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Title: Chats on Household Curios
Author: Burgess, Fred. W. (Frederick William), 1855-1945
Language: English
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CHATS ON HOUSEHOLD CURIOS

BOOKS FOR COLLECTORS

_With Frontispieces and many Illustrations
Large Crown 8vo, cloth._

CHATS ON ENGLISH CHINA.
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON OLD PRINTS.
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON COSTUME.
    By G. Woolliscroft Rhead.

CHATS ON OLD LACE AND NEEDLEWORK.
    By E. L. Lowes.

CHATS ON ORIENTAL CHINA.
    By J. F. Blacker.

CHATS ON OLD MINIATURES.
    By J. J. Foster, F.S.A.

CHATS ON ENGLISH EARTHENWARE.
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON AUTOGRAPHS.
    By A. M. Broadley.

CHATS ON PEWTER.
    By H. J. L. J. Massé, M.A.

CHATS ON POSTAGE STAMPS.
    By Fred. J. Melville.

CHATS ON OLD JEWELLERY AND TRINKETS.
    By MacIver Percival.

CHATS ON COTTAGE AND FARMHOUSE FURNITURE.
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON OLD COINS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.

CHATS ON OLD COPPER AND BRASS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.

CHATS ON HOUSEHOLD CURIOS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.


_In Preparation._

CHATS ON BARGAINS.
    By Charles E. Jerningham.

CHATS ON JAPANESE PRINTS.
    By Arthur Davison Ficke.

CHATS ON OLD CLOCKS AND WATCHES.
    By Arthur Hayden.

CHATS ON OLD SILVER.
    By Arthur Hayden.

LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN.
NEW YORK: F. A. STOKES COMPANY.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--OLD FIREPLACE, SHOWING SUSSEX BACK, ANDIRONS,
AND TRIVET.

Frontispiece.]

       *       *       *       *       *



CHATS ON
HOUSEHOLD CURIOS

BY

FRED. W. BURGESS

AUTHOR OF "CHATS ON OLD COINS," "CHATS ON OLD
COPPER AND BRASS," ETC.

WITH 94 ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON

T. FISHER UNWIN
ADELPHI TERRACE


_First published in 1914_

(_All rights reserved_)



PREFACE


There is a peculiar charm about the relics found in an old home--a home
from which many generations of fledglings have flown. As each milestone
in family history is passed some once common object of use or ornament
is dropped by the way. Such interesting mementoes of past generations
accumulate, and in course of time the older ones become curios.

It is to create greater interest in these old-world odds and ends--some
of trifling value to an outsider, others of great intrinsic worth--that
this book has been written. The love of possession is to some possessors
the chief delight; to others knowledge of the original purposes and uses
of the objects acquired affords still greater pleasure. My intention has
been rather to assist the latter class of collectors than to facilitate
the mere assemblage of additional stores of curiosities. It is truly
astonishing how rapidly the common uses of even household furnishings
and culinary utensils are forgotten when they are superseded by others
of more modern type.

The modern art of to-day and the revival of the much older furniture of
the past have driven out the household gods of intermediate dates, and
it is in that period intervening between the two extremes that most of
the household curios reviewed in this work are found. Although many of
the finest examples of household curios are now in museums, private
collectors often possess exceptional specimens, and sometimes own the
most representative groups of those things upon which they have
specialized.

The examples in this book have been drawn from various sources. As in
"Chats on Old Copper and Brass" (which may almost be regarded as a
companion work), the illustrations are taken from photographs of typical
museum curios and objects in private collections, or have been specially
sketched by my daughter, who has had access to many interesting
collections, to the owners of which I am indebted for the illustrations
I am able to make use of.

My thanks are due to the Directors of the British Museum, who have
allowed their printers, the University Press, Oxford, to supply electros
of some exceptional objects now in the Museum; also to the Director of
the Victoria and Albert Museum, at South Kensington; and the Director
of the London Museum, now located at Stafford House.

Dr. Hoyle, the Director of the National Museum of Wales, at Cardiff, has
most kindly had specially prepared for this work quite a number of
photographs of very uncommon household curios. The Curator of the Hull
Museum has loaned blocks, and photographs have been sent by Messrs. Egan
and Co., Ltd., of Cork; Mr. Wayte, of Edenbridge; and Mr. Phillips, of
the Manor House, Hitchin. To Mr. Evans, of Nailsea Court, Somerset, I am
indebted for the loan of his unrivalled collection of ancient
nutcrackers, some of which have been sketched for reproduction. I have
also made use of examples in the collections of private friends, and
illustrated some of my own household curios, many of them family relics.

The story of domestic curios is made the more useful by these
illustrations, and also by references to well-known collections. There
is much to admire in the once common objects of the home, now curios,
and it is in the hope that some may be led to appreciate more the
antiques with which they are familiar that these pages have been penned.
If that is achieved my object will have been accomplished.

FRED. W. BURGESS.

LONDON, 1914.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE
PREFACE                                                                7


CHAPTER I

THE LOVE OF THE ANTIQUE                                               19

    No place like home--Curios in the making--The influence of
    prevailing styles--A cultivated taste.


CHAPTER II

THE INGLE SIDE                                                        33

    Fire-making appliances--Tinder boxes--The fireplace--Andirons and
    fire-dogs--Sussex backs--Fireirons and fenders--Trivets and
    stools--Bellows.


CHAPTER III

THE LIGHTS OF FORMER DAYS                                             59

    Rushlights and holders--Candles, moulds, and boxes--Snuffers, trays,
    and extinguishers--Oil lamps--Lanterns.


CHAPTER IV

TABLE APPOINTMENTS                                                    77

    Cutlery: Knives, forks, and spoons--Salt cellars--Cruet
    stands--Punch and toddy--Porringers and cups--Trays and
    waiters--The tea table--Cream jugs--Sugar tongs and
    nippers--Caddies--Cupids--Nutcrackers--Turned woodware.


CHAPTER V

THE KITCHEN                                                          121

    The kitchen grate--Boilers and kettles--Grills and
    gridirons--Cooking utensils--Warming pans.


CHAPTER VI

HOME ORNAMENTS                                                       147

    Mantelpiece ornaments--Vases--Derbyshire Spars--Jade or spleen
    stone--Wood carvings--Old gilt.


CHAPTER VII

GLASS AND ENAMELS                                                    173

    Waterford, Bristol, and Nailsea--Ornaments of glass--Enamels on
    metal.


CHAPTER VIII

LEATHER AND HORN                                                     185

    Spanish leather--Cuir boulli work--Tapestry and upholstery--Leather
    bottles and drinking vessels--Leather curios--Shoes--Horn work.


CHAPTER IX

THE TOILET TABLE                                                     199

    The table and its secrets--Combs--Patch boxes--Enamelled
    objects--Perfume boxes and holders--Dressing
    cases--Scratchbacks--Toilet chatelaines--Locks of hair--Jewel
    cabinets.


CHAPTER X

THE OLD WORKBOX                                                      223

    Spinning wheels--Materials and work--Little
    accessories--Cutlery--Quaint woodwork--The needlewoman--Old
    samplers.


CHAPTER XI

THE LIBRARY                                                          251

    From cover to cover--Old scrap books--Almanacs--The writing table.


CHAPTER XII

THE SMOKER'S CABINET                                                 269

    Old pipes--Pipe racks--Tobacco boxes--Smokers' tongs and
    stoppers--Snuff boxes and rasps.


CHAPTER XIII

LOVE TOKENS AND LUCKY EMBLEMS                                        281

    Amulets--Horse trappings--Emblems of luck--Love spoons--Glass
    curios.


CHAPTER XIV

THE MARKING OF TIME                                                  295

    Clocks--Watches--Watch keys--Watch stands.


CHAPTER XV

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS                                                  309

    Early examples--Whistles and pipes--Violins and harps.


CHAPTER XVI

PLAY AND SPORT                                                       319

    Dolls--Toys--Old games--Outdoor amusements--Relics of sport.


CHAPTER XVII

MISCELLANEOUS                                                        337

    Dower chests--Medicine chests--Old lacquer--The tool chest--Egyptian
    curios--Ancient spectacles--Curious chinaware--Garden curios--The
    mounting of curios--Obsolete household names.


INDEX                                                                357



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


FIG.

1. OLD FIREPLACE, SHOWING SUSSEX BACK, ANDIRONS, AND TRIVET  _Frontispiece_

                                                                    PAGE

2. ANDIRONS WITH RATCHETS                                             27

3. ORNAMENTED CRESSET DOGS                                            27

4. TELESCOPIC RUSH AND CANDLE HOLDER                                  27

5. RATCHET RUSH AND CANDLE HOLDER                                     27

6. ANCIENT ROMAN FIRE-DOG                                             37

7. SUSSEX GRATE BACK, DATED 1588                                      37

8. THREE SINGLE DOGS OR ANDIRONS                                      45

9. PAIR OF DATED SUSSEX ANDIRONS (1625)                               45

10. PAIR OF SUSSEX ANDIRONS                                           45

11. SUSSEX BACK WITH ROYAL EMBLEMS                                    51

12. SUSSEX BACK WITH ARMS AND ROYAL INITIALS                          51

13. FINE CARVED WALNUT WOOD BELLOWS                                   55

14. THREE RUSHLIGHT HOLDERS                                           63

15. THREE VARIETIES OF OLD OIL LAMPS                                  63

16. TWO WALNUT WOOD FLOOR-CANDLESTICKS                                69

17. FINE PAIR OF ANCIENT SNUFFERS                                     73

18. HANDSOMELY DECORATED KNIFE CASE AND CONTENTS                      81

19. KNIFE, FORK, AND SPOON                                            87

20. PAIR OF DECORATED SPOONS                                          93

21. TWO WOODEN CUPS                                                  101

22. WOODEN FLAGON, WITH COPPER BANDS                                 101

23. A COCOANUT CUP (SILVER-MOUNTED)                                  101

24. A COCOANUT CUP (SILVER-MOUNTED)                                  101

25. COCOANUT FLAGON                                                  101

26. EARLY ENGLISH BRONZE EWER                                        109

27. INSCRIBED SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY WOOD DRINKING CUP                  115

28-30. EARLY CARVED WOOD NUTCRACKERS                                 115

31-34. MEDIÆVAL WOOD NUTCRACKERS                                     119

35-39. EARLY STEEL AND BRASS NUTCRACKERS                             119

40. TWO ANTIQUE WARMING PANS                                         124

41. WELSH KITCHEN FIREPLACE                                          124

42. MECHANICAL ROASTING JACKS                                        127

43-46. GRIDIRONS SHOWING FOREIGN INFLUENCE IN DESIGN                 131

47 AND 48. TWO WOODEN FOOD BOXES                                     135

49. A COLLECTION OF IRON FAT BOATS AND GREASE PANS                   135

50. WOODEN COFFEE CRUSHERS AND PESTLES AND MORTAR                    139

51. APPLE SCOOPS OF BONE                                             139

52. WOODEN PIGGINS AND PORRIDGE BOWL                                 143

53. WOODEN PLATTER, BOWL, AND SPOONS                                 143

54. BRASS CHIMNEY ORNAMENT (ONE OF A PAIR)                           151

55. BLACK AND GOLD DERBYSHIRE MARBLE VASE                            155

56. TEMPLE GUARDIAN, CARVED FROM THE GNARLED ROOT OF A TREE          159

57. CARVED PLAQUE STAND                                              163

58 AND 59. MINIATURE COPPER AND SILVER KETTLES                       167

60. MINIATURE IVORY COFFEE BOILER                                    167

61. TWO OLD-GILT JEWELLED ORNAMENTS                                  167

62. THREE FINE OLD IVORIES                                           171

63. BATTERSEA ENAMELS                                                179

64. ANTIQUE DRESSING OR TOILET GLASS                                 202

65. THREE OLD SCRATCHBACKS                                           209

66. SILVER CHATELAINE TOILET INSTRUMENTS                             209

67. ANOTHER CHATELAINE SET                                           209

68. FINE ORIENTAL LACQUERED BOX                                      217

69. SMALL LACQUER CABINET                                            217

70. A PAGODA-SHAPED CASKET                                           217

71. DECORATED JEWEL CASE                                             217

72. OLD SPINNING WHEEL                                               227

73. SPINNING WHEEL                                                   233

74. OLD LACE BOBBINS                                                 233

75. OLD PIN POPPETS AND ANCIENT PINS                                 237

76. THREE OLD WORKBOXES                                              243

77. OLD WORKBOX FITTINGS                                             247

78. ANCIENT CLOG ALMANAC                                             257

79. OLD COIN TESTER                                                  265

80. MINIATURE SOUVENIR ALMANAC                                       265

81. ANCIENT WRITING SET                                              265

82. THREE CURIOUS PIPE-STOPPERS                                      275

83. BRASS TOBACCO BOX                                                275

84. COLLECTION OF HARNESS AMULETS AND TEAM BELLS                     285

85. OLD WELSH LOVE SPOONS                                            291

86. FINE GOTHIC FRENCH CLOCK                                         299

87. SPECIMENS OF OLD WATCH KEYS                                      303

88. TWO ANTIQUE WATCH CASES                                          303

89. OLD SPINET                                                       315

90. CURIOUS TYPES OF WHISTLES                                        323

91. QUAINT OLD TOY                                                   323

92. A POWDER TESTER                                                  335

93. A PRIMING FLASK                                                  335

94. OLD POWDER FLASKS                                                343



I

THE LOVE OF THE ANTIQUE



CHAPTER I

THE LOVE OF THE ANTIQUE

     No place like home--Curios in the making--The influence of
     prevailing styles--A cultivated taste.


