecture and industrial design were considered men’s work. There were male as well as female practitioners, and yet we know mainly of the men who created things. Is it a question of quality? Were women just not as technically inclined as their male counterparts? Was it Mies name that brought validity to Reich’s work? Was she disregarded because she was sharing a bed with him?

Born in Berlin to a well-to-do family in 1885, Reich began her career as a textile and women’s clothing designer -- an acceptable trade for a woman in those days. In 1912, she became a member of the Deutsche Werkbund which was an organization dedicated to the promotion of German made products and designs and sponsored by the government. Had she not studied there and seen the wide range of activities open to women, then we might have not been graced with the legacy of her designs.

Reich flourished as a textile, clothing and furniture designer. She was also an architect and exhibition designer. Her achievements are matched by few women contemporaries of her time such as Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray. In 1920, she was appointed the first female director of Deutsche Werkbund. She is known for her collaboration with Mies from 1925 until 1938 – but his fame overshadowed hers.

In 1927, the couple collaborated on “The Velvet and Silk Café” for The Women’s Fashion Exhibition held in Berlin.

The space was defined by supple silks and velvets in the color of gold suspended from rods giving the effect of flowing into one another.

In 1929, Mies was chosen to design the German Pavilion for the International Exhibition in Barcelona. He chose Reich as his co-collaborator. Reich was responsible for the curvilinear forms and vivid colors of Mies work. She brought sophistication to her work.

Reich continually explored the visual as well as tactile qualities. She explored the contrasts between polished metal and textured surfaces.

Reich was responsible for the cane seat and back on the MR Chair. (This is not exactly the right image – I’m still looking for it.)

In 1930, when Mies was chosen to head Bauhaus, he took Reich with him to head the weaving studio and interiors workshop. She also became the first woman (at a time when few women were teaching) to teach interior design which included also furniture design.

When Mies left Germany in 1937, she continued to manage his personal and business affairs. An absolute professional, she was talented and she was keen. She remained indispensable to him long after his departure to the US. She took care of his office, of his legal disputes and saved all the drawings he left behind. She helped his family financially – his ex-wife and three children who had been left behind. During their partnership, Reich reportedly bowed to his authority leaving the overall concepts to him while compulsively attending to refinements and details.

In September 1939, Reich visited Mies in the United States. She and Mies spent a few weeks together. She wanted to stay, but Mies did very little to persuade her to remain. She managed to get back to Berlin at the height of the war where she faithfully began a long and dutiful correspondence with Mies. But she never saw him again.

Table: Tubular steel and beech veneer over brick plywood, (1931).Manufactured by Shea & Latone, Inc., Pennsylvania. MoMA.

Reich is credited for this enameled tubular steel and wicker chair. It was this design that was altered for the Villa Tugendhat to be used as a dining chair.
(Top image from "Collaborations: The Private Life of Modern Architecture" by Beatriz Colomina, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, September 1999. Above cafe image from "Lilly Reich: Designer and Arcitect" by Mathilda McQuaid, Museum of Modern Art and Abrams, 1996)

The Salver: A Tray for All Seasons (especially this one)

A silver salver makes a lovely receptacle for keys, cell phone, change and, perhaps even a place for all those pesky bills that seem to pile up. But especially this time of the year, it is nice to set on a table to hold all those holiday cards from friends and family -- even those annoying ones from senders gasconading about their "wonderful" accomplishments. Those can certainly be buried down at the bottom of the pile. Salvers can be used for arrangements of Christmas balls with sprigs of fir or bittersweet branches. Or even as a tray to display a miniature Christmas tree. When guests come over it is quite handy to set out a salver filled with sugared fruit, chocolates and cookies. What about in a powder room to fan out fancy monogrammed linen towels? Or on top of a dresser to hold those big chunky necklaces that never fit in a jewelry box. Truly, I am not good with these ideas. Suggestions are most welcome.

We know salvers today as a type of tray used for holding refreshments or hors d'oeuvres. I find their handy use has largely been forgotten. One can pick up a silver-plated salver for a song at an estate sale or on eBay today in this market.

The term salver was said to have been coined around 1661 in the second edition of Thomas Blount's Glossographia or, a dictionary interpreting the hard words of whatsoever language, now used in our refined English tongue. It defined around 11,000 unusual words, and was the largest English dictionary when it was first published in 1656.

Blount defined the salver as a new fashioned piece of "wrought plate broad and flat, with foot underneath, and is used in giving Beer or other liquid thing, to save the Carpit and Cloathes from drops."

