Treasure Box Wednesday: Looking Ahead to Summer

As spring gives way to summer, we look ahead to warmer weather, vibrant flowers and well-earned vacations. For the thrifter, however, the summer months are not always the best. Thrift store shelves become increasingly bare as spring cleaning yields to summer leisure. Yet today, I don't think you'll be disappointed, since there's always something to talk about in the Treasure Box.

I'd discovered-- really by accident-- a painting on Ebay which pretty much demanded I bid. And perhaps it was due to the impending summer and the lure of the gentle outdoors that meant the usual competition was nowhere to be seen online.

You see here my purchase, a full-fledged Victorian painting done by a "G. Verdier"...

And I imagine with that full view, you've also noticed the painting's unusual and delightfully humorous element. The lady, who looks rather pleased at whatever the outcome of events has been, smiles hopefully at the horizon as the Cupid lies-- asleep? knocked out cold?--- legs akimbo in an upset of roses and arrows and overturned furniture.

Whatever has happened, it's been a serious ordeal for the chubby god of love...

So this has been a real delight for me this week. My only real thrifted goody came in the form of this trio of chicks... Or The Andrews Sisters, if you will. :)

They'll be great for Easter.

Other little joys involve the beauty you just can't buy. The garden is just beginning its summer blooms, and I'll give you a small preliminary tour. Like Big Red here... the first of the roses original to my house.

And here we have a ruffled columbine which planted itself in a compost heap a few years back, and which was transplanted to a little better location...

I don't know what this pink groundcover is, and I don't honestly recall planting it last year, but it's doing marvelously...

A previous year's investment of foxglove means this year, I have foxglove aplenty. I love their impossible-looking spires...

The yard itself looks a bit rough around the edges, I admit. Some of my topiaries haven't made it and need to be removed, and some of the roses need a serious trim. There's still a lot of work to be done in this tiny space...

But as day turns to night, the colors just continue...

I hope you're all having a beautiful summer so far.
  • And for folks who enjoy a chuckle, you may appreciate the gardening tales on my humor blog, Of Cabbages and Kings. Click here for that.
And as always, thanks to each of you for stopping by and hanging out with me. I really do appreciate your visits.

Confused about R. Atkinson Fox? Parrish the Thought!

Around the 1930s, artist Maxfield Parrish's advertising art, calendar art and decorative prints for the home became so popular, a number of imitators came onto the scene. One of these, Chester K. Van Nortwick, we've talked about before. (Click here to check out that post.) But one of the more well-known of the Parrish "imitators" was R. Atkinson Fox. And Fox proved to be a versatile and prolific artist in his own right.

Today, with the prices for early Parrish prints in the hundreds of dollars, collectors have turned to the works of R. Atkinson Fox to capture a similar decorative look and feel-- often at more affordable prices. I've managed to get Fox prints for as little as $5-$65 at flea markets, antique malls and those rare times they show up at thrift stores. Antique shops most often will price them at around $125, though they can be seen well up to $300, the common price for a Parrish. (And no, I do not buy them then--as you know, I am cheap.)

The subject matter of R. Atkinson Fox prints touches on many of the elements we're familiar with in Parrish paintings. The craggy orange mountains in the background... the paintbrush shaped trees... the "enchanted" girls lounging in magical settings... the skies and water of amazing blue.

Vendors can often be seen implying a Fox or other imitator is a Maxfield Parrish (I've lost count the amount of times I've seen a Van Nortwick or Robert Wood listed as, "Fox? Parrish?" and sporting a hefty price tag, as well!)

But you can see a difference between the typical Parrish print and those of R. Atkinson Fox. Parrish's work has a bit more interaction with the characters in the scene. They tend to seem more expressive and engaged with telling a story, whereas Fox's girls tend to have less expression and interaction, are often solitary and appear to be there more for aethetic purposes rather than the emotion they convey. Often, too, they are seen more at a distance than Parrish's characters.

Here for instance is Parrish's The Lute Players...

And this is Fox's Sunset Dreams...

Notice the Greek toga-styled costuming of the girls in Parrish's print, while Fox's girl is in dress typical of the 1920s/30s. This isn't always a way to tell them apart, but it's a useful cue.

You can see the use of distance at work here in Fox's The Valley of Enchantment...

