December 18th NEW French Container arriving – French Furniture and Accessories

 You know what they say… Paris is always a good idea.

Parisian style, French furniture and French accessories are also a good idea!

 Ever wonder how the French so seamlessly pull together clothing and furniture/accessories to make everything sparkle FRENCH…

The French have a certain appreciation for antiques, as well as the beauty of aging. An antique mirror, speckled with telltale signs of age like oxidation and scratches, can bring a sense of history to a room that no shiny, happy new thing can. A vintage desk with water rings from coffee-fueled days has character and brings a human element to a space.

Crystal chandeliers are ubiquitous in Parisian homes. A natural place for one is a dining room, but you can also add a little sparkle in a small powder room or master bathroom.  Choose sparkle, crystals and metal for that added bit of glamour that actually mixes quite well with casual.

ALL THREE OF OUR SHOPS CARRY GORGEOUS CHANDELIERS!!  You can view the choices under “lighting” from our website

http://www.crownandcolony.com

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 A French settee is ALWAYS a sure bet as an accent in any room of the house.

Glamour is a major pillar of Parisian interiors, and a touch of gold is often the key to achieving it, such as a gold gilt accessory for atop a chest…

or hanging a French Louis Philippe or French style mirror (maybe a trumeau) over a fireplace mantle, console or French chest.  An occasional chair with gold accents can also make a statement.

French candlesticks in gold also add a warmth and French touch to a room.

Antiques are a must-have for every sophisticated home, but they seem to be innate in Parisian homes.  The French home lends itself to naturally showcase certain styles of French furniture/accessories, such as, imported chinoiserie pieces,

Louis XVI, Louis XV and Louis XIV chairs, desks or commodes. 

All similar, but with slight differences which give the room/home that acquired look and not “matchy matchy”.  French antique pieces are ones that you can literally use in any room of the house, they are a worthwhile investment and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Crown and Colony, Aubergines and RF Antiques carry French antique furniture and accessories – anything you can image French, we carry!  Come visit us this holiday season and add a little “French Style” to your home.

You can view most, but not all of our items on Instagram @crownandcolonyantiques or view our website www.crownandcolony.com

Be sure to check our WHAT’s NEW on the website – Arrival December 18th – Below are just a FEW of the items coming….

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See all merchandise by visiting our three shops in beautiful downtown Fairhope, AL

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Some, but not all pictures are borrowed from Pinterest, One Kings Lane and other internet sites.  Pictures that are not those of Crown and Colony are used for educational purposes only.

FRENCH BUFFET

The French BuffetImage result for images of french buffets from crown and colony antiquesBuffets, credenzas and sideboards share a similar purpose in the dining room. These three pieces of furniture are all similar in function and appearance, and the terms are used to describe furniture used for serving, storage and display.

Certain defining characteristics may help distinguish one from the other, but in many cases, the furniture won’t feature all these elements. What really makes each piece different is its history.   This type of furniture is versatile enough that is is not always used in the dining room, making it a practical purchase.

The Credenza

What distinguishes a credenza is a long, low profile, narrow cabinet with multiple storage compartments and a flat top. Usually made from wood, credenzas originally had no legs or feet; instead, they were just cabinets that rested directly on the floor.antique-sideboard-cville

Historically, credenzas played an important role in the dining quarters of kings or high-ranking noblemen. The word “credenza” is the Italian equivalent of “credence,” or “truth,” and the food placed on the piece had to be taste-tested to ensure it wasn’t poisoned.  A food taster Image result for images of a food taster to the kingwas the person who ingested the food which would be served to confirm that it was safe to eat. One who tests drink in this way was known as a cupbearer.

The Buffet

The French term “buffet” translates literally as “sideboard.” The word is also closely associated with a self-serve meal spread out buffet-style on a long, narrow table. The origins of the buffet table go back to 16th century Swedish schnapps tables holding the pre-dinner spirits. By the 18th century, schnapps tables evolved into the smorgasbord table, in which food and drinks were laid out for guests. Buffets typically have some type of cabinets or drawers for storage and a flat surface for food and decor.

