This time last year, I was planting my rooftop terrace garden in Berlin. In my new home in Venice I don’t have a terrace or balcony: but I do have large sunny windows that open on one side to the canal where I hear the musicians at the Conservatory rehearse Verdi, Puccini and Rossini and the gondoliers passing below humming Buonosera Signorina, Buonosera. Each Saturday morning I visit the Mercato di Rialto to buy fresh flowers along with my produce and vegetables. Nearby I’m lucky to have several florists with cut flowers and plants. My Venetian home may not have an outdoor space, but my home always has flowers. To me, flowers are a hallmark of gracious living. Mimi’s history of antique Provençal pots takes me back the beautiful gardens and countryside of my days living in France. I’ll be back soon…
Spring is truly here! It’s Antiques Week in Round Top, Texas, and Lolo and I (along with Cole and Louis) set up shop once again in Tent D at the Arbors. There are wonderful treasures to be found, great people to meet and see, and inspiration all around us. This is Texas Hill Country after all – and the roadsides are awash in color. All along the highways, cars can be seen pulling off the road – doors flying open and people spilling out with their phones held high like concert groupies. What in the world has everyone stopping in their tracks? It’s not antiques. It’s Flowers. Miles and miles of wildflowers. Beguiled by the bold and brilliant blooms, I can’t help but smile, and join in the laughter at the joy everyone is experiencing from the sight of people, young and old, posing and picture taking in fields and pastures of blue and red (reminiscent of the French flag!)
While these Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are beautiful signs that spring has sprung, it isn’t officially spring for me until I’m back at home and the empty planters around my pool are all planted. Nothing quite says spring like a weathered Biot jarre or an aged Anduze pot spilling over with a profusion of colorful blooms. Filled with geraniums set amongst rambling roses or climbing vines, topiary boxwoods or fragrant lavender, potted citrus or olive trees, jarres de Biot and vases d’Anduze always make an impressive display – whether in groupings or standing alone, inside or out.
These Provençal pots, considered iconic symbols of French garden decor, are an elegant yet charming addition to any garden or home. They both conjure up images of grand chateaux, manicured gardens, and the South of France.
Named for the picturesque Medieval village of Anduze in the Cévennes mountains in the South of France, the vase d’Anduze was created in 1610 by a local potter named Boisset. Drawing inspiration from Italian Medici vases he saw at a fair in Beaucaire, he created his version of the famous inverted bell-shaped pot in a flamed color with a glaze applied in green, brown, and straw hat yellow streaks. Floral garlands, a stamped medallion with the potter’s signature, and other refined decorations embellished each pot. Pots are still being made in the Languedoc-Roussillon by artisans in the same way as the old Anduze family craftsmen.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Anduze pots were only found on the estates of the wealthiest of the wealthy. And at Versailles. The vases d’Anduze became en vogue when Marie-Antoinette lined the formal gardens and terraces of Versailles (perhaps the first container garden of note) with them and decorated the Orangeries with hundreds and hundreds of the shapely glazed planters.
Designed to showcase the potted orange and lemon trees found in the gardens and orangeries of aristocrats and nobles, production of the beautiful terracotta planters dropped dramatically during the French Revolution (1789-1799) when most of the factories in Anduze closed. With only a few artisans and factories remaining, the vase d’anduze became a rare commodity – one of the reasons the crusty old 18th and 19th century pots are so coveted and expensive today! There are a limited number of original, authentic Anduze pots made, with few vestiges of the dark green glaze remaining, along with a barely legible signature.
After the Revolution, the nouveau riche silk merchants in the Anduze region (those who sold to the Lyon textile industry) began designing and creating their own private gardens and parks. They demonstrated their newly acquired wealth by purchasing the most exotic plants and trees possible, such as sequoias, shipped in from California, and bamboo from China. The really successful were able to grow the orange tree, which had at one time only been grown at Versailles. The orange trees were planted in these beautiful large (and heavy) glazed pots, as they had to winter indoors. The Anduze pots grew in popularity as more French artisans began creating the style, adding their own flourishes.