This picture is more about the beauty of the garden and the figures with the pigeons than it is about telling a particular story.

In additon to the "enchanted girl" prints which are my personal favorites, Fox painted hundreds of landscapes, rural scenes, cows, dogs, horses, portraits, western art, hunting scenes, and historical figures.

And for Fox collectors, one of the most intriguing-- and challenging-- facets of his work is that a portion of it does not even appear under his own name. The book R. Atkinson Fox and William M. Thompson Identification and Price Guide by Patricia L. Gibson lists a number of pseudonyms under which Fox painted-- sometimes at the publisher's request to make it appear the publisher had a wider range of artists working for them. And sometimes simply because Fox didn't care for how the painting had turned out and didn't want his name on it.

Known Fox pseudonyms include:

  • J.H. Banks
  • G. Blanchard Carr or B. Carr
  • John Colvin or J. Colvin
  • Arthur DeForest or simply DeForest
  • Dupre
  • Elmer Lewis
  • Muson, H. Musson, Ed. Musson or Edw. Musson
  • George W. Turner
  • Wainright, Charles Wainright, Chs. Wainright, C.N. Wainwright, C. Wainright, C. Wain, F. Wainright, Thos. Wainright or simply Wainwright
  • George White, George W. White, George White
  • George Wood

Note, George Hood, Robert Wood and George Hacker are NOT R. Atkinson Fox pseudonyms-- they are separate artists who often employ a similar style.

Confusing, I know!!

For more information on R. Atkinson Fox, check out the R. Atkinson Fox Society here. They're an avid group of collectors and are very helpful in identifying true Fox prints.

And with that-- and hopefully little more knowledge about one of the popular artists of the 1930s-- I leave you today... And we sail off into the sunset...

  • Or here, to see last Sunday's post on the Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale.

Have a happy Memorial Day and a picture perfect week.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Thrifting that Packs a Punch

So the Great Milk Glass Gift Basket o' 2008 has found its piece de resistance... The excellent punch bowl set as shown above. There are 12 cups total (just two pictured above) and it came with all of the cup clips, as well. I found this at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store in North Versailles.

I do believe this is going to be a HUGE hit with the lady who will be receiving it, because she missed out on one such punch bowl not long ago-- and was kicking herself for not acting sooner. So I think this'll be big... BIG!

(Boy, do I LOVE gifting!!)

I also found one other gift: two Charlie Brown Welch's jelly glasses for my friend's brother who collects them.

He loves Snoopy-- I mean, it's hard NOT to like that multi-faceted beagle-- and I know he doesn't have these, so I feel I'm batting two-for-two this week in terms of gift thrifting.

Now for me, I found two pieces of McCoy-style pottery...

THIS one, this is perfect. Not a nick, a scratch, anything on it. It came from the Salvation Army thrift store. I love the streamlined art deco-nouveau feel to it...

And I also found this Haeger vase, reminiscent of a smooth seashell. It came from the Good Samaritan...

Lastly in the Treasure Box this week, we have a couple of pretty hankies...

And a really thoughtful bunch of goodies from England, which were sent to me by the owners of TheThriftShopper, Bud and Cookie, who know my appreciation of things from the U.K.. Thanks a bunch, dear people!

  • So if you missed Sunday's post on the fun that was the Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale, click here.
  • And for those in the Western Pennsylvania area, I've updated my Antique Shops list with new information for LeMix-- They've now opened their basement level. Click here for that.
Have a great rest of your week, friends, and I will see you in the general Sunday viscinity!

Hats Off to the Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale

Yesterday was the annual Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale, and the weather was fine and the competition fierce. I put on my comfiest walking shoes, hooded sweatshirt and jacket to protect against the morning damp and parked in a central location, so carting treasures might be just a bit easier.

With this good early start in the morning, you'd think I'd have been alone in my quest. Ah, but a home selling a wide array of tempting Victorian prints and paintings proved to be just a tantalus to yours truly...

A man and a woman (not together) were there before the sale officially started and were already pulling everything from the boxes they could carry-- dozens of pieces, and protecting their position at the artwork like famished birds of prey. The man eyed each piece with a jewelers loop.

Amusingly, when I did finally get to one of the boxes and looked at the crumbs left behind, the man turned to me as he finished demolishing his box and said, "Is there anything good in there?"