There is an inborn love of the antique in most men, although some are
fond of asserting that their interests are bound up in the modern, and
that they have no time to devote to the study of the antiquities of past
ages or the things that were fashionable in times long past. Yet most
people, when their secret longings are analysed, are found to have an
admiration for the old; if not a superstitious veneration, at any rate a
desire to perpetuate the memory of their ancestors and to keep in mind
the things with which they were familiar. The wealthy man of to-day, who
may have sprung from the people, secretly, if not openly, endeavours to
surround himself with household gods which tell of a longer past and a
closer relationship with the well-to-do than he can legitimately claim.
In the pursuit of such things many a man has found his hobby; and there
are few men who do not find recreation and delight in a hobby of some
kind. Such interests outside their regular occupations broaden their
outlook and widen their knowledge. Some hobbies tend to lead to
specialization, and the specialist is apt to become warped and narrowed;
not so, however, the collector of household curios.


No Place Like Home.

It would be difficult to find greater delight than that which centres in
those things that concern the home and home life. The love of the old
homestead and the goods and chattels it contains is ingrained in the
breast of every Britisher; and although families become scattered and
some of their members find homes of their own beyond the seas, they find
the greatest delight in the objects with which they were familiar in
years gone by, and venerate the relics of former generations--the
household gods which have been handed on from father to son.

It is not the intrinsic value of the household curio that is its chief
charm; it is rather the knowledge that its long association with those
who have claimed its ownership from the time when it was "new" has made
it truly a family relic. These thoughts, being so deeply rooted in the
minds of most men and women, foster the love of household curios and
intensify the interest shown in their possession.

To all it is not given to own family relics; neither would they serve to
satiate the ambition of the true collector, although they might form the
nucleus of his collection. He seeks other treasures in the town and in
the country and wherever such things are offered for sale.


Curios in the Making.

The domestic habits of the people of this and other civilized countries
have been the outcome of a slow process of upbuilding. There has been no
sudden change; in all grades and under every different social condition,
at every period, the improvement of the furnishings of the home has been
one of gradual and, for the most part, steady progress.

There was a time when, beyond the bare furniture, tapestry hangings,
tools of the craftsmen, and weapons of the warrior, there were few
household goods of a portable nature. In mediæval England the oak chest
was sufficient to contain the valuables of a large household; and very
often beyond a cabinet or sideboard or corner cupboard there were few
receptacles where anything of value could be safeguarded. The dower
chest, in which the bride brought to her husband household linen and her
stock of clothing, and in the wooden compartment in one corner of the
chest her jewels and coin of the realm--if she possessed any--was then a
prominent piece of furniture. The oak chest, rendered formidable with
its massive lock and bolts, opened with a ponderous key, was the chosen
receptacle in after-years as a treasure chest, and regarded as the
safest place in which to keep valuable documents and other property. In
the Public Record Office may be seen the old iron box in which the
Domesday Book was kept for many centuries. The old City Companies have
their treasure chests still; and boxes studded over with iron nails and
fitted with large hasps and locks are pointed out in many old houses as
passports to family standing.

The household curios which a collector seeks include objects of utility
and ornament. Many of them are associated with household work, and quite
a number of one-time kitchen and culinary utensils, as well as those
which were once cherished in the best parlour or withdrawing-room, are
found places among such curios. During the last few years domestic
architecture has passed through several stages of advancement. The stiff
and formal Georgian houses, the painful Victorian villas, and some of
the earlier attempts at architectural improvement have been swept away
to make room for modern replicas of still older styles which have been
revived or incorporated in the _nouvre_ art, which touches the home in
its architecture and internal decoration, as well as in its furnishings.
In modern dwellings the Elizabethan style has often been followed,
although modern conveniences have been incorporated. When furnishing
such houses with suitable replicas of the antique the householders of
the last quarter of a century have been unconsciously, perhaps,
fostering the love of household antiques and providing fitting homes for
their family curios.


The Day of the Curio Hunter.

This is admittedly the day of curio hunting, and those who specialize on
household curios have exceptional opportunities of displaying them to
better advantage than those who cared for such things in the past.
Perhaps it is because there were so few opportunities of arranging and
displaying household antiques during the last three-quarters of the
nineteenth century that many objects now treasured have been preserved
so fresh and kept in such excellent condition. The housewives of the
past generation were undoubtedly conservative in their retention of old
household goods, and it is to their careful preservation that so many
objects of interest, although perhaps fully a century old, come to the
collector in such perfect condition.

The patient labour expended by the amateur artist, the needleworker, and
the connoisseur of home art a generation or two ago has provided the
collector to-day with an exceptionally interesting class of curio, for
there is much to admire in amateur craftsmanship, and especially in the
handiwork of the needlewoman and the weaver and decorator of so many
beautiful textiles which have been preserved to us. Sentiment was strong
in the early nineteenth century, and among the love tokens of that day,
chiefly the work of amateurs, some very beautiful and unique curios were
produced. These, too, have come down to the collector of the twentieth
century, and help him to secure specimens representing every decade, so
that in a large collection, carefully selected, the slow and yet sure
progress made in the fine arts, and the improvement in the ornamental
surroundings in the home, is made clear. In each one of the different
groups into which household curios may be divided there are many
distinctive objects, all of which are in themselves interesting, but
when viewed in association with other things which have been used at
contemporary periods, or associated with the home life of persons
similarly situated, but dwelling in different localities, are doubly
interesting.


The Influence of Prevailing Styles.

In determining the origin of curios, and defining the periods during
which they have been made, it is useful to have at least a little
knowledge of the influence or character of the prevailing styles in the
countries of origin. French art has exercised a great influence upon the
productions of other nations; it has also been moulded by the curios and
other articles of foreign origin then being sold in France. Regal and
political influence have left their mark upon almost every period of
French art, and have had much to do with the contemporary art of other
nations, for France was for centuries a guide in most of the fine arts,
and especially in those things which tended towards decorative effect.
The furniture of France may be said to be an exponent of the country's
history, so great has been the connection between French art, controlled
by passing events, and its commercial products. It is said that the
State pageants of the Louis XIV period tended to raise the tone of the
work of French artisans and to encourage artists. That was a period of
great development, for in the year 1670 the famous tapestry factories
sprang into existence; and it must be admitted that the designing of
those wonderful textiles influenced the manufacturers of furniture and
smaller objects both in France and in other countries.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--ANDIRONS WITH RATCHETS.

FIG. 3.--ORNAMENTED CRESSET DOGS.

FIG. 4.--TELESCOPIC RUSH AND CANDLE HOLDER.

FIG. 5.--RATCHET RUSH AND CANDLE HOLDER.]

Sir Christopher Wren is reputed to have been carried away by the
influence of the Louis XIV art. It was in that King's reign, too, that
Charles Boule perfected his veneers of tortoiseshell and fine brass
work. Buhl cabinets, fancy boxes, and many smaller objects found their
way into this country, and are now household curios. When Philip of
Orleans was Regent of France Boule introduced vermilion and gold-leaf as
the groundwork upon which to throw up the beauty of tortoiseshell, and
his designs became lavishly extravagant. Of these there are some
beautiful examples extant; one, a facsimile of a bureau made in Paris in
1769, so elaborate that its cost was reputed to have been about £20,000,
is to be seen in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House. In the reign
of Louis XV great encouragement was given to the importation of lacquer
work from China, influencing the creation of similar works in France;
and it was owing to his support that the Vernis Martin enamels or
varnishes were produced. Then came those beautiful paintings of
landscapes with which so many of the rarer household curios dating from
that period were ornamented.

The French style came over the Channel. Thus it was that French
influence, as shown in its art in which its political history was
reflected, permeated into the workshops of England. Then came the
popularity of the designs of the Adam Brothers and Sheraton. During the
Revolution in France art was at a standstill, but as soon as Napoleon
had established his Empire artistic France began again, and we see its
influence in the Empire ornament of furniture and curios. Perhaps one of
the most striking instances of change in style was that in our own
country when the Prince of Orange came over and William and Mary were
crowned King and Queen. Dutch influence on the art of Great Britain was
immediately seen, and in the curios of that period there is a remarkable
difference between those produced at that time, when Englishmen were
content to allow the art of another nation to dominate their work, and
those of an earlier date. Dutch marquetry is seen in cabinets and
smaller household antiques in the manufacture of which panels were
applicable. There was a change in design about the year 1695, just after
Mary died, the characteristic seaweed following the floral, as if the
very flowers had been banished after the Queen's death. The influence of
the King and of his successors was very noticeable in the style and
decoration of household goods; the history of this country at that time,
just as the history of France had been, was reflected in the art of its
craftsmen.


A Cultivated Taste.

The love of the antique is regarded by some as a cultivated taste. The
specialization upon any one branch of household curios may justly be
regarded as such, but surely not the regard, almost reverence, for
family relics, although they are but the common things of everyday life!
Their collection stimulates the connoisseur, and encourages him to fresh
exertions, and in that sense the habit of keeping a keen look out for
anything that may illumine previous researches or add greater lustre to
those things already secured, is gradually cultivated.

Household curios are not unassociated with the folklore of the district
where such objects have been made, or were commonly in use; and the very
names of many things, the uses of which are almost forgotten, are
suggestive of former occupations and older methods of practising
household economy and the preparation of food. It is common knowledge
that the purest old English is met with in the dialects of the
countryside, and oftentimes once household words, now lost in modern
speech, are found again when the old names or original purposes of the
curios remaining to us are discovered. The cultivation of a taste for
gathering together household antiques is much to be desired, and in the
pursuit of such knowledge there is great pleasure--and as the value of
genuine antiques is ever rising, some profit, too.



II

THE INGLE SIDE



CHAPTER II

THE INGLE SIDE

     Fire-making appliances--Tinder boxes--The fireplace--Andirons
     and fire-dogs--Sussex backs--Fireirons and fenders--Trivets and
     stools--Bellows.


In winter the ingle side, or its equivalent in a modern house, appears
to be the chief centre of attraction. It was ever so; and to-day the
lessened necessity for crowding round the fire and sitting in the ingle
nook, owing to modern methods of distributing the heat, in no way
lessens the attraction which draws an Englishman to the fire. In the
United States of America stoves of various kinds are deemed good
substitutes, but in this country the open fire is preferred, and modern
scientific research aims at perfecting and improving existing accepted
methods of heating and warming rooms rather than of displacing them.

In the days when the earliest collectable curios of the ingle side were
being made by the village smith, and the local sculptor and mason were
preparing the chimney corner and the mantelpiece to surround the
fireplace, it was in front of the great open fire in the kitchen,
before which the large joints were roasted, that the retainers of the
baron and the landowner or lord of the manor assembled on winter nights.
It was around the fire which crackled on the hearth in the great hall
that the more favoured ones forgathered, and in the lesser homestead the
family drew up their chairs and found seats in the ingle nook, near the
fire, when snow was upon the ground, and frost and cold draughts made
them shiver in the houseplace.

