Saturday, June 4, 2011

Second purchase...Hmm...

Blame it on the rain or my being in a funk but when I passed these pique-cierges, or candelabras sitting on the sidewalk in front of the local junk shop, my heart went out to them. I know the owner, he gave me an incredibly low price "for you. Of course for anyone else it would be much, much more."  Thigh high candelabras of this quality are getting increasingly rare and increasingly expensive so I was surprised. I also appreciated the sloppy lion's paws and that the carvings were gossiping angels, not a cross or flaming heart in sight. He assured me that they were made of bronze and had come from une grande maison provençale, a home of consequence. Très bien. My arms hurt as I lugged the pair home, getting soaked in the process. 

I called out to Remi excitedly when I finally closed the front door behind me. As he approached, the corners of his mouth turned down ever so slightly. Uh oh. Pause. "I thought that you wanted to be more stream-lined, less Baroque for the next apartment?" he asked gently, trying to keep his voice as neutral as possible. "Yes, but..." I floundered, gesturing with floppy hands at the pair that we absolutely have no need for whatsoever. He was right and on top it, he confirmed what I had feared, that they weren't indeed bronze, only metal and a very dirty metal at that. "Should we take them back?" I pestered him with the question throughout the afternoon. "Let's wait and see." 

Thunder and lightening cracked above the roofs all through the night. Little to say no one slept well, least of all poor petrified Ben. So what better to do on a dreary day after than to take another look at my purchase? Two hours later and here we are. Too impatient to post once the job is done. Silly girl that I am, I chose to start with the "cleaner" of the two and so imagine that I have many, many hours still ahead but I don't mind. It has been so soothing to just focus on one task at hand. Simple movements, revealing. A little like rubbing Aladdin's lamp without any hope of a genie. I am most definitely still on the fence about this pair but I do feel like I am discovering as I go and that is always positive. They certainly have a pretty patina. To be continued...


  1. Oooh, I love them! I can see why you brought them home. Even if they're not bronze, they're interesting and they spoke to you. That's enough, right?

    I can't wait to see the finished product. Beautiful!

  2. Candlesticks are always a good idea especially in France where the electricity can sometimes be iffy. Besides who doesn't like the glow from a candle? Your candlesticks are wonderful personally I would keep them.

  3. Oh you can't leave the story there ~ I am maddened with curiosity to know what on earth they are made from!

    Anyway, in my opinion, whatever they are made from doesn't change the fact that they are beautiful, and you loved them at first sight, for their fabulous shape and ambience.

    To me they are fabulously lofty and bold - and can provide the perfect hint of detail in an otherwise streamlined style. Go with your heart, it is rarely wrong. (aka - don't take them back!)

    Virginia x

  4. perfection... it's the circles, the meditation of the polishing circles. Remind you of anything, Dorothy of the storm winds?
    Again, there is synchronicity. i'm cutting strips of linen for curtains i've hated since i pinned them in their unloved place. i'm making prayer flags from them, for them. can't wait to see what you make from these bearer of luminance.

  5. Hello Heather:
    Well, in our view, one can never be too Baroque and if these are anything to go by, then one most certainly cannot have too much.

    What an absolute find! They are splendid and such a good size [we loathe the itsy-bitsy], large enough to make a real statement, which is what one always needs, and very, very decorative. You clearly have an excellent eye, Heather, as well as a great sense of style.

  6. Aaaagh! Look at all of these fantastic comments! So much to respond to! Oh my, I am woefully behind. Remi has family in town and so we have been cooking, doing dishes, cooking again, etc.

    Debra--how did you know that we are having iffy electricity? Those storms have taken our power out twice and one of the upstairs neighbors is still without (we are keeping her food in our freezer). But I am a candle addict all the time actually and have my little nightly ritual of lighting them throughout the house.

    Gldiebr--I can't wait either! But will have to, unfortunately. Definitely no time today.

    Virginia--I think that they are brass. NOT something that I am fond of usually. And we don't have a streamlined style unfortunately, that is the problem. :( It is beginning to look like a flea market in here!

    Trace--"wax on, wax off"? :) And I no longer even bat an eyelash at our syncronicity but am admittedly trying to vampirize some of your wisdom in the current. Let the flags fly!

    Cnjhooker--Merci and thanks also for stopping by.

    Jane and Lance--yet another example of your making me laugh out loud. Well, if you say that one can never be too Baroque than I HAVE to listen. I too despise anything remotely tchostsky-esque. Remi once admitted that he would feel at ease living in a castle. Ah, we can dream. Thank you as always for your compliments--I will try to live up to them.

    Wishing everyone an excellent Sunday.