THE SIDEBOARDRelated image

The long, narrow profile of a sideboard makes it practically identical to a credenza and a buffet.  Sideboards  comprised of cabinets and, sometimes, drawers. When a sideboard has legs, they tend to be shorter and thicker in size like the one pictured above. Sideboards were first used in late 18th century England, when designer Robert Adams constructed a three-part dining ensemble that included an oblong table centered between two pedestal cupboards resting on urns. The sideboards displayed the finest serving ware in the household, typically silver and fine china.Related image

Our French culinary shop, Aubergine Antiques, carries many many styles of “enfilades” (the French word for buffet or sideboard) as does our garden and architectural antique shop, RF Antiques, and our hub shop Crown and Colony Antiques.

Please visit us online to have a first viewing of our selection and then come visit us to see in person!!  http://www.crownandcolony.com

Visit the website through the link provided and then click on Buffets & Sideboards and for NEW CONTAINER items, click on What’s New.

We just received a NEW FRENCH CONTAINER.  Our shops are filled with not only sideboards, but all sorts of wonderful antiques at EVERY price point.  Please make it a point to visit us before the holidays.  Let one of our qualified employees assist you with making the perfect purchase.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

 

 

FRENCH WATERING CANS

The FRENCH Watering CanRelated image

Original “watering pots”, were terracotta and very heavy.  Popular in the mid 1800’s were French ones with one large handle that arched from the front to the back of the can; this did make it a bit more troublesome to balance the can while watering plants that were on higher shelving.  But, none the less were functional and beautiful.

Below is one of the many French water cans that we sell at RF Antiques.  It has the original one handle design that I find to be charming and contrary to what John Haws notes of design, the French design is quite adequate!

A NEW LOOK

The change in style begins with Madagascar and the growing of vanilla beans.  While tinkering with growing the vanilla bean plant in Madagascar a man named John Haws found the current design for watering cans to be awkward and hard to maneuver.

When John Haws returned to England he found himself in the midst of a gardening explosion very popular during the Victorian era.  The wealthy upper class were constantly searching for the perfect garden to put on display.  Ornamental gardens and greenhouse cultivation with plants in self contained areas required a lot of hand watering.  Image result for images of victorian greenhouses and watering cans

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In 1885 John Haws applied for and was issued the first ever patent on a watering can with his new handle design. His patent claimed:

“This new invention forms a Watering Pot that is much easier to carry, and at the same time being much cleaner, and more adapted for use than any put before the public”

His new invention introduced the addition of a second handle.  The previous French design had just one large front to back handle. Haws revised design had a “carrying” handle on top and a “tipping” handle on the back of the can to allow a more even distribution of water and his design also called for a spout located at the bottom of the watering can to allow for easier watering of plants on high shelves. Photobucket

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Watering Can Fact: The spout is capped with a fitting made of small holes where water is expelled from a very gentle flow to a heavier flow, dependent upon the delicacy of the plant being watered. This ‘cap’ is also known as a ‘rose’– It comes from the French word arroseur which means sprinkler.

THE COMMON HUMAN ELEMENT OF THE WATERING CAN:

Sotheby’s director and “gardenalia” expert Alistair Morris is quoted:

“There is nothing more emblematic of gardening than a watering-can,” he says. “It is a simple vessel with a pure purpose which started out as a pottery pot and only turned into a can made of metal in the late 17th century.”

THEREFORE, this “simple vessel” has been used extensively as subject matter for artists all over the world.  It adds that element of “connection to the painting” that artists strive for.