Primarily used in England, the earliest salvers in the seventeenth century were thin-gauge metal plates raised on a central foot. They were created for the table top presentation of porringers, caudle cups, wine glasses and deserts. They prevented drips from staining the fine linen covering the table. The best examples were elaborately decorated with chased or embossed images of acanthus leaves, flowers and fruit around the rim.

The idea for this handy domestic item spread to America where John Coney of Boston produced a few in the late 1600s. No doubt he had an eye for modishness. (Collection of the MET)

By the end of the century, heavier metal was used. Sometimes the central foot was detachable so the salver could then be used as a tray. As salvers became more popular they were often presented as commemoratives from the royal court to a loyal servant for a job well done.

By the first quarter of the eighteenth century the central foot ceased to exist and was replaced by four little feet often in a bracket form, offering more balance that its predecessors. Silversmiths became creative and began making salvers in the shapes of squares, octagonals or even octafoils. Rims were molded or applied and the bowls were deep with convex or concave sides. Armorials were often engraved in the centre.
George I silver gilt salver by Augustin Courtauld, London, 1723. Fifteen-sided with a molded rim and raised on three pad feet. The center is engraved with a contemporary armorial within a Baroque cartouche. Sotheby's (NYC) October 2007 (sold: $139,000).

Late George I sterling salver, London, 1726, maker likely Jacob Foster. Pleasant floriform body engraved in the center with coat of arms. This time with six tapered feet. Estimated $600 - $800 and this lovely thing went for over $29,000. Skinner, April 2005. (The greasy fingerprints in the photo are bugging me.)

An interesting English sterling salver in triangular form with a rococo border and center armorial engraving by George Hindmarsh, 1737 – 1738. It has little scrolled feet. Pook & Pook April 2007.

In 1734, an inventory was taken of the estate of an Abraham de Peyster of New York. He was a merchant and among the numerous articles he had in his possession were ten silver salvers. The fashion for using salvers in America was well established indeed. A shell and molded boarder was the height of fashion in the 1730s. At this time, there were not very many silversmiths in America making salvers as they were busy producing tankards, bowls, beakers, porringers, and the like. It was English silver that was most prevalent in colonial America. Merchants often instructed ship captains or sent agents to England to procure silver goodies.

By Joseph Crouch, 1759. Available at iFranks.

Later in the century, salvers became handy to serve tea or coffee, protecting a tea table from spills and rings created by moisture. Many times tea tables were created to rest underneath a salver that fit the top perfectly.

During the Victorian times, it held letters, visiting cards, and such. Butlers would present the lady or man of the house these letters on a smaller form of a salver called waiters. Salvers have feet, waiters do not. Waiters are smaller in size only about generally less than 8 inches in diameter. Salvers can be around 15 inches in diameter.

Victorian sterling salver with a floral and bead border, engraved decoration and three cast ball and claw feet. Maker unknown but has the date and hallmarks for London 1899.

An Aesthetic Movement sterling salver marked Dominick & Haff, Newark and New York. 1855 - 1865. Nice hammered finish with eight applied copper and bronze plants, insects and lizard around rim. Raised on each corner by four eagle claw and ball feet. Cowan's Auctions, June 2004.

Japonisme. Circa 1900, by Whiting. Another nice hammered finish with a design of two sea turtles swimming amidst sea kelp. It has a short gallery no mention of what kind of feet. I am curious as I love this piece. Obviously, so did someone else as it fetched a price well over estimate of $500-$700. $14,950 at Cowan's in February 2007.

S. Kirk & Son sterling salver, round with repoussé floral border and plate with foliate wreath cartouche and circular decoration supported by four winged paw feet, 1903-1925. Brunk Auctions January, 2008.

On one November day at Skinner in 2005, bidding on a particular sterling salver by the New York maker Myer Myers opened at $15,000. It was reported to have a robustly molded edge. The saleroom floor was full and eager, but a flurry of phone activity caused the demand for the piece to increase. One phone caller won the piece for $99,500.

Yes, the silver salver was used to serve superiors, but one today can most certainly get the "look" with a $25 to $50 twentieth century silver plated salver.

Happy Birthday to....

...the most beautiful creation of science.

December 11, 2008

A Victorian Essential… the Spoon Warmer???