  7. They are BEAUTIFUL!! Very nice purchase!
    Have a wonderful evening Heather!!
    Greet (Belgian Pearls)
    I had to post anonymous because of the blogger problems!

  8. Oh hooray! I am so glad that you like them, Greet!! You and Brooke have inspired me so much that I would really love to go for a more elegant interior in our new apartment.

    Wishing you a lovely evening as well--hopefully one with less rain than what we have here...

  9. The candlesticks are a wonderful scale and design. I was excited when I saw the picture with the partially polished stick.. It looked like silver! Even if it isn't, they are still worth having.

  10. Thank you Victoria. Sigh. They are brass. But somehow (as your keen eye caught on) are oddly silvery. Maybe I need to keep polishing?? Perhaps there is a genie in there after all?

  11. Thank you Victoria. Sigh. They are brass. But somehow (as your keen eye caught on) are oddly silvery. Maybe I need to keep polishing?? Perhaps there is a genie in there after all?

  12. Dear Heather,

    Well, your candlesticks look lovely, and I wouldn't spend much time (if any) wishing they were silver. My mother (the caretaker of the family silver since she married my father fifty years ago) jokes that, when she dies, my Life of Pleasure will be OVER.....I'll spend my mourning period (which will last till I die) polishing that damn stuff every day. Until the mid-seventies, we still had Florence (who'd been my grandmother's housekeeper). Florence would quite contentedly spend part of every morning polishing one set or another. Florence is, however, quite gone, and I'm not under the impression that her granchildren view this sort of work/job as desirable.

    Incidentally, among my favortie things in this old, cluttered house of mine are all the damaged pieces of old plate silver I've gotten from my family's house. Generally, they're all pieces (lamps, platters, vases, service pieces) that someone at one point or another put through a dishwasher). Hence, my grandmother or great aunts had consigned them to their attics. They're beautiful now (the silver pieces...not the grandmopther and her sisters, who've been in the grave for at least twenty years), with streaks and irregular mottlings of copper/brass showing through the increasingly "damaged" (silly word) silver. Ocassionally, a guest will inform me that I "ought" to have them all re-plated. I think that would be sort of ghastly....too-too Trump-Towers for words. I happen to prefer household pieces that, like most of my friends (with one disastrous exception) allow their age to show.

    Wonderfully interesting blog, by the way...


    David Terry

  13. Oh come on, David! How on earth do you want me to respond to such a gorgeous response? You write so beautifully, it is as if I know you. Not that I have even the slightest inkling of what it must have been like to have had a Florence in my past but how incredible of you to share it. And the weight of these objects, yes literally and figuratively.

    I am not a jewellery girl but will wear a bit of silver on my wrists (hence my aversion to copper which leaves a green smudge). We tend to acquire the "unwanted toys" in our home but they are never silver, why that?

  14. Dear Heather,

    Having just read your last posting?...I can give you an "inkling' of what it was like to have had a Florence in the house....

    We basically "inherited" Florence. She was FIERCELY protective of my mother, my grandmother, and my great aunts(she'd worked for all of them in their houses, over the years). She was deeply suspicious of all men except for my Great Uncle (the very old-fashioned president of our state university), and she detested children. Me, in particular. I know it because she would regularly tell me so in quite certain terms. If I complained to my parents or grandmother, I would be simply told "What were you doing? Running around and getting in the way of Florence's work? Now, you just mind your manners and DON'T get on Florence's nerves." It was utterly pointless to mention that, as far as I could tell, Florence didn't actually DO much work at all.

    I've never been slapped by either of my parents, but I WAS slapped (swatted would be more accurate) numerous times by Mean Old Florence. My brothers and I couldn't stand her, and she made it clear that she wasn't in the least fond of us and/or "little boys' ways". Stay out of the kitchen...stay out of the front rooms...stay out of any place where she was "working". Don't track dirt in on "her" floors...don't EVER talk to your momma that way! (swat on the butt)... It was like living with a very strict drill-master for at least 12 years of childhood boot-camp.

    Actually, she did very little actual cooking or cleaning by the time we inherited her. She had to be picked up in the mornings and driven back home at nights. this was, as far as she was concerned, HER inheritance after forty years with the family. Her enormous purse always sat in the middle of the kitchen table. If one of us, at age 10 or so, ventured within six feet of that purse (hard to avoid, since the table was in the middle of the room with the back-door), she'd scowl and holler "Don't you try to get near my purse, you little boy!".

    did I forget to add that she was just as territorial and overbearing towards anyone else who came to the house to do some work? She was very fond of telephoning the pool-man or the yard man (after they'd gone to their own homes) to tell them that she'd inspected their work, that it wasn't up to her standards, and that they had to come back and DO IT RIGHT! They all hated her, too.