Oh, why yes, let me just fork it over to you, sir. I am not here to shop myself. :)

(I didn't say that, by the way. Not my style, as you know.) I'm guessing he had to have been pretty darned "In the Zone", though, not to have seen the illogic of his question.

Anyway, I was quick to move along-- because the day was young, and it wasn't as if there weren't other lovely things to be had! Like two marvelous vintage hats...

This red one was, according to the owner, her favorite-- and mine, too! All the red velvet, the delicate rosebuds and leaves... It was entirely too fun to pass up. The second hat I got came in a hatbox...

I belive this address would be where "Candyrama" currently is in downtown Pittsburgh-- but I could be wrong. That area of town has suffered a bit, as shopping malls with free parking have drawn shoppers into the suburbs and away from downtown. I love thinking of this area as having been filled at one time with high-end hat shops. And talk about your high-end hat!...

Hat in hand, I trudged the muddy streets, into garages, on porches and down neighborhood alleys perusing the goodies of the good folks around. So many times I spotted things that would be great for SOMEONE-- just not needed by me. Like the person selling gallons of unused interior paint... Or the man looking to unload a retro bedroom set... Or folks with whole Pirates bobblehead collections or comic books. All of these things, I found myself wishing would find good homes... Would connect with that right person who would see them and feel overjoyed at their terrific luck...

I imagine there was a lot of that going on yesterday. Or at least I like to think so.

I did a bit of connecting myself. The church on Mifflin Avenue was having a rummage sale...

And there I found a few fun things. Like this pastoral satin photo holder (I'd gotten one of these before for my friend Scoobie who has a French theme going on in her decor.)

And these excellent 40s and 50s homemaking and recipe books at a quarter a piece...

I think I got a quarter's worth out of them already, because in one of the cookbooks, I learned something incredibly helpful. There pictured on one of the pages were my Hazel Atlas Moderntone Platonite dishes-- and best of all, they were utilizing the "mystery piece" I have, that I'd originally thought was some alternate styled sugar bowl. It turns out, it's a SOUP bowl. As shown here!

I feel like so much of my life involves piecing together little mysteries like this. And ya know what? I love every minute of it.

I moved on to the other side of Braddock Avenue, and even more sales were to be found. A book sale inside a local school netted me T.H. White's Mistress Masham's Repose (I LOVE T.H. White-- a great humorist who I think is a bit under-recognized currently. This story expands on Johnathan Swift's Gullivers' Travels, as Liliputians have vacated Swift's story and have taken up residence in a little girl's backyard.) I also found this nice Victorian novel with an Art Nouveau cover.

Way, way far along the route and close to Frick Park, I uncovered these excellent 50s aluminum tumblers-- six of them for $5. Amusingly, two antique shops I've seen recently have them running for about $5 a cup!

They're going to be excellent as drinking glasses to go with either my Hazel Atlas set, or my carnival glass. Woo and hoo!

And lastly, as several hours in the great outdoors was proving a bit rough on this allergy-prone gal, and the pollens were a bit over-enthusastically joinining me on my journies, I found something I'd been hoping for for a while-- at a good price and in good condition, that is. An alabaster lamp!

All, and all, it was a really great day. I'm sore today, from hours of trudging up hill and drive and front steps and back again. But it certainly was the kind of fun that makes it well worth getting up at the brack o'dawn.

To Jill, who had emailed me saying she might attend the sale, too-- Here's hoping you found some great treasures, and I'm sorry I didn't spy you along the route!

Thanks a bunch, dear friends, for coming along on my yard saling journey this week!

Treasure Box Wednesday: The Stuff Fairy Tales Are Made Of

While the Treasure Box doesn't exactly overflow this Wednesday, there were a few Goodwill finds that were too marvelous to pass up, and I'd like to share with you today. Mainly, this week's stash includes three fairy tale books from the "My Book House" series, published in the 1930s...

The covers, a bit worn, are still magical and vivid. (I only wish the Goodwill employee hadn't put the price sticker right on the paper illustration on the cover... It became impossible to remove them without damaging the picture, despite my careful attentions.) There were a good ten books there, but due to individual pricing, I chose three of my favorites. The volumes I selected were "The Magic Garden," "Through Fairy Halls," and "Up One Pair of Stairs."