Woman With Watering Cans by L. E. Adan

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A Girl With a Watering Can by Renoir 1876

Theophile Emmanuel Duverger

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Martha Stewart shares a video on antique watering cans of all kinds and the history of the watering can.  Click on the link below to enjoy this short and enjoyable watering can excerpt.

www.marthastewart.com/911212/history-and-presentation-antique-watering-cans

As history would dictate through progressive movements the quality and production techniques of the watering can improved dramatically with the Industrial Revolution, when the heavy terracotta

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and copper was replaced by tinplate and lighter metals as seen below.  Lighter metals allowed for the increase in weight once water was put into the vessel making it naturally heavier.The watering cans in the above picture are at our garden antiques shop, RF Antiques, 251-928-8336 Call us to check availability of all French watering cans or call Aubergine Antiques, our French culinary shop, 251-928-0902 for information on our supply of copper watering cans.

 

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

 

White Asparagus

Oui, Je manges des asperges blanches!!

Yes, I eat white asparagus!  

When we think of asparagus we think of typical green asparagus that we buy at the grocery store, but asparagus in Europe can be green, purple and WHITE.

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In European cultures, in particular France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland and especially Germany–White Asparagus is consumed heavily.

On the seasonal food calendar in France, the front end of summer on through early September is a high point for asparagus.  Here, bunches and bunches of asparagus at the height of the French market season.

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Growing white asparagus is more labor intensive than growing green asparagus.  White asparagus is the same as green asparagus, but grown without daylight. Denying the spears daylight as they grow prevents photosynthesis from taking place and this is the process that produces the green coloring in plants.

The plants are grown in the dark by piling soil on top Image result for images of white asparagus being harvestedof the spears as they appear and then cutting them well below the surface with a special knife before they grow through the soil into the daylight.Image result for images of white asparagus being harvested

Asparagus that is allowed to grow up and through the top of the soil and receive sun, of course are green because of photosynthesis–as the asparagus looks below.asparagus

White asparagus in particularly is snatched up for delicate dishes.  Below is a typical French asparagus recipe that is easy to try AND delicious.

Asparagus with vinaigrette & poached egg (serves 4)Asperge et vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, ground
1 & 1/2 tsp walnut vinegar (alternatively, you can use wine vinegar)
Salt & pepper – for seasoning
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir until the vinaigrette is smooth.

For the poached eggs:

4-6 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

In a shallow pan of boiling water, add 2 tsp of vinegar. Prepare your eggs by breaking them into little cups/pots so it’s easier to pour into the boiling water. When the water is boiling, pour in the eggs in different areas (maximum four at a time – or the water temperature will get cooler). Leave them alone, cover with a lid for 3 minutes, then check if they need a bit of ‘pushing and shoving’ to make their form rounder. You can use a large slotted spoon for this. Depending on how well you like your eggs cooked, 3 minutes should complete the task. When ready spoon each egg at a time onto a plate. Set aside.

For the asparagus:

A bunch of asparagus, depending on size count 4-6 asparagus per person.
A handful of chives (chopped finely)

Wash the asparagus under cool running water and trim away the bottom 1/3 of the stalk. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the rough part (leave the tip intact).

Fill a medium to large saucepan with water, about half way to the top. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly – cook for 10 minutes, or until crisp and tender, depending on thickness of asparagus. Drain and place on a serving plate. Place poached egg on top, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with chives.

A POPULAR DISH

In Europe, & France for sure, white asparagus gets just as much attention as the green variety. You’ll see it on restaurant menus steamed and served with hollandaise sauce, a poached egg and chives.Related image

Asparagus is so abundant in France and other places in Europe – an asparagus majolica plate to serve it on would not be uncommon.  Here are some of these beautiful type plates found at our French culinary store, Aubergine Antiques.

So, EAT MORE ASPARAGUS: 5 good reasons

It’s loaded with nutrients, it can help fight cancer, it’s packed with antioxidants, it’s a brain booster and it’s a natural diuretic!!

 

**special thanks to umami mart and mimi thorisson of medoc france, & pinterest for information 

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

FRENCH ACCESSORIES – THE CHATELAINE

Chatelaine (chain)

The name chatelaine derives from the French term châtelaine – which means wife of the lord of a castle or a woman who owns a large house or is in control of it OR a set of short chains worn on a belt that carried necessary items needed in the home.