Unlike the strictly decorative Anduze pots that served no real purpose, except to bring joy and beauty to the homes and gardens of those lucky enough to afford them, the famous earthenware jarres de Biot were used to store flour, and preserve and transport olives and olive oil before they became popular as “jarres pour le jardin.”
Named after the coastal village of Biot, near Cannes in the South of France, Biot jarres are handmade, without a mold or wheel, using the ancient technique of rope thrown pottery.
Made from a mixture of red and grey clays to achieve the desired color, the jarres are distinctive for both their classic shape and for the colorful drips of glaze, known as “mother-in-laws’ tears,” that occur when the glaze of one jar drips onto another jar during the firing process.
The most unique feature of the Biot jarre, however, is the honey colored glaze at the neck of the jar that prevented insects and varmints from climbing inside the jar and into the olives or olive oil. (YUCK!)
It’s this handmade process – the rim glaze color, the “mother-in-law-tears,” and the classic shape – that make the jarres de Biot, in production since the 16th century, so special and desirable.
Thank goodness you don’t have to be Marie Antoinette or Louis Seize to enjoy the amazing variety of fruits, flowers, and veggies or shapes, colors, and fragrances that can be grown in these fabulous pots. And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and mix it up. Just like the French mix different styles of antiques in their homes, they often blend formal with informal and mix beauty and utility in their gardens.
I’ll be in Sweet Home Alabama soon! Sitting on the deck sipping iced tea or relaxing by the pool with a glass of chilled rosé. It won’t be long until I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. I can’t wait to start planting!
Today’s post is by Sara Morel, who recently left her corporate fashion job to establish Reclaimed Woman. A blog and business, for those in search of a more conscious life. Fashion and home fashions that are equally style-savvy as they are ethical. Like a secret diary, she previously blogged under the name Style Salvo, recording her journey into antiques, salvage and a more sustainable existence (shoe collection excluded), as head of PR for a shoe brand at the time! She vowed to do-up her new home in London with as many old, reused and reclaimed things as possible. One bedroom, one bathroom, one garden, one kitchen… now her walk-in wardrobe.
SALVO Fair: Life is not a Rehearsal – Green Living Fest
A boulder engraved with the words of the estate owner, Sir William McAlpine reads ‘Life is not a Rehearsal.’ I love this phrase, and find it can be applied to all sorts of scenarios life throws at one. In light of the bright green antique theme, SALVO 2017 is not only about appreciating antiques for their connection with history, but for their relationship with the future and the environmental benefits of reuse. Shop vintage fashion and hats including unique designs by Dior from Mary Jones Vintage, whose rare finds for gents and ladies are stocked in Liberty of London as well as her shop in Liverpool.
Whatever your motivation, here are some shopping tips you can apply to architectural antiques and vintage fashion:
- Shopping in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Fashions move in cycles, so don’t let current trends dictate your taste. If you buy something you love, it will hold your interest.
- That’s all very well… but if you’re not yet sure what your style is, antique and vintage fairs are a great place to learn and discover what you like.
- Try to buy architectural antiques first, then make design decisions based on what is available – this will make your hunt much easier. The same goes for rare vintage fashion. It makes sense to start with your statement-makers, then you can build the rest of your look around them.
- Ask about provenance (the earliest known history about the piece). This not only adds value to the item, but to your dinner party conversation. For example, the extractor pipe on the cooker hood in my kitchen is a Victorian organ pipe reclaimed from a church in East London, the overhead cabinets were converted from a 1940s staff noticeboard reclaimed from London’s St Pancras Station. And you’ll have to come for dinner to hear the rest…
- Find designers, builders and tailors that are antique and vintage fashion friendly, as alterations and allowances may be required.
- You may be in a field (at Salvo Fair for example) but you are also surrounded by some rare and incredibly valuable period pieces. Dealers are rarely offended if you negotiate reasonably and there are definitely deals to be found at the fair.
- If you insist on wearing heels like Toma, take her Salvo Fair field lead and opt for a wedge.
- Any finally, it’s easy to get intimidated; whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer size of an architectural antique or the price of a collectible vintage handbag, I recommend starting with an experienced Antiques Diva guide tailored to you and your budget.