The stories themselves are grouped by topic... For instance, "Through Fairy Halls" follows the fairy theme through Russian folktakes, Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, Grimm's and Hans Christian Andersen's works, and other pieces. I thought you all might appreciate some of the delicate little colored illustrations inside. Like this marvelous Children of Lir...

Not to mention the dancing maidens...

Flocks of fairies...

And illuminated verse...

Aside from the books, in the Treasure Box this week was.... yup, one more grape patterned piece of milkglass for the largest milkglass gift basket in the world. (Or at least it seems that way!) And also a cool hobnail bottle with stopper because I just thought it had style...

Apologies to you all for a bit of a short post this Wednesday. I haven't gotten out thrifting much on the weekends-- my whole city, it seems, is under construction! :) To paraphrase that old Stealers Wheels song, there are closings to the East of me, detours in the north, here I am, stuck in the middle with you'. :)
  • HOWEVER-- for those who missed last Sunday's post, you can enter a world of stage, silent screen and one seriously intriguing postcard correspondence by clicking here.
Otherwise, I hope to see you in the general Sunday-ish timeframe where we'll, weather permitting, journey through the Regent Square Neighborhood Yardsale!

Yesterday's Starlets: Actress Postcards from Stage to Silent Screen

Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett...they're just a few of the leading ladies that have delighted us on the big screen in recent years... Actresses who have won awards, fame, and fans. But where will they be 100 years in the future? Will we still know their names, recognize their faces, remember the works that made them great?

One weekend adventure at Denise's Antique Mall in Indiana, PA, I stumbled upon a number of postcards from the early 1900s. On them were beautiful hand-tinted photographs of actresses from the British stage and the early silver screen, identified only by a vague name at the base of each card. I started wondering if these thespians had been entirely lost to time... and whether it was possible to uncover them again.

So today, I thought I'd share with you just a little bit of that detective work.

Meet "Miss Augarde."

She was the first in my stack of postcards, and the first whose history I'd determined to tackle. And it proved to be a great way to start, too, because a simple Google search revealed not only her first name-- Adrienne-- but actual newspaper reviews of one of her 1912 performances.

This one is for The Rose Maid:

"A liberal backing of pretty girls in handsome frocks..." Heh. You just don't see that sort of phrasing in film marketing these days, do you?

Here is the list of cast members...

According to the Internet Broadway Database, Adrienne Augarde performed in several musical comedies and operettas including, The Duchess of Dantzic (January to April of 1905), Peggy Machree (December 1908-January 1909), The Dollar Princess (August 1909 to May 1910), and The Rose Maid (April 1912 to September 1912).

She was originally under contract with Oswald Stoll in America, but then joined Joseph Brooks of Brooks & Dingwall in 1908, says the New York Times. Her performance in The Rose Maid was described as follows:
"Miss Augard may be relied upon to play and sing the ingenue roles sweetly and prettily, and here, as the Rose Maid, she is generally happy in the sentimental ditties that fall to her lot... Miss Augard and Mr. Sheffield please in the very charming duet, 'Two Little Hearts,' and Miss Augarde, with an excellent backing from the comlely chorus, wins approval in 'Tip Your Hat to the American Millionairess.' Her later make-up however, is not an improvement to her own natural attractiveness..."

A web site on Edwardian era postcards gives her death in March 1913, just a few months after completion of The Rose Maid. As far as I can tell, she starred in both Peggy Machree and The Rose Maid, and worked alongside lead actress Lily Elsie in The Dollar Princess and with Kitty Gordon in The Duchess of Dantzic. She may have also performed in a play called The New Aladdin, but I can't confirm that, and it's possible that her name has been confused over time with one Amy Augarde, acting around the same time period.

If you'd like to see more photos of Miss Augarde, a site called "For the Love of Opera Gloves" has a nice little pictorial gallery here.

The next card we have to discuss today is of Lily Damita...

Talk about giving Mae West a run for her money-- Dig that flashy jacket she's sporting! Does that look not say "early Hollywood"?