The fireplace has its attractions still, and builders and architects
have designed many cosy corners within reach of the fire. The
furnishings of the hearth have become more decorative as times have
become more luxurious and art has gained the ascendant; and sometimes
their greater ornament has been at the sacrifice of utility, but the
root principles of construction as seen in the older grates and fire
appointments remain.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--ANCIENT ROMAN FIRE-DOG.

(_In the National Museum at Naples._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--SUSSEX GRATE BACK, DATED 1588.]


Fire-making Appliances.

It seems natural to inquire into the origin of the need of a fireplace,
and to do so we must go back to prehistoric times and trace the
discovery of fire-making apparatus, for without the means of lighting a
fire it is obvious that the grate would be useless. With the fire came
artificial light, the two great discoveries being perfected side by
side, sometimes the one gaining ground, at others the one that had
fallen behind shooting ahead as the result of some great discovery, or
the application of scientific principles not deemed of utility to the
one or the other as the case might be. The fire-making appliances
which were in use for the purpose of lighting fires were of course used
long before any scheme of artificial lighting--apart from the flames and
radiance from the fire. Professor Flinders Petrie, that great
investigator into the antiquities of the Ancients, tells us that
fire-making by friction has been found to exist in far-off times. It
would appear that the discovery of how to produce fire has been
accomplished independently by men living under very different conditions
and at all ages. The fire-making of the Ancients has been rediscovered
by primitive people in more recent days, although it is probable that
native races who until recently have been living apart from the great
world outside have moved slowly in their march of civilization, and have
been using the same methods as those first tried by their ancestors ages
ago. In the unrivalled collection of appliances got together by
Professor Petrie, there are fire drills from the Transvaal, bow drills
used by the Esquimaux, and fire ploughs from North Queensland. Lighting
fires must have been a slow and difficult task in the days when tinder
boxes were in request, for when Curfew rang and the _couvre de feu_ had
done its work there was no fire in which to thrust the torch, and the
entire process had to be gone over again when the fire had once more to
be kindled.


Tinder Boxes.

The tinder box, formerly a real necessary, was to be found in every
house, and in many instances, in the days before lucifer matches, it was
a desirable pocket companion. Tinder boxes were made of different
materials; some were of wood, others of iron or brass. They lent
themselves to ornamentation: thus some were engraved and quite artistic;
many of the more recent ones were made of tin, and on the covers were
decorative little scenes. The contents of the tinder boxes were of
course flint and steel and tinder (something very inflammable, such as
scorched linen), with a damper for extinguishing the smouldering fire
after a light had been obtained, or in later days by the sulphur-tipped
match applied to it. Among the varieties are what are termed pistol
tinder boxes, instruments which contained a small charge of gunpowder,
which, when fired, lighted the tinder. Tinder pouches or purses
containing flint and tinder having a piece of steel riveted on to the
edge of the purse or pouch were a common form. Those brought over from
Central Asia were frequently decorated with dragons and the swastika
symbol, in damascened work.

Many inventions were put forward by chemists before the perfecting of
the common match, the wax vesta, and the fusee. One of these was Berry's
apparatus, which he devised in the beginning of the nineteenth century,
calling it a "contrivance for lighting lamps in the dark." It consisted
of an acid bottle with a string by which a conical stopper could be
raised, and a chlorate match held against the stopper became ignited.

Match boxes are collectable, and collectors of fire-making and lighting
contrivances often include a few old matches. The lucifer match
consisted of sticks tipped with potassium chlorate and sugar, held
together with gum, igniting when touched with concentrated sulphuric
acid. They were invented in 1805, and by the year 1820 had quite taken
the place of tinder boxes. Various lighting pastes were used, until the
improvements which resulted in the "safety" matches. The dangerous
sulphur and white phosphorus have given place in modern match-making to
sesqui-sulphate mixtures; and wax vestas and other "strikers" have
superseded the curious objects the collector meets with.


The Fireplace.

In studying the curios of the fireplace, it is scarcely necessary to go
back beyond the grates and fire appointments which may be seen in the
old houses standing to-day. Even during the last generation or two there
have been many changes, and in rebuilding and refurnishing the
antiquities of the fireplace have in many instances been swept away.
During more recent days, however, there has been a greater appreciation
of the curio value of mantelpieces and old grates, and it is no uncommon
thing for hundreds and even thousands of pounds to be paid for rare
specimens.

In some instances the fireplace may truly be said to have been the
central attraction, for the old grates and mantelpieces have often
realized as much as the whole of the remainder of the materials secured
when an old house has been pulled down. Some of these mantelpieces of
olden time were magnificent memorials of the sculptor's and the carver's
art. They included overmantels, the entire breastwork of the chimney
often being covered with stone or marble or black oak, right up to the
ceiling or the cornice.

The open hearth was the earlier form of fireplace, and long before
chimneys were built logs of wood burned on it, and in still earlier
times in a basket or brazier, the smoke finding its way to the roof, the
rafters of which soon became blackened. Chimneys, however, are of early
date, and the household curios of the fireplace have almost entirely
been used under such conditions of fuel consumption, the up-draught of
the chimney carrying away the smoke and harmful gases. The firebacks and
the andirons, and later the fire-dogs, of the open fireplaces are
collectable curios of considerable interest, and the hobby may be
indulged in at a moderate cost. The collection of mantelpieces may be
left to the wealthy and to those who have baronial halls in which to
refix them. Fig. 1 represents an old fireplace in a panelled oak room
with a Tudor ceiling. There is a Sussex back of rather small size, and a
pair of andirons, on which a log of wood is shown reposing. An old
saucepan has been reared up in the corner, and there is a trivet on the
hearth. There is a very remarkable group of cresset dogs shown in Fig.
2. One pair of dogs or andirons has ratchets on which supplementary bars
were placed. These show an early advance from the simple andiron, and
point to the later developments of the fire-grate with the fast bars
which were to come. In the same group two rush-holders or candlesticks
are shown, one with a ratchet, the other adjusted on a simple rod, the
socket being held in place by a spring (see Figs. 4 and 5).

As time went on and change of fuel came about, the forests of England
being gradually consumed on the domestic hearth, coal was substituted
for the fast-vanishing wood. Then it was that a change was needed, and
instead of the open fireplace and the andirons on which the logs of wood
had formerly been laid, iron baskets or grates in which coal could be
placed were made, so that the scattering of fuel and cinders on the open
hearth could be prevented. Sussex backs gave place in time to the grate
in which a metal back was frequently incorporated, flanked by the dogs
in front. Then came the closed-in grates and the hob-registers of the
eighteenth century, many being designed after the beautiful
ornamentation produced by the Adam Brothers; also the decorative metal
work enriched with ormolu and brass, which in due course again gave way
to the plain and oftentimes ugly register grates of the Victorian Age,
which in more modern times have been displaced by the reproductions of
the antique, and by well-grates and scientifically constructed stoves
and heating radiators by which heat can be conserved, the draught of the
fire and the chimney regulated, and the coal burned more economically on
slow-combustion and semi-slow-combustion principles. Science has taught
builders and others how to radiate the heat, and prevent that waste
which formerly went up the chimney, so that the necessity to sit round
the fire is not as great as it once was, and rooms large and small are
more evenly heated. The fireplace has once more become a thing of
beauty, and all its appointments are rendered harmonious with the
furnishings of the home, whether they are modern replicas of the
homesteads of earlier periods or constructed according to the newer art
of the present day.


Andirons and Fire-dogs.

The brazier on a piece of stone in the centre of the room served well
when charcoal was plentiful, and although the smoke ascended amidst the
rafters the heat spread and there was plenty of room for many persons to
assemble "around" the fire. With chimneys built at the side of the house
for convenience, the timber was laid upon the hearth flag. Under the
conditions that appertained when great open chimneys allowed the rain
and snow to fall upon the fire or on the logs laid ready for the
burning, the difficulties of lighting a fire were experienced. Then the
local smith came to the aid of the "domestic" or serf, and hammered into
shape what were termed andirons, their use making it easier to light the
logs, giving a current of air under them, causing them to burn brighter.
The andirons were afterwards called fire-dogs, and in course of time
bars rested on hooks or ratchets, or were laid across the dogs.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--THREE SINGLE DOGS OR ANDIRONS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--PAIR OF DATED SUSSEX ANDIRONS (1625).

FIG. 10.--PAIR OF SUSSEX ANDIRONS.

(_In the collection of Mr. Wayte, of Edenbridge._)]

There are no records of the earliest inventors of andirons or dogs. It
is quite clear that small fire-dogs were in use in Rome at an early
period; the one illustrated in Fig. 6, measuring 6¾ in. in height, of
artistic form, two draped figures being the supports of the arch, is in
the National Museum in Naples, where there are many other beautiful
examples of early Roman metal work. In the seventeenth century some of
the more elaborate ornamental cast brass fire-dogs were enriched with
black and white or blue and white enamel, several varieties of fireside
ornaments being decorated in the same way.

Enamel thus applied to metal is exceptionally valuable, as much as two
hundred guineas being paid for an enamelled pair of fire-dogs. It is the
ordinary forms of cast or wrought dogs with which collectors are mostly
familiar, especially those made in the famous Sussex ironfields, such as
those shown in Figs. 8, 9, and 10, which are of early date, the pair
illustrated in Fig. 9 being dated 1625, the others probably
contemporary. Single examples of similar designs are shown in Fig. 8.
The need of the metal furnishings of the hearth--as the chimney places
of the smaller manor houses and the dwellings of the traders were being
erected--caused an impetus to the trade of the ironfounder and smith,
and the founders and smiths of the Sussex villages came to the aid of
the builder. There are dated examples from the sixteenth century
onwards, recording the periods when these interesting souvenirs of
domestic building and the great Sussex ironfields--now deserted--were in
operation.


Sussex Backs.

There is a peculiar attraction about the castings made in Sussex in the
days when the foundries of that county were in full work, and many
villages were filled with busy pattern-makers, moulders, and founders
carrying on a thriving industry in districts which have now been given
up to the plough; for the Sussex ironfields have been abandoned, as when
the timber of the district was consumed it was impossible to work the
forges economically, for coal was far distant and transport costs
prohibitive. The old grate backs for which the Sussex foundries were
famous in the seventeenth century were often modelled on Dutch designs,
and some showed German characteristics. There are many noted English
designs, too, mostly taking the forms of coats of arms and the shields
and crests of the landlords for whom the stove-plates were made, some
becoming "stock" patterns and often duplicated. There is quite a fine
collection of these grate backs in several museums, and some good
examples can still be bought from dealers whose agents secure them from
time to time when property is being rebuilt. In the Victoria and Albert
Museum there is a long oblong plate on which is cast the arms of Browne
of Brenchley, in Kent, probably made in the second half of the
seventeenth century. There are others with cherubs and curious
supporters of shields of arms. A still earlier piece, probably cast
about the year 1600, is an oblong Sussex back deeply recessed, on which
is the arms of John Blount, Earl of Devonshire, another bearing the
Royal arms of the Tudor period. In Hampton Court Palace there are some
especially fine grate backs, mostly bearing the Royal arms. At a little
earlier period the cast grate backs were chiefly plain with isolated
crests or designs scattered over the surface, often quite irregularly.

The three fine examples of Sussex backs illustrated are typical of
popular styles. Fig. 11 shows the Royal lion of England, accompanied by
the emblems appearing on the Royal arms in the seventeenth century; the
Tudor rose crowned, the Scottish thistle, and the French fleur-de-lis
indicative of the throne of France to which English sovereigns then laid
some claim. The date of this fine back is 1649. Fig. 7 is of an earlier
period, being dated 1588, beneath which are the initials "I.F.C." There
are also roses and fleurs-de-lis, as well as anchors and other emblems.
The back shown in Fig. 12 has for its design the Royal arms surrounded
by the Garter, and the initials "C.R.," a design which was duplicated
very extensively soon after the Restoration. It will be noticed that the
Royal arms formed the design of the Sussex back shown in position in
Fig. 1. Some of the German and Dutch designs are very curious, many of
them representing scriptural subjects, like Moses and the brazen
serpent; the death of Absalom; the temptation of Joseph; and the
often-repeated story of the Garden of Eden.