March 2 – 5: 28th Annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
45 dealers will be at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair offering a wide diversity of antiques, including painted furniture, garden antiques, mirrors, lighting, textiles, English and European pottery, collectible Country House objects; as well as super-chic metropolitan pieces. The Fair is held in the historic Pavilion, located a few minutes walk from the center of Bath. While attending the Fair, be sure to visit Bath and enjoy the many local restaurants and bars.
Gail McLeod, England Antiques Diva Guide and co-organiser of Antique Fair & News, says:
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is one of the most popular and unique antique fairs in the UK, is a must-show for dozens of dealers, and attracts new antiques dealers every year. Visitors love to attend the fair in charming and historic Bath, and never fail to be impressed by the diversity and quality of offerings at the fair. The show tours with antiques expert Judith Miller and Antiques Young Gun Edd Thomas are absolute must-dos!
Special Events at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- March 2: Trade Only Day
- March 3: Antiques industry celebrity tour with ‘The Queen of Antiques’ Judith Miller
- March 5: Collaboration with vintage and antiques market BathVA, with a ‘Style Up Top Picks’ tour of the Bath Decorative Fair and BathVA with Edd Thomas of ‘Edd in the Clouds’
About The 28th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- For a complete list of dealers and show information: www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk
- Date: 2-5 March 2017. TRADE ONLY 2 March
- Venue: The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 2 March: 12noon – 5pm. Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 10am – 5pm
- Admission: £5.00
Complimentary tickets: http://www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk/freeTicket.php
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Dear Diva Readers,
t’s officially March, and while it still may feel like winter in some regions of the world, we’ve got garden antiques on the brain here at The Antiques Diva & Co headquarters! We get clients from all over asking to take Garden Antiques Buying Tours and now is the perfect time to book a tour for late spring. Whether you’re a tourist who simply loves gardening and want to add to your collection of garden antiques or an antique trade professional looking to stock your store with fabulous patinated finds, we recommend setting your sights on the UK!
Because our tours are custom planned and a-la-carte, clients often book tours —anything from one day to one week— in addition to other travel plans. For garden lovers, this is an ideal situation. England looks its best in late spring and early summer as the trees are filling out and flowers are bursting open. Planning a trip to tour several country estates and gardens while also stopping off at secret antiques sources is a dream come true for many clients! You can often gather inspiration while touring gardens of the great houses of England as well as strolling through cottage gardens. In fact, our Diva Agent in the UK recently put together a list of her favorite gardens and English country houses here.
Once you’re inspired, it’s time to go shopping—our favorite part! From beautifully curated shops filled with special pieces to vast warehouses which stock rows and rows of garden antiques, our Diva Agent has all the contacts in her little black book. Finding weathered terra cotta and stone pots, planters, and urns is always a treat, as these can be used indoors to start seeds during late winter months, then moved out to the garden once the weather breaks.
But it’s important to think outside the box too. We’re seeing a lot of people looking to source architectural reclamation, as these elements can be transformed into one-of-a-kind statement pieces. Architectural fragments can act as decorative objects on their own, but they can also be made into functional items. Think beautifully scrolled iron work converted into table tops or reclaimed timbers made into an arbor. From gates, fencing, doors, shutters, and trellising, creative people are designing unique pieces for the garden.
There are plenty of classical garden antiques available as well. When designing a garden, scale and texture are key elements to consider. Even if you only have a balcony at home, a patinated watering can and a few zinc finials can really add character to your small space. If you have a large garden, antiques such as fountains, statues, and sundials can help add structure and formality.
Since many of us love spending time outdoors, garden furniture is a necessity. Unique outdoor tables and chairs used to dine al fresco can often be snatched up for a song. Stone, metal, and wood benches can also be used in various parts of the garden, allowing you to perch and contemplate. One of my favorite pieces, which I have two of on my rooftop terrace in Berlin, is a chaise lounge! Who wouldn’t want to take in the view of the garden from a lovely lounge, perhaps while sipping on a glass of bubbly?
Regardless of what your style is, the UK has something to offer for every garden lover. From formal gardens and traditional garden antiques to rambling cottage gardens and rustic pieces, England is the place to be. If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to custom plan a tour for you!
The Antiques Diva®