Lili (with an 'i' instead of a 'y') Damita, as she is listed in the Internet Movie Database, appeared in over thirty films and productions over the 20s and 30s. Born Liliane Marie Madelaine Carre in 1904 in Aquitaine, France, Lili lived to a ripe old age of 90, dying of Alzheimer's Disease on March 21, 1994 in Palm Beach, Florida. She married Hollywood hero Errol Flynn in 1935 and they had one child, Sean. She and Flynn divorced in 1942.

You can view a rather excellent photo gallery here of the fair Lili here.

This is Pauline Garon...

Pauline's career spanned the 1920s to the 40s, and her credits with the Internet Movie Database include a startling 94 pictures and productions. Pauline was born in Montreal, Canada in 1901, and was the youngest of 11 children. She attended and was schooled at Sacred Heart Convent in Montreal beginning at age 13. By age 20 she left her home in Canada to become an actress, and her work includes Broadway stage productions, silent screen pictures and even talkies.

She was considered an important discovery of Cecil B. Demille-- in fact, she played in his production of Adam's Rib-- and her career ranged from starring and supporting roles, declining eventually to bit parts with few lines. She died on August 30, 1965 in San Bernadino, California of a "brain disorder."

Now this is Curigwen Lewis-- looking strikingly like Drew Barrymore to me here...

She's a bit later in timeframe than the other actresses, but given she'd played Alice in Wonderland (as shown here) and I've been a fan of Alice since a child, I couldn't resist including her in the mix.

According to her grand-daughter, Curigwen was born in Wales in 1905, and grew up in Llandrindod Wells. She went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when she was sixteen. The production of Alice was said to be around 1936 in Bristol, and then went on tour.

The Internet Movie Database indicates Curigwen Lewis' work ranged from stage and screen to television, with performances in Pride and Prejudice in 1938, to television episodes in 1969. She was married to Andrew Cruickshank, Scottish supporting actor on the long-running BBC TV series "Dr. Finlay's Casebook" (1962-71). Curigwen appeared in two episodes of this series. She and Cruickshank had one son and two daughters.

Julia Neilson was born June 12, 1868 in London, England and died in 1957 in the very same city...

She performed on the London stage in productions of As You Like it, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, and a number of W.S. Gilbert plays. She and her actor husband Fred Terry had two children, Phyllis and Dennis, who also went on to act. The husband and wife team additionally became the producers of a number of plays over a thirty year period, several of which they performed in themselves.

They were definitely considered "news," too. A December 21, 1910 article highlights their arrival in the States.

Fred Terry and Julia Neilson Among Those Sailing To-day on Teutonic

Among the passengers sailing to-day on the White Star liner Teutonic and who will enjoy their Christmas dinners in mid-ocean are Fred Terry and Miss Julia Neilson, recently seen in New York in The Scarlet Pimpernel and Henry of Navarre..."

But while they made headlines, not all of Miss Neilson's performances were considered hits. One review of For Sword or Song, I located in the New York Times described Julia Neilson's performance as follows:

"It is upon Miss Julia Neilson, as Price Chanrming, that the burden of the evening falls. She bears it bravely in her boy's costume, but seems perpetually anxious to 'bestride the world like Colossus.' In plain English, she straddles."

Ah, poor gal! Critics of every decade can be so cruel, can't they? Well, there's a great collection of Julia Neilson photos here you might enjoy checking out.

Lastly, today I thought I'd share with you this card...

I'm unsure who this actress might be, if any, as no information is indicated on the card. However, the note on the back is just one I thought was somewhat remarkable.

Mr. Bloom,
You have promised me that you would write more often when you left B. Boro, and since then I have not had a word from you and cannot understand what you mean by not writing to me. Or perhaps you don't want to write at all. I am always awaiting impatiently at the P.O. every day for a letter or at least a card from you.

With Best Regards,

Sounds like poor Helen should try and forget about this Mr. Bloom... As the current phrase goes today, it's appears "he's just not that into you."

Some things really never change, do they? :)

  • Well, before I go today, I wanted to share with you a link to a really sweet interview that Shirley of Proof Positivity did of me this week. Shirley writes about upbeat news, in addition to running a business that's designed to help underprivileged and struggling students gain a renewed interest in academics through the fun of journalism. You can read the interview here.
  • If you missed the last Treasure Box Wednesday on fun finds from across the pond, click here.
Next Sunday, I hope you'll join me as we go garage "sailing" through the Regent Square Annual Neighborhood event. Take care, my friends!