In the American museums there are some very interesting examples of
foundry work; some of the cast backs, evidently modelled on German or
Dutch designs, take the form of stove-plates, including both front and
side plates, mostly bearing dates in the middle of the eighteenth
century. Pennsylvania was the chief district in which these plates were
made, some being cast by William Siegel, who went to America from
Germany in 1758, and erected what was known as the Berkshire furnace. A
curious early stove-plate in an American collection, dated 1736, has
upon it a scene known as "the dance after the wedding." It is said to
have been used in the front of what was known as the German wall-warming
stove.

In form the Sussex shape is usually rectangular--that is, wider than its
height. It would appear as if the back was at first moulded from a
wooden plate, the crest, initials, or design being then impressed by
movable moulds or stamps, generally of wood. These were irregularly
placed, consequently crowns, roses, crosses, family badges, and all
kinds of emblems were dotted promiscuously over the plate. Some of the
plain plates with cable-twist borders were probably used as hearthstones
and not as backs. The styles which were gradually developed were chiefly
on the same lines as those which became popular in France. Their use
lingered long in that country for until recently in many an old family
mansion might have been seen a _plaque de cheminée_, on which was the
coat of arms and supporters of the original owner of the château, and
sometimes of the kings of France. The Sussex ironfounders worked chiefly
at Cowden, Hawkhurst, and Lamberhurst, and there were forges at
Cranbrook, Coudhurst, Tonbridge, and Biddenden. The principal
ironmasters of Kent were the Knights and the Tichbornes, whose
descendants became baronets.

    "Life is not as idle ore,
    But iron dug from central gloom,
    And heated hot with burning fears,
    And dipped in baths of hissing tears,
    And battered with the shocks of doom
    To shape and use."

                        TENNYSON, _In Memoriam_.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--SUSSEX BACK WITH ROYAL EMBLEMS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--SUSSEX BACK WITH ARMS AND ROYAL INITIALS.

(_In the collection of Mr. Wayte, of Edenbridge._)]


Fireirons and Fenders.

Fire brasses or fireirons came into vogue with grates, although the sets
now regarded as old fire brasses, some of which are very elaborate and
massive, made at the beginning of the nineteenth century, were first
used when fenders came into vogue; instead of being reared up alongside
the fire-dogs in the chimney corner they rested on the fenders. There is
not much to distinguish the variations in fireirons except the obvious
indications of older workmanship and design, when contrasted with modern
"irons." The shovel pans gave the artist in metal some opportunity for
showing his skill in design and perforated work. It is probable that the
earliest form of shovel was that known as the "slide," its use being to
shovel up the ashes of a wood fire, an operation necessary more
frequently then than in modern days when coal has been the principal
fuel consumed. Some of the older specimens are dated, and bear the
owner's initials; thus one authentic specimen from Shopnoller, in the
Quantock Hills, is engraved, "I T. 1784." Many of the Dutch metal
workers produced very beautiful and decorative stands on which miniature
sets of rich brasses were hung; some of the old English fireside stands
were arranged as receptacles for tongs, shovel, and brush, and now and
then the baluster stem supported by a tripod base had a central
attachment from which a toddy kettle could be slung. The brass toddy
kettle formerly stood upon the hob of the grate, singing merrily, always
ready for the cup of tea which "cheers but not inebriates," or, as was
frequently the case, for the preparation of hot toddy or spirit.

The evolution of the fender forms a pleasing story in connection with
the ingle side. Perhaps the earlier form likely to interest collectors
of household curios is that made of perforated brass, often some 8 in.
or 10 in. in depth. These fenders standing on claw feet were afterwards
fitted with bottom plates of iron, on which was a ridge or rest against
which the fire brasses were prevented from slipping. Then came iron or
steel scroll-shaped fenders, tapering down from a few inches in height
at the ends to centres almost level with the ground. To obviate the
inconvenience of there being no resting-place for the fireirons loose
supports were fitted into sockets at the ends, and these afterwards were
cast as part of the scroll. Then came the stiff and formal early
Victorian metal work--iron fenders with steel tops relieved occasionally
by ormolu ornament. These in their turn gave way to fender kerbs of
metal, stone, marble, or tiles, and loose ornamented fire-dogs which
have in more recent times served as rests for the fire brasses.


Trivets and Stools.

Combination appliances were early adopted, although we are apt at times
to associate combined utensils with modern innovations. The old English
trivet of wrought iron made in the eighteenth century was frequently
"improved" by the addition of a toasting fork, which could be adjusted
and set at certain angles so that the toast could be left in front of
the fire for a few moments until it was quite ready to be taken off and
put on a plate standing conveniently on the trivet until the dish or
rack of toast was complete. (Some scarce trivets are illustrated in
"Chats on Old Copper and Brass.")

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--FINE CARVED WALNUT WOOD BELLOWS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]


Bellows.

The Germans were noted for the manufacture of decorative bellows cut and
carved in quaint designs, some of the finest examples being made in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Others were made in Holland, some
of the Dutch bellows being inlaid with mother-o'-pearl. There are also
examples of old English carving, the style of the ornament taking the
form of the designs on contemporary oak furniture. Some of the largest
and handsomest bellows of English make are of late seventeenth-century
workmanship. The example illustrated in Fig. 13 is a magnificent
specimen, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington.



III

THE LIGHTS OF FORMER DAYS



CHAPTER III

THE LIGHTS OF FORMER DAYS

     Rushlights and holders--Candles, moulds, and boxes--Snuffers,
     trays, and extinguishers--Oil lamps--Lanterns.


Household lighting has been one continuous effort to render the hours of
darkness bright, and to provide by artificial means a luminosity which
would, if not actually rivalling the sun, enable men to carry on their
usual avocations with the same ease, convenience, and comfort after
daylight had disappeared as during the earlier portion of the day. Every
stage which has been advanced in artificial lighting has been welcomed
in the home just as much as in the factory and in the workshop, for
there are many daily duties as well as pleasures and amusements which
are carried out much more satisfactorily when a good light is available
than when there are shadows and dark corners only dimly lighted.

To realize what artificial lighting was in the days now happily long
past, it would be necessary to visit some old-world village, if one
could be found, where there had been no attempt at street lighting, and
in which not even oil had penetrated. The candles of very early times
did not give more than a dim glimmer, and the darkness of mediæval
England can be imagined from the primitive lighting appliances which are
preserved. Fortunately the entire story of lighting as science came to
the aid of trader and householder is revealed in the lights of former
days, which as time went on became more varied and numerous, found in
collections of well-authenticated specimens. The suggested caution
implied is not unnecessary, for the periods overlap, and there is but
little to show when such things as lamps and lanterns were actually
made.


Rushlights and Holders.

In tracing the development of lighting from quite homely beginnings,
rushlights, prepared by the cottager and the farm hand for the winter
supply, seem to come first on the list. Rushlights, however, were used
in this country by many until comparatively recent times side by side
with lights much more advanced. But centuries earlier than we have any
record of artificial lighting in this country, and equally as long
before any of the earliest British curios of lighting were used,
lighting engineers, if we may so call them, in Greece, Rome, Egypt, and
still earlier in other Eastern countries, were far advanced. None of the
lighting schemes of the Ancients, however, produced much more than the
dim light of the swinging lamp in which oil was consumed.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--THREE RUSHLIGHT HOLDERS.

(_In the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--THREE VARIETIES OF OLD OIL LAMPS.]

To range side by side a number of rushlight holders taken from districts
widely apart, it becomes evident that there was a striking similarity
between the earlier types. The smiths everywhere seem to have
fashioned a simple contrivance by which the rushlight or early candle
could be held upright, and then, to give the "stick" solidity, the iron
shaft was fastened securely into a wooden block, which was very often
quite out of proportion to the size and weight of the stand, and
apparently unnecessarily large and heavy. In the larger examples the
holder is often made to slide upon an upright rod so as to be useful at
different heights. The sliding rod was needed, for the light so dim
could only be of real service when quite close to the person using it,
or to the work it was intended to illumine (see Figs. 4 and 5).

Although some of the more elaborate and advanced holders were of copper
or brass, most of them were of iron, the work of local smiths, few of
whom made any attempt to decorate what they evidently regarded as
strictly utilitarian articles (see Fig. 14). Although rushlights
antedated candles, some of the holders were made to answer a dual
purpose, and on the same stem or slide as the rushlight holder there was
a candle socket, an important feature fully exemplified in Figs. 4 and
5.


Candles, Moulds, and Boxes.

The collector of household curios does not trouble about the candles;
his object is to secure a few candle moulds, candle boxes, and, of
course, candlesticks. It may, however, be convenient here to refer to
the moulding of candles which was at one time a domestic duty just as it
had been to collect rushes and after they were dried dip them in fat,
and to make lights which would burn with more or less steadiness.

The candles were made from various fats, much of which was accumulated
in the kitchen during the processes of cooking, supplemented by other
ingredients deemed best for the purpose. The candle moulds or tubes in
which wicks were inserted were of varying capacities and ranged from two
to a dozen or more. The moulds were dipped in troughs of fat, having
been heated sufficiently to melt the fat. The process was by no means
new, in that it was used in this country by the Saxons; and at a still
earlier period candles were made by the Romans, for among the sundry
objects picked up among the uncovered ruins of Herculaneum have been
small pieces of candle ends.

There was but little advance in the art of candle-making, for the
candle, briefly described as a rod of solidified tallow or wax
surrounding a wick, remained almost unimproved until the eighteenth
century, when spermaceti was introduced, and in more recent years
paraffin has been substituted.

Candles were hung up by their wicks in bunches until required for use,
but those needed for immediate supply were always kept in candle boxes.
It is these boxes of copper, brass, and tin which are sought after. The
decorated japanned tin boxes are very pleasing, and some of the best,
ornamented after the "Chinese style" or painted with little scenes, and
rich in gold ornament, especially those made with other japanned wares
at Pontypool in South Wales, are desirable acquisitions.

Of the varieties of candlesticks there is no end. The two great
divisions are the pillar or table candlesticks, and the chamber
candlesticks. The first named are chiefly seen with a small socket and
flange to catch the running tallow, the last mentioned have larger
dishes which catch the drips from candles which are being carried about.
Among the varieties are the earliest form of pricket candlestick on
which the candle was "stuck," the bell candlesticks, and the
candlesticks which were fixed on brackets against the wall. As time went
on varied materials were introduced, and ornament was chiefly in accord
with prevailing styles, which influenced the maker of candlesticks as
all other metal work. Iron, copper, brass, pewter, silver, and Britannia
metal and wood have been used, and many of the handsomest chandeliers
and brackets are those made of lustres and cut glass. The large
chandeliers hung a century or two ago at great expense in the centre of
large rooms have frequently been retained, and gas and electric light
have been introduced instead of candles. In Fig. 16 we illustrate two
exceedingly well-preserved old walnut floor-candlesticks, with brass
sconces. They come from the Sister Isle, where there are still curios to
be met with.


Snuffers, Trays, and Extinguishers.

There were difficulties to contend with in the use of candles, chiefly
on account of the irregular burning of candles when exposed to the
slightest draught, and to the imperfect combustion, which left a charred
piece of wick which it was necessary to remove to make the candle burn
once more. Then, again, the extinction of a burning candle involved some
skill, and instruments were devised to effect this without causing
unpleasant odours or smoke to arise. Previous to the use of lanterns out
of doors, and oftentimes when halls and corridors were imperfectly
lighted, torches thrust into the open fire and thus lighted were used.
Extinguishers of iron were frequently erected near an outside door, or
added to the iron railings outside the house. These were for the purpose
of extinguishing links--many such are to be seen still outside old
London houses. They were the prototypes from which originated the
ordinary form of chamber candle extinguisher, frequently fastened to the
"stick" by a chain.