    My mother (a naturally quiet, very sweet woman) adored her, and she adored my mother. They would talk and laugh for hours and hours during the soap operas together, etcetera. Looking back, I can see now that, basically, she was my mother's resident, hypervigilant bulldog, her "dragon at the gate".... an arrangement which my mother no doubt appreciated and Florence definitely enjoyed. I've known rather a lot of old-style southern ladies who have this sort of relationship with their maid or housekeeper.

    And let me emphasize that there is NOTHING that such a woman's children (or even her husband) can do about it.

    In any case, there's an "inkling" of what it was like to "have" a Florence in the house. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence being deeply envious of friends whose families didn't have "help".

    Level Best as Ever,

    David terry

  15. P.S. Clarification: Florence didn't detest all children....just "nasty little boys" (this in a house with three boys). She liked my female cousins. when they visited, she'd suddenly emerge with cakes and cookies. This did NOT happen for male cousins and certainly not for me or my brothers.


  16. Yes, right away I had a very strong feeling that Florence was probably quite different when the little girls in their flouncy dresses were around. Well, that is quite something to take in as her presence shaped your childhood so profoundly. I am sure it must have made you more of who you are (even artistically speaking) but it certainly could have gone in the other direction for someone with less character. I do love that she was a good companion to your Mother though. We all need a little protection at different times in our life.

  17. Off-topic note to Heather: You have good instincts.

    In further "defense" of Mean Old Florence? She did, after all, come to our house (essentially out of retirement) when my brother and I were seven. Starting at that time (and going on for at least six years) our youngest brother spent at least half his days in St. Jude's childrens' Hospital. So, my mother spent her days and nights, for many years, just making he sure he was kept alive.

    Florence's job was to keep us in line (my mother was either gone or worn-out by hospital stays) and out of our mother's hair. To be honest, we were both hyperactive, irritatingly "bright", and enterprisingly messy boys.

    If it weren't for florence, we probably WOULD have ended up in the Juvenile home (with which she often threatened us...claiming "I could pick up this phone RIGHT NOW, and they'd come haul you away! I know the man, myself! He'll do it for me!"

    ----david terry

  18. Oh that last line is just too perfect, David. I can just hear it. And if she managed to keep you out of Juvie, well, you do owe her a bit of "defense" in her memory. Yes, that she was doing what she thought that needed to be done to make things easier for your Mom under such difficult circumstances...well, I can understand that even though I am very grateful that I wasn't the one on the other end of the swatting!

  19. Oh, Heather.....I can't tell you how often, when I've sloppily mashed something out on my own computer and am too lazy to bother with fixing the business, I flat-ass, right-out LIE and tell folks that I'm working on Herve's "french keyboard" computer in some Barcelona or Paris hotel. Not that I don't spend a lot of time in such joints, but?...

    I'm not kidding. I do this all the time, quite in conjunction with leading folks to think "Well, you never know WHAT time-zone he's in...."

    the fact is that I'm generally (as in at least seven months in every year) working on an English keyboard and parked here in my quite American house.

    but am I going to let folks KNOW that?....


    Bascially, I now deal with all correspondence as I did wth telephone calls from currently-incumbent boyfriends during my twenties; the last thing I ever plan to do is to let folks know exactly how accessible/available I am.

    Advisedly yours as ever,

    David Terry


  20. P.S> I just realized that this comment was a response to your most recent posting, in which you mentioned working on a French keyboard.. I scrolled down too far.

    dispirtedly yours as ever (by the way, your server works REALLY slowly....)

    ---david terry

  21. Impossibly slowly, David, I couldn't agree with you more. And oddly, even slower on a windy day. Welcome to the South of France where time is too busy off flirting with some senorita in a corner to pay much attention to its own rules.

    Ps. I very much appreciated the above www adress, especially in that it is an .org and not a .com. I am assuming that it is a non-profit?

  22. those giant candlesticks are beyond divine!
    want to unload them!?!

    I'll take a percentage.....and pay the postage to California!


  23. Thrilled for the visit Penelope!

    If the candlesticks don't work out in the new apartment, I'll definitely let you know. But I have to admit that now that they have received your stamp of approval, they look even more attractive to me. ;)

    Sending you and your ducks all my best...

  24. Dear Heather, thank you for leaving such kind words on my blog regarding the renovation of my living room. I love your blog, what you write and the way you write it make me smile and think.
    Greetings from la Belgique ;-) Saskia

  25. Merci, Saskia! I was happy to write about your renovation because it is absolutely stunning!!


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