From the 16th century, women often wore a decorative clasp at the waist with a series of chains attached, called a chatelaine. Suspended from it were useful household accessories such as scissors, keys, and sewing tools. Crafted from precious metals, chatelaines were considered as jewelry and status symbols.Wedgwood Chatelaine, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Chatelaine, Tassenmuseum Netherlands. Chatelaine bag, LACMA.

Wedgwood Chatelaine, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Chatelaine, Tassenmuseum Netherlands. Chatelaine bag, LACMA.

Status among women

 The woman with the keys key equipage

to all the many desks, chest of drawers, food hampers, pantries, storage containers, and many other locked cabinets was “the woman of the household”. Carrying this chatelaine was a sign of status and power – This person directed all the servants and possessed total authority over who had access to what.

A tid bit:  When a woman married a son and the couple moved into his father’s house, the son’s MOTHER would have authority over the keys to the locked items.  BUT, if the mother became a widow the keys and the status that came with them, were passed to the wife of the eldest son.  If the woman of the house had to be absence then the controller of the keys was passed to the head housekeeper.

Often times younger women in the house would want the appearance of this responsibility, and would wear decorative chatelaines with a variety of small objects Image result for chatelaine jewelry that french women wore

in the place of keys, especially bright and glittering objects that could be used to start a conversation.

Early 19th Century Gold Sewing Chatelaine in Original Case

Early 19th Century Gold Sewing Chatelaine in Original Case

inspiringdresses: Chatelaine with watch, key, pomander, ca, 1770, BritishMFA

Chatelaine with watch, key, pomander, ca, 1770

Abiti Antichi Chatelaine in argento. Punzoni Citta' di Londra; anno 1892. Maker Samuel Jacob. Composta da quaderno, matita, porta metro, forbici e portaditale. Rif: chatelaine 5 Clicca sulla foto per vedere altre immagini di questa chatelaine.

Chatelaines were worn by many housekeepers in the 19th century and in the 16th century they often typically used as watch chains for the most wealthy.

This is a Georgian chatelaine which clipped to the waist band or belt of a dress for holding such items as the mistress of the house would need with her throughout the day. It might include her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette, or a key holder.This is a Georgian chatelaine which “is a device which clips to the waist band or belt of a dress for holding such items as the mistress of the house would need with her throughout the day. It might include her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette, and a key holder.”

Here is the front

and back view so you can  see how the chatelaine would be clipped to the waistband of the woman’s dress.

 

A locket such as this sterling silver one would be used for rouge/powder and attached to the Chatelaine chain.  Antique French 800-900 Silver 'Poudrier' Compact locket for chatelaine. LOVELY <3 @

Chatelaines were made of precious metals: gold, sterling silver, but many were made of steel as the one showed below.  This one made of cut steel is also from France, late 18th century; the tools include a disc shaped pin cushion, a button hook, a thimble holder with steel thimble, and a folding corkscrew for perfume bottles.

Fine Mint 2671, cut steel chatelaine, France, late 18th century; “Five matching attachments to the waist plaque. The tools include a disc shaped pin cushion, a button hook, a thimble holder with steel thimble, a folding corkscrew for perfume bottles and a decorative cut steel attachment made of 5 chatelaines.

And of course, all the Queens had beautiful chatelaine adornments to their dresses.  Here Marie Antoinette walking with her children is wearing decorative chains with charms – certainly a sign of wealth.

An up close view of the chains:

Marie Antoinettes Marie Antoinette's gold watch and chatelaine with diamonds and rubies, 1y V Oswald V Oswaldgold watch and chatelaine with diamonds and rubies  –  Very opulent & decorative.

Even today, women enjoy a new interpretation of history with a modern twist as symbolism in unexpected places turns up:  The chatelaine is officially on the fashion runway as Prada shows off the updated chatelainePrada_AW16_chatelaine2

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CROWN AND COLONY ANTIQUES carries Chatelaines when they can be found!!  They have become rare commodities, but here is a picture of what we currently have in our shop.  251-928-4808

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!