The extinguishers used in the early days of candles are known now as
snuffer-extinguishers, to distinguish them from snuffers (the old name
was _doubters_). In form they were not unlike scissors; the two circular
metal plates of which they were formed closed in and compressed the
wick, thereby extinguishing the light. The earlier snuffers had very
large boxes, and some were remarkably handsome, an exceptionally fine
example being shown in Fig. 17. They were discovered in an old house at
Corton, in Dorset, in 1768, and were described by a writer towards the
close of the eighteenth century thus: "They are of brass and weigh about
6 ounces. Their construction consists of two equilateral cavities, by
the edges of which the snuff is cut off and received into the cavity
from which it is not got out without much trouble." Snuffers of iron,
and later of steel, are the commoner forms, but they are frequently
of brass and of silver and Sheffield plate.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--TWO WALNUT WOOD FLOOR-CANDLESTICKS.

(_In the collection of W. Egan & Sons, Ltd., of Cork._)]

The need of some convenient tray or receptacle for the snuffers, not
always over-clean when they had been used a few times, was met at first
by what are known as snuffer stands made of wrought metal, and often
very ornamental. Then came the oblong tray of convenient shape,
following in its decoration and ornament prevailing styles in other
domestic tin or metal work. In this connection it should be pointed out
that there are many varieties of taper holders and stands used for the
small wax tapers, then common on the writing table.


Oil Lamps.

Although oil had long been a recognized illuminant from which a good
artificial light could be obtained, it was not until the eighteenth
century that any marked attempt was made to substitute oil for candles
in this country. For really beautiful lamps we have to go back to the
bronze lamps of ancient Greece and Rome, and the terra-cotta lamps of
the early Christians, many of which were exceedingly interesting.
Householders in England, and in America, too, preferred the beautiful
silver candlesticks and those charming and artistic scrolls which once
decorated the walls of the houses of the well-to-do. There came a time,
however, when oil lamps were reinstated, and although candles still held
sway and were difficult to displace, inventors and makers of oil lamps
began to compete for the lighting industry. The three old lamps now in
the Cardiff Museum, shown in Fig. 15, must be classed among the commoner
types of early lamps, once plentiful in farmhouses and cottages.

The lamp used on the table in Victorian days was the moderator lamp, the
principle of which was a spring forcing the oil up through the
burner--but such lamps have no claim upon the curio hunter either for
beauty of form or rarity of material. These lamps, which burned colza or
seed oil, were superseded in time by paraffin and petroleum lamps. Now
and then some wonderful invention flashed across the scene, but although
various modern improved burners have come and gone, the lamp, excepting
for purposes of ornament and decorative effect, has given way to coal
gas and, in more modern times, to electric lighting. There are few
household curios of any value associated with oil lighting, and as yet
gas is too new!


Lanterns.

The portable lantern made of iron and tin and glazed with horn was long
an indispensable feature in every household. Horn lanterns were carried
about everywhere in the days before street lighting was general, and to
some extent they are needed in country districts to-day. There is a
remarkable similarity between the modern glass lanterns of circular type
and the old watchman's lanterns of a couple of centuries ago. The same
design seems to have served the purpose through many generations, and to
have been duplicated again and again. Among the ancient lanterns are
some in which candles have been burned, and others where the candle
socket has been utilized for the insertion of a socket oil lamp. In more
modern times the horn has given place to glass. The carriage lamps of
former days served their purposes well, and although some are certainly
antique, they are by no means desirable curios. The light they gave when
driving through a country lane was indeed a dim flicker compared with
the powerful arcs of the modern motor-car.

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--FINE PAIR OF ANCIENT SNUFFERS.]

The beacon fire is no longer seen on housetops, neither is the lantern
in the yard and the vestibule furnished with a candle; but curiously
enough, even in the most modern appointed houses, so great is the love
for the antique in the furnishings of to-day, that beautifully modelled
little replicas of the old horn lanterns are hung in entrance halls and
passages--but instead of the candle there is the electric bulb!



IV

TABLE APPOINTMENTS



CHAPTER IV

TABLE APPOINTMENTS

     Cutlery: Knives, forks, and spoons--Salt cellars--Cruet
     stands--Punch and toddy--Porringers and cups--Trays and
     waiters--The tea table--Cream jugs--Sugar tongs and
     nippers--Caddies--Cupids--Nutcrackers--Turned woodware.


It is very difficult to realize in these days of refinement and of
comparative luxury, even in the homes of the working classes, what the
table appointments must have been in early English homes. Sometimes
glowing accounts are given of the feasting of olden time; but no doubt
many of the great occasions contrasted in their luxurious magnificence
with the usual mode of living. They were, however, the days of feeding
rather than of refinement in partaking of the sumptuous feast. The table
appointments on such occasions were crude and simple, and they were
altogether absent from the tables of the lower classes. It is difficult,
indeed, to realize that the conditions under which people lived in
mediæval England, in the days when the baron and his followers assembled
in the great hall, and with his chosen companions sat above the salt,
satisfied men of wealth; it was, however, in accord with the spirit of
the age.

The primitive methods of serving up food and eating it observed by the
majority of people then would be looked upon with disgust nowadays by
every one. The table appointments were not only very few, but those
which were used, like the knife and spoon, were often brought into the
feasting hall by those who were to use them. The polished oaken board
was often laden with rough and readily prepared dishes, the result of
some fortunate expedition or of a prosperous hunt. The knife was the
chief implement used until comparatively recent days, for forks are
quite a modern innovation. The spoon, it is true, goes back to hoary
antiquity, but in England, even in the Middle Ages, spoons were used
chiefly for ecclesiastical purposes. In Harrison's _Elizabethan England_
we read that the times had changed, for instead of "treen platters"
there were pewter plates, and tin or silver spoons instead of wood.


Cutlery: Knives, Forks, and Spoons.

The term "cutlery," derived from _coutellerie_, the French for cutlery,
had been evolved from _culter_, the Latin for knife. Primarily it
referred to cutting instruments, and especially to knives, but in a
general way, when speaking of table cutlery, spoons and forks may
appropriately be included. Early records referring to cutlery
indiscriminately use the terms knives and swords; indeed, the arms
granted to the London Cutlers' Company in the sixteenth year of the
reign of Edward IV are two swords, crossed; later a crest, consisting
of an elephant bearing a castle, was added. Homer tells us of knives
carried at the girdle in his day, and describes them as of triangular
form. The Anglo-Saxons and the Normans carried about with them met-soex
or eating knives, but it was not until the end of the fifteenth century
that knives were used at table, other than those which were carried at
the girdle, every man using his own cutlery. In England, Sheffield was
early noted for the manufacture of knives, for Chaucer tells us, "A
Scheffeld thwitel bare he in his hose." Another form of spelling the
word which denoted knife was _troytel_, and from these terms is derived
"whittle." The jack knife came in in the days of James I, after whom it
was named, the original term being Jacques-te-leg, these knives shutting
into a groove or handle without spring or lock.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--HANDSOMELY DECORATED KNIFE CASE AND CONTENTS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The making of a table knife even in early times necessitated the work of
many hands, for taking part in its production were the smiths who forged
it, the bladers who made the blade out of the metal already hammered,
and the haft-makers. When the knife was complete it was handed to the
sheath-makers, who fashioned the sheath of leather, and sometimes
encased it in metal. The host did not provide table cutlery for his
guests until the reign of Elizabeth. In earlier times it was left to the
traveller to provide himself with whatever he deemed necessary; thus it
is recorded that when Henry VI made a tour in the north he carried with
him knife, fork, and spoon, as it was stated "he scarcely expected to
find any at the houses of the nobility." From that custom, no doubt,
arose the common practice of fitting separate sets, and afterwards sets
for more than one person, in cases, the materials used being for many
years the beautifully embossed _cuir boulli_ leather work. Queen
Elizabeth carried her knife and other appointments at her girdle, a
custom followed by her ladies; although it is said that at the Court of
the virgin queen it was customary for the gentlemen courtiers to cut up
the meat on the platters of the fair ones with whom they were dining;
the ladies at that time being content to prove the truth of the adage,
"Fingers were made before forks."

Collectors soon realize that there were many forms of knives even
amongst those specially reserved for table use. Both blades and handles
have passed through many stages in the gradual evolution from the
hunting knife to the cutlery on the modern dinner table. The blades have
been narrow and pointed like daggers, and they have been
scimitar-shaped, and rounded off at the point. The qualities of the
material have changed, too, Sheffield cutlers and those of other places
vying with one another. The cutlery trade has long drifted north,
although at one time the members of the London Cutlers' Company were
proud of the quality of their goods, and boasted of their knives being
"London made, haft and blade." This ancient Guild tried hard to maintain
their pre-eminence, and in the days of Elizabeth obtained a Charter
prohibiting all strangers from bringing any knives into England from
beyond the seas.

The carving knife seems to have had a separate descent from the large
hunting knives used to cut up barons of beef, roasted oxen, and portions
which were cut off the joint for each individual or for several persons.

Forks for table use were a much later invention, although there were
larger meat forks, flesh forks, and heavier iron kitchen appliances (see
Chapter V).

In very early times small forks, of which there are some in the
Guildhall Museum dating from Roman and Saxon times, were chiefly used
for fruit. The use of forks at table, for meat, is attributed to the
invention of an Italian, and the custom thus started rapidly spread "in
good society" on the Continent of Europe. Thomas Coryate, a noted
traveller, is said to have introduced them into Germany, and afterwards
into England, where their use was at first much ridiculed as effeminate,
the "fork-carving" traveller being spoken of in contempt.

Forks were in regular use in England early in the sixteenth century.
Dean Stanley, in his _Memorials of Westminster Abbey_, quotes from the
Chapter Book of 1554, in which it is stated by Dean Weston (1553-6) that
the College dinners "became somewhat disorderly, _forks_ and knives were
tossed freely to and fro." The old table forks were two-pronged, the
prongs being long and set near together; the steel forks of the early
nineteenth century were three-pronged, and another prong was added
later, the latter form being adapted by the makers of silver forks in
more recent years.

In Fig. 18 is shown a very handsome knife case and its contents, which
are to be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In Fig. 19 another
example of a set of knife, fork, and spoon in the same collection is
illustrated.

The spoon is, like the knife, of great antiquity. It is said to have
been suggested by shells on the shore, and by the hollow of the hand
which in the most primitive days was used to drink with. The most
beautiful old spoons are those made of silver, a magnificent pair being
shown in Fig. 20. Many such spoons are now almost priceless, especially
the much-valued Apostle spoons, often given in olden time as christening
gifts. Silver spoons more correctly belong to antique silver, which
forms another branch of curio-collecting.

Of spoons there are many made of other materials than silver, some being
carved in wood (see Chapter XIII), others of ivory, and some of bone.
Many of the older spoons were made of brass or latten; but when silver
became popular table spoons of silver were procured whenever it was
possible to afford them, and a collection including in the varieties the
Apostle and the seal top, and its various developments from the rat-tail
to the fiddle, is obtainable. As regarding spoons Westman has written:
"The spoon is one of the first things wanted when we come into the
world, and it is one of the last things we part with before we go out."

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--KNIFE, FORK, AND SPOON.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The collector revels in the beautifully engraved blades of the rarer
curios; in the handles so varied in their materials and ornament; and in
the cases in which knives, forks, and spoons have in many instances been
preserved. From the curios in museums and from family treasures it is
evident that much of the cutlery has been presented as donations to the
housekeeping outfit of a newly-married couple, or given as presentation
sets or pieces on some special occasion; just as cutlery is often chosen
for presentation purposes to-day.

From the sixteenth century onwards such sets have been made and
presented. The recently arranged cutlery room in the Victoria and Albert
Museum at South Kensington, that great art treasure-house of the nation,
contains an exceptionally representative collection. In some instances
the examples are only single specimens which may have been presented
separately, or they may have formed part of a more complete set. There
are sets of carving knives with long blades, forks with double prongs,
and broad-pointed flat-bladed servers, many of them etched and engraved
all over. Even after carvers were regular features on the table the
small knives and forks were brought by the guests who were bidden to the
feast, for it must be remembered that it was not until 1670 that Prince
Rupert brought the first complete set of forks to this country.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a very beautiful little
knife, the handle of which is delicately carved, the group which
constitutes the design representing our first parents standing beneath
the Tree of Knowledge, in the midst of which the wily serpent is
cunningly concealed.