A Victorian invention, of course, considered one of the essential “fancies” to every well-run household, the spoon warmer was very popular. One of a variety of articles created for the demanding and expanding middle class. Silver was seen as a measure of social status and the status conscious were eager to display their new found wealth. There could never be too many objects, you know, as dining rooms were meant to impress. So many glistening objects piled up on sideboards and dining tables, their legs must have quivered under the weight of it all. Spoon warmers were created in the days before central heating when breakfast consisted of hot porridge and the dinners needed to remain warm. Ceilings were high and their rooms drafty. Grasping a warm spoon must have seemed comforting. So little is known about spoon warmers today and not many people care, but it was an essential of its time. How could a proper house function if a warm dish suffered the affront of a cold stuffing spoon?

Most spoon warmers are made from silver plate. They were filled with boiling water and left on the table. All serving spoons were placed in it until needed, enabling them to remain warm before scooping into some rich dish.

There is considerable variation in design, some quite plain and others detailed and whimsical. The most common form is the nautilus shell. Other spoon warmers continue the theme of the sea taking the shape of an oyster shell, a buoy, a barrel and even the Greek god Triton, though I have never laid eyes on the latter, many nestled in a base elaborately embellished to look like rocks entwined with small seashells and seaweed.
My grandmother had an incredible one in the shape of a swan, I am told. The wings curving over the back hiding the slot for the spoon. I never had the chance to see it. Sadly, both she and the swan-shaped spoon warmer were gone before I came along.

They were made in huge numbers by the English but by only one maker here in America, Reed and Barton. Not all spoon warmers are marked so it makes it difficult to determine the maker.

A buoy complete with an anchoring chair fastening it to the rocky base. Shoddy image, my apologies. I took this from artfact. I have this one but it is packed away in storage.

This is the most typical spoon warmer. Christies (NYC) sold this Edwardian version by William Hutton & Sons, London, made 1904 in July 2002.

Alderfer Auction sold this one December 2001. Similar as above but with and etched decoration. Unmarked.

Also from my own collection, Atkin and Brothers last quarter 19th century.

For the lucky Irish, Charlton Hall Galleries, Inc. sold this in April 2006. It has three leaf clovers. Circa 1900 by Mappin & Webb. (My mother has this one...)

In the form of a shell resting on a fish. Available from Goldsmith & Perris.

Atkin Brothers, circa 1885, unfortunately sold by Estate Silver Co. Ltd - Anthony Mammon.

I am crazy for this one! I have one of an oyster shell but it is no where a fabulous as this. I love how the little clam sits as if almost alert wanting to say something on a rocky base. There is engraving of seaweed around the opening for the spoon. See more views of it here on Wax Antiques to see the detail of the seaweed on the base. No apparent maker. Circa 1880. Someone has already bought this.

Any turtle fans? Brunk Auctions sold this in May 2003.

A dolphin resting on crested waves. Sold at David Lay Frics Auction House, Alverton, Penzance, in January 2007. I don't like the patina on this one. The silver looks dipped at a later time.

Cannon Spoon Warmer By Elkington Made By Elkington & Co., 1880 (personal collection).

" I Dream of Genie". (What a sexist show, by the way). Available at iFranks circa 1870, by the London maker William Hutton. Note the decorated handle and reed borders around the lip and foot. Maker unknown, c. 1880, in the form of a cornucopia. Available from New Orleans Silversmiths.

Another goodie from Wax Antiques. Circa 1870.

Another one I'm crazy for. It is in the shape of a gondola with two oars resting on the base. Though the form reminds me more of a Viking ship. And the quality of this piece is reportedly particularly good. Circa 1880. Sold, ARGH!, from Wax Antiques in London.

In the form of an old shoe. I believe still available from Estate Silver Co. Ltd - Anthony Mammon. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the idea of sticking a spoon in something that is supposed to look like an old smelly crusty shoe?

My favorite designer… Christopher Dresser (1834-1904). The true father of modern design created this very mod Spoon Warmer in 1881. It has an ebony handle and made by Hukin & Heath, Birmingham. (I snagged this image from artnet.) This is my most favorite. Kind of reminds me of a spaceship.

In our efficient warm homes today the need for spoon warmers has passed but there are a number of different ways they can still be used – tucked into a book shelf, displayed on a fireplace mantel, stuffed with sprigs of spring flowers. An interesting and relatively inexpensive oddity to collect.

TH Robsjohn-Gibbings Limos chairs in natural ceruse finish and a breakfast table by De Coene Freres, Belgium, c. 1930. Stuart Weitzman Nuhyper boots.