Another pair consisting of a very handsome knife and fork have handles
representing animals and grotesque figures. These were the work of Dutch
artists in the seventeenth century; but curiously enough the quaint
leather case in which this knife and fork are enclosed was evidently of
earlier date, for it has upon it "1598." Some of the cases of leather
made by the _cuir boulli_ process are circular, there being separate
holes for each of the knives they were intended to contain. Some of the
knives are very curious, especially those with wooden or horn handles of
sixteenth and early seventeenth-century make, which have been found in
considerable numbers in Moorfields and Finsbury, along with sharpening
steels. The ordinary table knives of a little later date, when they were
sold in half-dozens and dozens along with two-pronged forks, were
decorative, their handles being made of materials varying in quality and
in the excellence of their manufacture. One of the most beautiful sets
of rare historic value now on view in the Victoria and Albert Museum is
part of a set of fourteen, the ivory handles being carved to represent
the kings and queens of England. These rare examples of the English
cutler's and ivory carver's art, dated 1607, have blades damascened with
gold. There are knives also with handles of amber, one very remarkable
set in amber over foil being decorated with the figure of Christ and His
Apostles on one side of the handles, and on the other side there is the
Apostles' Creed.

Among other materials used in the manufacture of handles for knives and
forks, some of the latter having two prongs and others three, chiefly
made in the eighteenth century, are: Battersea enamel on copper,
Staffordshire agate ware, Meissen porcelain, Venetian millefiore glass,
Bow porcelain, jasper, Venetian aventurine glass, enamelled earthenware,
and Chantilly porcelain. In many instances these handles made of such
beautiful materials are further decorated by miniature painted scenes
and floral ornaments. Another favourite material is bone, some of the
older handles being stained, mostly green, afterwards decorated with
applied silver in floral and geometrical designs. There are a few
maple-wood handles of the eighteenth century, and others of stag's horn
and of shagreen.

The knife box with its divisions, referred to elsewhere, is exemplified
in many remarkably fine cases to be seen in our museums and in isolated
specimens in private collections.

The interest in a collection of household utensils is greatly enhanced
by the halo of romance which surrounds the uses of some of them. This is
seen and understood by the collector of cutlery perhaps more than of
anything else, for many old customs have been associated with the giving
of cutlery, and superstitious beliefs have crept in.

The gift of cutlery at weddings was not always the prosaic thing it is
nowadays, for the cases and even the knives were often accompanied by
some sentimental rhyme or poetic inscription. Two knives, apparently the
gift of bride and bridegroom to one another, now in the British Museum,
are engraved with separate inscriptions. One reads:--

    "My love is fixt I will not range,
    I like my choice I will not change";

while on the other is engraved:--

    "Witt, wealth, and beauty all doe well
    But constant love doth fair excell. 1676."

The early uses of knives in association with religious rites are
interesting, as, for instance, the golden knife with which the old
Druids cut the mistletoe with pomp and much mystic ceremony. The early
Christians made use of the knife and symbolized the cross when feasting;
indeed, the old country habit--which is now deemed a sign of
vulgarity--of crossing the knife and fork after dining, took its origin
in that act of devotion, for together they form the Greek cross.
Browning refers to the custom when he says:--

    "Knife and fork he never lays
    Crosswise, to my recollection,
    As I do in Jesu's praise."

In Russia this custom of the peasantry was deep-rooted; and there they
were careful to take up the knife and fork and lay them down on the
plate crossed before commencing their often meagre meal.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--PAIR OF DECORATED SPOONS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Strange to say that although knives and forks have been crossed in
reverence, to cross knives has been deemed unlucky, and to present a
maiden with a pair of scissors--two crossed blades--has long been held
by those who believe in such signs as unlucky. To give a knife is to
"cut luck"--so the legend runs; hence so many when presenting a pocket
knife will demand a penny (as the smallest coin when silver pennies were
in circulation) in return. The Rev. Samuel Bishop, M.A., Master of the
Merchant Taylors' School in 1795, wrote the following lines on the
subject of presenting a knife to his wife:--

    "A knife, dear girl, cuts love, they say--
    Mere modish love perhaps it may:
      For any tool of any kind
    Can separate what was never join'd."


Salt Cellars.

The condiments of the table were usually supplied in separate vessels.
The use of salt with meat goes back to primitive times, although we have
few records of the vessels in which it was served. The Arab chief offers
his guest salt as an act of friendship, and as such it is partaken of.
The classic Ancients consecrated salt before using it, and the salt
cellar was placed upon the table together with the first fruits "for the
gods," those to whom they were offered being generally Hercules or
Mercury. The Greek salt cellars were shaped like bowls, and as the salt
became an important feature as a dividing line between rich and poor,
the size of the cellar grew. To realize the importance of the salt
cellar in mediæval England, we have only to visit the Tower of London,
where the great salt cellars of State are kept. The large standing salt
was the dividing line upon the table. Salt cellars dating from the
fourteenth century are in existence, and many curiously shaped designs
intervened before the bell-shaped salts which were fashionable in the
days of Elizabeth and the trencher salts of Queen Anne and the early
Georges. Salt cellars with feet came into fashion in the reign of George
II; then followed many minor changes until the beautifully perforated
salt cellars with blue liners bearing hall-marks dating from the close
of the eighteenth century came into vogue. It is from among the Georgian
table appointments that collectors gather most of their specimens. The
materials of which these salt cellars were made vary; there are sterling
silver, antique pewter, and Sheffield plate; and there are salt cellars
of china and porcelain which may well be included in a collection of
table curios.


Cruet Stands.

The separate bottles or cruets, casters, mustard pots, and very rarely
salts, were gradually gathered together and placed in a frame which grew
big in late Georgian and early Victorian days. For convenience the stand
was placed in the centre of the table, and often made to revolve. Such
cruets are met with in silver and other metals, also in papier-maché,
often ornamented with mother-o'-pearl and painted flowers. The greatest
interest, however, is found in collecting separate bottles, such as
those charming Bristol glass cruets, ornamented with flowers and
lettered with the names of their contents, such as "VINEGAR," "SALAD
OIL," "MUSTARD," "PEPPER."

There is a greater variety of form in the metal cruets and casters,
which followed the prevailing styles silversmiths were then employing.
Especially graceful are the old pepperettes and vase-shaped casters. The
woodturner, too, contributed to the table appointments of the eighteenth
century, and the carver made some curious and even grotesque figures,
the heads of which took off, and thus formed pepper casters. One of the
most noted grotesque sets reminds us of the Toby fill-pot jugs in form,
a complete set consisting of two salts, two mustards, and two pepper
pots. Genuine specimens are very difficult to meet with now, although
those Staffordshire cruets have been reproduced, and are offered either
singly or in sets; but the difference between the genuine antique and
the modern replica ought not to deceive even an amateur.

There are varieties of mustard pots, which were in turn round, oval,
square, hexagonal, and cylindrical, some being like miniature well
buckets with perforated sides and blue metal liners.


Punch and Toddy.

A hundred years ago the punch bowl was inseparable from the convivial
feast. It was a favourite sideboard ornament, and found in frequent use
on the dining table, round which smokers and card players drew up and
filled their glasses with punch and toddy. Ladles were indispensable,
and were varied in form and in the materials of which they were
composed. Punch ladles were in earlier days made of cherry-wood, mounted
with a silver rim and fitted with a long handle, often made of twisted
horn. The horn, which was somewhat pliable, was secured to the bowl by
a silver socket. Other ladles were made entirely of silver, some having
a current coin of the realm, a guinea preferably, fixed in the bottom of
the bowl--for luck. Some of the ladles were beautifully decorated in
repousse, others were shaped like sauce boats; there were ladles without
lips, others deep like the porringers, and yet others were quite round
like a drinking bowl. Some are family heirlooms, others have been
purchased in curio shops, and unfortunately during the last few years so
great has been the demand for them that many modern copies have been
palmed off as genuine antiques. The hall-mark on the rim is in many
instances a guarantee of age, although some of the genuine specimens do
not appear to have been hall-marked at all. The fact that an old coin is
found fixed within the bowl is no criterion of antiquity, and does not
always indicate that the punch ladle itself is contemporary with the
coin, for old coins are common enough and readily fixed in new ladles.

Collectors of old china simply revel in punch bowls. Punch was at the
height of its popularity when most of the domestic porcelain and
decorative china, now rare and valuable, was being made. The best known
potters in Worcester, Derby, Bristol, Liverpool, and the Potteries made
punch bowls, some ornamented with their characteristic decorations;
others were specially emblematical, such, for instance, as the bowls
covered with masonic signs; some were nautical in design, and many were
enriched with coats of arms and crests. Several of the punch bowls
belonging to the old City Companies are on view in the Guildhall Museum,
and isolated specimens are seen to be in other places.

Oriental china was at that time being imported into this country very
extensively, and some remarkably delicate bowls, contrasting with
Mason's strong ironstone, are obtainable. These bowls, ladles, and the
charming little egg-shaped boxes which formerly contained a nutmeg and a
tiny grater are household table furnishings of exceptional interest. It
may interest some to learn that punch, which came into vogue in the
seventeenth century, derived its name from a Hindustani word signifying
five, indicative of the five ingredients of which it was
composed--spirit, water, sugar, lemon, and spice.


Porringers and Cups.

Although sterling silver and other materials from which drinking vessels
are usually made have been exhaustively dealt with in other volumes of
the "Chats" series, as table appointments drinking cups must be referred
to here. Caudle cups were in use in the sixteenth century, and
throughout the century that followed they were used along with
porringers, which differed from them only in that the mouths of the
porringers were wider and the sides straight. The caudle cup, sometimes
called a posset cup, is met with both without and with cover, and in
some instances it is accompanied by a stand or tray. Caudle or posset
was a drink consisting of milk curdled with wine, and in the days when
it was drunk few went to bed without a cup of smoking hot posset. Many
of the early cups were beautifully embossed and florally ornamented,
although others were quite plain, with the exception of an engraved
shield, on which was a coat of arms, crest, or monogram. Many of the
porringers which followed the earlier type were octagonal, and in some
instances twelve-sided. In the reign of William and Mary the rage for
Chinese figures and ornaments caused English silversmiths to decorate
porringers with similar designs. The style which prevailed the longest
was that known as "Queen Anne," much copied in modern replicas. Very
pleasing, too, are eighteenth-century miniature porringers.

There is much to please in the work of the silversmith and potter, as
well as the glass blower, in the cups they fashioned; and the artist
admires the chased engraving or the rich colouring, and perchance the
etching and cutting of the cup. Some, however, show preference for the
earlier cups and drinking vessels of commoner materials, and for those
eccentricities of the table found in curious hunting cups, vessels which
had to be emptied at a draught, or to be drunk under the most difficult
conditions like the puzzle cups of Staffordshire make. The peg tankards
of ancient date, a very fine example originally belonging to the Abbey
of Glastonbury, afterwards in the possession of Lord Arundel of Wardour,
held two quarts, the pegs dividing its contents into half-pints
according to the Winchester standard. On that remarkable cup the twelve
Apostles were carved round the sides, and on the lid was the scene at
the Crucifixion.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--TWO WOODEN CUPS.

FIG. 22.--WOODEN FLAGON, WITH COPPER BANDS.

(_In the National Museum of Wales._)]

[Illustration: FIGS. 23, 24.--COCOANUT CUPS (SILVER-MOUNTED).

FIG. 25.--COCOANUT FLAGON.]

It is said that the pegs were first ordered by Edgar, the Saxon king, to
prevent excessive drinking, the tankard being passed round, every man
being expected to drink down to the next peg. Heywood, in his
_Philocathonista_, says: "Of drinking cups, divers and sundry sorts we
have, some of elm, some of box, and some of maple and holly." According
to the quaint spelling of those days there were then in use in Merrie
England: "Mazers, noqqins, whiskins, piggins, cringes, ale-bowls, wassel
bowls, tankard and kames from a pottle to a pint and from a pint to a
gill." The leather cups and tankards or black jacks (see Chapter VIII)
were mostly used in country places by "shepheards and harvesters." A
writer in a work published in the early years of the nineteenth century
says: "Besides metal and wood and pottery we have cups of hornes of
beasts, of cocker nuts, of goords, of eggs of ostriches, and of the
shells of divers fishes."

A simple cocoanut, mounted in silver and made into a cup, perhaps a
century or more ago, is by no means to be despised. Some are beautifully
polished and ornamented with incised work. Contemporary with the earlier
specimens are pots made of ostrich eggs, mounted in silver, regarded of
great value in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Some of the
university colleges possess fine examples, and there are many in the
hands of London silversmiths. Figs. 23 and 24 represent two cocoanut
cups with feet of silver, one engraved with the owner's initials, the
foot being decorated with bead ornament. Fig. 25 is a cocoanut mounted
as a flagon with handle of whalebone and rim and foot of silver. The
use of such cups seems to have been very generally distributed all over
the world, for there are many South American examples, as well as the
English varieties. The gourd, too, was used for similar purposes; the
Mexicans made such bowls and cups, finishing them off with silver mounts
and sometimes adding silver feet. There are French flasks made of small
gourds, sometimes scent flasks being made in the same way, not
infrequently decorated with incised inlays of coloured composition on a
black ground. Some of the English silversmiths engraved hunting scenes
on small flasks made of the rind of a gourd, choosing hunting scenes and
birds and familiar outdoor objects.

In Figs. 21 and 21A are shown two curious old wood drinking cups, and
Fig. 22 represents a wooden jug bound with copper.

Horn was a favourite material for cups, sometimes surmounted by
elaborate covers and feet of silver. One of the rarest drinking horns,
now in Queen's College, Oxford, was presented to the College by the
Queen of Edward III in 1340. Of later types there are beakers and
tumbler cups, the latter rounded at the base so that they were easily
upset, the idea being that they must be emptied at the first draught.
From these cups sprang the quaint hunting cups in porcelain, modelled in
the form of a hare's head, or like a fox, some of the scarcest being
evidently modelled for the fisherman's use, to take the form of a fish's
head.

The very remarkable drinking cup shown in Fig. 27 is made of walnut;
the ridges, carved in deep relief, stand out boldly, each one being
carved, the letters forming a complete metaphor, to which is added the
name of its original owner, the inscription reading as follows:--

    "TAKE . NOT . FROM . ME .
    AL . MY . STOR . AXCP . YE .
    FILL . ME . VEE . SVME . MOR .
    FOR . AV . TO . BORROV .
    AND . NEVER . TO . PAY .
    I . CALL . THAT .
    FOVLL . PLAY .
    ION WATSON 1695."


Trays and Waiters.

In olden time not very far from the dining table stood the cupboard or
buffet from which evolved the sideboard. On it were displayed the cups
and flagons and table appointments not actually in use. It is true the
servants carried the great dishes from the kitchen, and removed the
lesser vessels on trays and "waiters," and it is such trays, especially
those in silver and Sheffield plate used in the last century, which are
now valuable. The waiter or serving man or woman has been an essential
feature in domestic service from the earliest times, for the history of
society invariably records those who wait at table:--

    "The waiters stand in ranks; the yeomen cry
    'Make room,' as if a duke were passing by."
                                  SWIFT.

It is an easy remove from the waiter to the tray or vessel on which the
waiters carried the things they served up to those on whom they waited.
The name "salver," commonly applied to a tray or waiter, seems to have
originated from the old custom of tasting meats before they were served,
to salve or save their employers from harm. Among the more valuable are
the trays or waiters of silver and Sheffield plate. Trays made of iron
and japanned after the fashion of Japanese metal lacquer wares, which
towards the close of the eighteenth century were so largely imported
into this country, are often neglected, yet many of them are truly
antiquarian and by no means unlovely.

One of the chief seats of the industry was at Pontypool, but the
business drifted to Birmingham. It was when the japan wares, so called
from the attempt of the makers to copy the lacquers of Japan then much
imported, were being successfully made amidst surroundings then
exceedingly romantic in the little town singularly situated on a steep
cliff overhanging the Avon Llwyd, that dealers found trays,
breadbaskets, snuffer trays, knife trays, caddies, and urns much in
request. In Bishopsgate Street Without, in London, there is a noted wine
house known as the "Dirty Dick." This curious title was derived from the
owner of a famous hardware store who kept it, and was dubbed "Dirty
Dick" because of his untidy shop. The wild disorder of the establishment
gave rise to a popular ballad of which the following are two of the
first lines:--

    "A curious hardware shop in general full
    Of wares from Birmingham and Pontypool."

In addition to japanned wares there are trays of paper pulp ornamented
with mother-o'-pearl and richly decorated with gold.


The Tea Table.

The modern tea table presents a much less formal array of china and good
things than that of a generation or two back when high tea was an
important function, and the good wife of the household loaded her table
with many substantial dishes. The best china was taken from the
cupboard, and family heirlooms in silver were arrayed on either side of
the teapot. Needless to say the teapot was an indispensable adjunct, and
some of the teapots belonging to the old sets are massive and gorgeous,
rather than beautiful, although the earlier teapots made in this country
in the eighteenth century, a time when tea was expensive and a real
luxury, were quite small.

There are many curiosities, too--such, for instance, as the Chinese
teapots of the Ming period, when the potters seem to have vied with one
another in producing grotesque forms, and from china clay fashioned
objects which typified their mythological beliefs. Some of these teapots
took the form of curious sea-horses represented as swimming in waves of
green and amidst seaweed. Some of these fabulous beasts are spotted over
with splashes of colour, and others have curious twig-like formations
upon their sides, said to denote pieces of coral and water plants from
the ocean. The teapot was at one time most frequently filled from the
pretty little oval copper or brass kettle on the hob, or from a swing
kettle on a stand on the table. The table kettle was generally heated by
a spirit lamp which kept the water boiling ready for use. Of later years
silver table appointments of early eighteenth-century make have become
very scarce, and the curio value of the larger pieces has steadily
risen. It would seem as if the maximum figure had been reached for
silver of that period, for at the sale of the Fitzhenry collection a
plain kettle and stand, an example of Ambrose Stevenson's work in 1717,
realized £697.


Cream Jugs.

The cream jug included in the tea and coffee sets of silver or metal,
and in the tea china of which so many beautiful sets are still extant,
has almost an independent position in connection with table
appointments, for ever since tea drinking became general it was regarded
as a necessity, and was made in accord with the then prevailing styles.
It is almost the commonest collectable antique in this particular group.
In silver it was always hall-marked, and its date can, therefore, be
fixed. Briefly outlining the development of its form, it may be
mentioned that it was quite plain in the reign of Queen Anne, when tea
drinking came into fashion. When George I came to the throne it was
widened somewhat and made a little shorter. At that time the silver
cream jugs were hammered into shape out of a flat sheet, there being no
seam; after the body was formed a rim was added and a lip put on. There
was a deeper rim in the reign of George II, and then feet took the place
of rims.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--EARLY ENGLISH BRONZE EWER.

(_In the British Museum._)]

Gradually Chippendale carving and the shaped legs of the furniture then
being used were reflected even in the cream jug, the lip in those days
being hammered out of the body of the vessel with a graceful curve. Rims
again took the place of feet in the reign of George III, and the tall
legged cream jug came into vogue. The body was decorated with repousse
work or engraved, and the shape gradually changed until the familiar
helmet-shaped cream jug resulted. The helmet cream jugs were beautifully
engraved with ribbon and wreath decoration, and frequently there was a
beaded pattern round the rim and the handle. The same styles prevailed
both in Sheffield plate and in Britannia metal, often misnamed pewter.
The decoration on the china cream jugs was frequently floral, but in
those made in the leading potteries there was a distinct following of
the public style.


Sugar Tongs and Nippers.

With the use of lump sugar late in the eighteenth century sugar tongs
were added to the table appointments, and their decoration and ornament
usually followed that of teaspoons. They were sometimes engraved with
the crests or initials of the owners, and occasionally, in the case of
wedding presents, with the initials of both the master and mistress of
the household, one being placed inside the sugar tongs and the other on
the arch outside. In connection with the cutting of lump sugar steel
sugar nippers were much used in the kitchen before lump sugar was bought
from the grocer ready cut up. These nippers, some of the earlier ones
being chased and engraved, have now passed into the region of household
curios.


Caddies.

As the tea table would be incomplete without the beverage brewed from
tea-leaves it follows as a natural sequence that the housewife has
always required a storebox for her supply, and in some cases one in
which she could keep under lock and key more than one variety. When tea
was first imported into this country it was sent over from China in a
_kati_, a small wooden box holding about 1-1/3 lb.; hence the name
passed on to the more elaborate receptacles on the sideboard containing
the household supply. These boxes were mostly fashioned in accord with
the furniture, many having the well-known Sheraton shell design on the
lid, or on the front of the box. Some are square-sided, others tapered,
generally finished with beautiful little brass caddy balls as feet, and
often with brass ring handles and ornaments. The inside of the caddy was
divided into two compartments, usually boxes lined with lead or lead
paper, and frequently a central compartment for a sugar bowl was added.
In nearly all the better boxes there was provision for the silver caddy
spoon with which to apportion the accustomed supply.


Chelsea and Bow Cupids.

Those curious little boy figures known as Chelsea and Bow Cupids are for
the most part classed with ornaments, but they more appropriately
belong to table appointments, for in olden time when the cloth had been
removed these curious little figures were placed upon the mahogany or
oaken board along with the dessert, as if to guard the fruit and the
wine. The Cupids are garlanded with flowers, baskets of which they have
in their hands--delightful little figures when genuine antiques. They
vary in size and are said to have been divided in the past as "small"
and "large" boys.


Nutcrackers.

Many a famous joke has been cracked over the "walnuts and wine." It was
when the board was cleared of the viands that the nuts and fruit were
partaken of. The edible nuts mostly favoured before foreign supplies
came into the market were the hazel, walnut, chestnut, and the famous
Kent filberts. Although doubtless supplemented by any objects handy, the
primitive method of cracking nuts with the teeth was generally practised
by the common people. What more natural than for the early inventor to
see in the human head the "box" in which to place his mechanical device
and to give power and leverage by utilizing the legs of the man he had
carved in wood. In the Middle Ages some remarkable carvings were
produced, mostly working on the same lines as the earliest forms. In the
seventeenth century, when metal crackers came into vogue, pressure was
applied by means of a screw, and the contemporary wood crackers were
designed on that principle. Afterwards the older type of cracker was
revived, both in wood and metal; subsequently the simpler form at
present in use was adopted.

Here and there in museums and among domestic relics odd pairs of these
old crackers are discovered. The interest in them, however, grows when
several early examples are placed side by side. There are a few
instances of specialized collections, and through the courtesy of Mr.
Charles Evans, of Nailsea Court, who possesses a unique collection of
all periods, we are able to illustrate a variety of forms. Fig. 31
represents a very early pair of nutcrackers, probably made in the
fourteenth century; the one shown in Fig. 34 has the Elizabethan ruff
round the neck of the carved head; and Figs. 28, 29, and 30 represent
the screw period, Fig. 28 being an early example. One of the finest
pieces in the collection is Fig. 29, a cracker in the form of a hooded
monk; Fig. 30 being a charming bit of wood-carving in walnut wood, a
somewhat grotesque figure representing an old fiddler. Fig. 33 is a
curious cracker combining a useful pick almost in the form of the bill
of a bird, Fig. 32 being of similar date. The next group shows the
evolution from the metal screw to the more ordinary types, Figs. 36 and
38 being screw nutcrackers; 35, 37, and 39 being quaint examples of
early metal nutcrackers modelled on more modern form. Such curios are
extremely interesting, and whether exhibited as specimens of carving or
of metal work, or used as table ornaments combining utility and
antiquarian interest, they are well worth securing.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--INSCRIBED SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY WOOD DRINKING
CUP.

(_In Taunton Castle Museum._)]


[Illustration: FIGS. 28-30.--EARLY CARVED WOOD NUTCRACKERS.

(_In the collection of Mr. Charles Evans, of Nailsea Court._)]


Turned Woodware.

Table appointments have afforded amateur wood-turners and carvers
opportunities of showing their skill. Even before the days of modern
lathes with eccentric chucks and other improvements, turners were very
clever in producing little articles for table use, and in their making
expended a wealth of skill and time. Among these were pepper boxes and
wooden salt cellars, and carved wooden spoons, especially salad servers,
which are even still made and delicately carved, the Swiss peasants
being famous for such work. One of the village occupations during winter
evenings in years gone by was to make wooden objects, although most of
their efforts were directed in other ways than table appointments (see
Chapter XIII, Fig. 85).


On the Sideboard.

Not far removed from the dining table is the sideboard or buffet, so
important a piece of furniture in the dining hall, for on it were
formerly displayed table appointments and emblems of the feast. The
urn-shaped knife boxes which were so often placed on either side were
chiefly of mahogany, sometimes inlaid with satinwood and often with
those rare shell-like ornaments which became so popular in the days of
Chippendale and Sheraton. The compartments in which were placed the
table knives prevented either blades or handles from being rubbed.
Copper and metal urns were frequently conspicuous on the sideboard,
although many of the small tables so much treasured now as antiques in
the drawing-room were originally made for urns to stand upon.

There are many beautiful curios of the home made of wood, among them
being such rare gems as wood screens and the frames of hand screens,
some of which screwed on to the ends of the mantelpieces with small
clamps.

[Illustration: FIGS. 31-34.--MEDIÆVAL WOOD NUTCRACKERS.]

[Illustration: FIGS. 35-39.--EARLY STEEL AND BRASS NUTCRACKERS.

(_In the collection of Mr. Charles Evans, of Nailsea Court._)]



V

THE KITCHEN

[Illustration: FIG. 40.--TWO ANTIQUE WARMING PANS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--WELSH KITCHEN FIREPLACE.

(_In the National Museum of Wales._)]



CHAPTER V

THE KITCHEN

     The kitchen grate--Boilers and kettles--Grills and
     gridirons--Cooking utensils--Warming pans.


It is in the kitchen and the pantry that domestic economy centres. The
very essence of home life is found in the preparation of suitable food
in which to satisfy human appetites. Whether the kitchen is furnished
with apparatus sufficient to cook for the inmates of a large
institution, or with the more modest appliances with which a chop or a
steak can be grilled or a small joint roasted in a gas oven, the basis
of cooking operations is the same, and the cook requires an outfit of
culinary utensils small or large, according to what she has been
accustomed to use or considers necessary for her immediate wants. In
olden time the kitchen was furnished with fewer accessories in
proportion to the meat consumed than at the present time, and the large
hanging caldron and the strong and heavy wrought or cast iron saucepan
on the fire, and the roasting spit and jack in front of it, went a long
way towards completing the outfit. The gradual advance and increase in
the furnishings of the kitchen have been the outcome of development and
progress in culinary art. Since the introduction of scientific cooking
and the establishment of schools of cookery, the hired cook and the
mistress who dons the apron and assumes the role of the economic
housewife have learned to appreciate the use of modern culinary
appliances, lighter in weight and convenient to handle. These differ
according to the purposes for which they are to be used.

Hygienic conditions now regarded as essential have displaced many of the
older cooking pots which have been condemned as injurious to health.
Greater knowledge of the chemistry of cooking, and of the action of
acids upon metals, has enabled the scientific cook to differentiate
between the pots and pans to use according to the various foods
prepared. The beautifully finished light, handy, and convenient
porcelain-enamelled saucepans and stewpans and aluminium cooking pots
used on modern gas stoves and ranges, would have been just as unsuitable
on the open fires of the older grates as what are now regarded as the
curios of the kitchen would be deemed to be in modern culinary
operations. In almost every house there are to be found obsolete
utensils, some of which are valued on account of their great age, others
because of their unusual forms, and some because of the beauty of
workmanship and the costly materials of which they have been made. It is
when turning out the kitchen and storeroom on the occasion of periodical
cleanings that these old-world pots and pans come to light; at such
times the collector may be able to secure scarce specimens and rescue
them from oblivion.

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--MECHANICAL ROASTING JACKS.

(_In the collection of Mr. Charles Wayte._)]

It is not always easy to realize what the old kitchen was like when
these vessels were in use, although in out-of-the-way places kitchens
may occasionally be discovered in which but little change has been made.
This is especially so in some of the Welsh villages, and in order that
visitors may see what such kitchens are like a Welsh cottage fireplace
showing the objects which might commonly have been found there a century
ago has been reconstructed in the National Museum of Wales. This we are
able to reproduce in Fig. 41 by the courtesy of the Director. The grate
came from Llansantffraid, and was made by a local blacksmith; the spit
and its bearers came from Glamorgan; the brass pot came from Barry, and
the dog wheel (referred to on p. 130) from Haverfordwest; most of the
minor accessories came from different parts of North Wales.


The Kitchen Grate.

The kitchen grate has evolved from the open fire; at first in the centre
of the room, then removed for convenience to the side or end in front of
which joints of meats were roasted on a spit in olden time. The spit, at
first quite primitive, was improved upon by local smiths, until quite
intricate arrangements provided the desired revolutions, and turned the
meat round and round until it was properly cooked. In the thirteenth
century the "bellows blower" was an officer in the Royal kitchen, his
duty being to see that the soup on the fire was neither burnt nor
smoked. In course of time the bellows blower in lesser households became
a useful kitchen boy, turning the spit by hand. It would seem, however,
as if in quite early days efforts were made to economize labour in the
kitchen, and turn the spit by mechanical contrivances.

In roasting meat sliding prongs held the joint in place, a cage or
basket being used for roasting poultry. This contrivance, first turned
by hand, was afterwards accelerated and made more regular by the
mechanical contrivances just referred to. These appear to have been of
three different types. There was the clock jack, two splendid specimens
of which are illustrated in Fig. 42, types becoming exceedingly rare.
Those illustrated were recently in the possession of Mr. Charles Wayte,
of Edenbridge, an enthusiastic discoverer of antiquarian metal work in
out-of-the-way places in Sussex and Kent. Earlier still there was the
smoke jack or rotary fan fixed in the chimney, operated by an
up-draught, pulleys and cords being attached to the end of the spit. The
third method referred to involved the shifting of manual labour from man
to his domestic beast, for the faithful hound was pressed into the
service of the cook. The dog worked in a cage, operating a wheel or drum
which in its turn revolved the turnspit. Such turnspits seem to have had
a lingering existence, and were occasionally heard of in North Wales
late in the nineteenth century.

[Illustration: GRIDIRONS SHOWING FOREIGN INFLUENCE IN DESIGN: FIG. 43,
ITALIAN; FIG. 44, FLEMISH; FIG. 45, DUTCH; FIG. 46, GERMAN.]

Roasting before the fire lingered on long after the old-fashioned iron
jacks and spits had ceased to be the common method of cooking meat. The
meat hastener and the Dutch oven conserved and radiated the heat, the
joint turning slowly by the clockwork mechanism of the improved brass
bottle jack. As the size of the fireplace narrowed and kitchens were
built smaller roasting in ovens became popular; the cooker of to-day
with its hot-plates, grills, and steam chests--whether heated by coal,
gas, or electricity--presents a remarkable contrast to the old open fire
grate.

It will readily be understood that the necessary basting of meat
roasting before the fire involved the use of ladles and other utensils
before the modern cooking appliances were invented. Most of the old
vessels were strong and lasting, and the materials employed in their
construction were iron, copper, and brass. In Fig. 49 we show a
selection of fat boats and hammered iron grease pans (in the centre of
the plate is an old mothering-iron from Sussex) typical of the vessels
used in open fire roasting. To these may be added basting spoons and
skimmers, in many places called "skummers."


Boilers and Kettles.

It is probable that the cooking pot over the fire has been used side by
side with roasting apparatus from the earliest times, although no doubt
vessels would be required for boiling foods before roasting, in that
discoveries show that the earliest method of roasting a piece of meat or
a small animal was to encase it in clay and then expose it to the fire.
The clay crust could then be broken and would, of course, have been
destroyed.

No doubt the crock antedated the bronze pot, which was at first made of
metal plates hammered and beaten into shape, and then riveted together.
This method was followed by the craft of the founder, who cast vessels
after the same model first in bronze and then in iron. The cooking pot
was indispensable when the food of the common people was chiefly such as
necessitated a vessel containing liquid; the name of this ancient vessel
has furnished us with many apt quotations, and it is still the pot so
many find difficult to keep boiling.

There have been many contrivances by which to suspend the pot over the
fire. Years ago the usual method of suspension was from a beam of wood
or a bar of iron placed across the chimney opening--the name by which
the bar was known in the North of England was a "gallybawk." Simple
contrivances of metal followed, the suspension hooks and chains leading
to improved cranes with rack and loop handles.

No doubt many have noticed the apparent indiscriminate use of the term
"kettle"; the tea kettle as we understand it to-day is a modern
invention. The old kettle was a boiling pot with a bail handle, its
modern survivor being the three-legged kettle of the gipsies, and the
boiling pot or fish kettle of the modern household. Associated with the
early use of tea kettles slung over a fire is the now scarce lazy-back
or tilter, at one time common in the West of England and in South Wales.

[Illustration: FIGS. 47, 48.--TWO WOODEN FOOD BOXES.

(_In the Cardiff Museum._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 49.--A COLLECTION OF IRON FAT BOATS AND GREASE
PANS.]

In "Chats on Old Copper and Brass" some very interesting illustrations
of old copper and brass saucepans, skillets, and pipkins are given. The
skillet has survived for several centuries. Those made in the
seventeenth century were frequently inscribed with various religious and
sentimental legends; one in the National Museum of Wales is inscribed
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR." Frying pans have been in common use for a great
number of years and are still daily requisitioned. Bakestones, on which
cakes were formerly baked, are, however, becoming obsolete. They were
called girdle plates in the North of England, and bakestones in Wales
and elsewhere.


Grills and Gridirons.

The gridiron or "griddle" was an appliance used extensively all over the
Continent of Europe from the sixteenth century onward. In this country
it was formerly made by the village blacksmith, and, like the iron
stool, kitchen fender, and other iron and brass kitchen utensils and
furnishings, was often made quite decorative. It would appear as if the
smith filled up his spare moments in designing intricate patterns with
which to decorate the grid. Some of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century
European gridirons were quite elaborate, serving the double purpose of
ornament and use, for when finished with for cooking purposes they were
carefully cleaned and polished and hung up over the kitchen mantelpiece.
Some of the characteristic types met with are shown in the accompanying
illustrations. In Fig. 43 is seen the light and lacy Italian style; in
Fig. 44 the openwork design of the Flemish; a formal Dutch pattern being
illustrated in Fig. 45; whereas the heavy German floreated type is
shown in Fig. 46. Contrasting with these Continental types the English
gridiron was strong and serviceable, and essentially a grid or grill,
the smith putting his best work in the handle rather than the grid.


Cooking Utensils.

Besides pots and pans there are many cooking utensils which may now be
reckoned among the domestic curios. There are, of course, ewers and
basins, water-carrying and retaining vessels, and colanders of brass and
earthenware, strainers and graters which have been used from time to
time in the kitchen. Sometimes the metal worker appears to have gone out
of the way to produce curious forms not always the most convenient for
the purposes for which they were made--such, for instance, as the
aquamaniles, several of which may be seen in the British Museum (see
Fig. 26).

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--WOODEN COFFEE CRUSHERS AND PESTLES AND MORTAR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 51.--APPLE SCOOPS OF BONE.]

Some of the minor kitchen utensils include flesh hooks and forks and
carving knives. There are spoons of every kind made in all metals, some
of the earlier examples being of brass and latten. In this connection
also may be mentioned ladles, fish slicers, and scoops. There are also
many curious little pastrycooks' knives, and knives used for cutting
vegetables and preparing a repast in olden time, many of them quite
decorative, even the common pastry-wheel frequently being carved. It was
at one time customary to expend much skill in decorating apple scoops,
those shown in Fig. 51 being very choice specimens in the National
Museum of Wales, in Cardiff. The one on the left hand of the picture is
made of bone, and is inlaid with a small brass name-plate; that on the
right-hand side is of ivory delicately turned, the scoop being
exceedingly thin; and those in the centre are all home-made out of the
metacarpal bones of the sheep, being slightly ornamented with cut
X-shaped lines and hatchings. In the same museum there are some
remarkably interesting coffee crushers and mortars and pestles, several
of these being illustrated in Fig. 50. In Fig. 53 we show a
representative selection reminiscent of the days when wooden spoons and
wooden platters were in common use. The trencher takes its name from
_tranche_, the old name of the platter which replaced the piece of bread
on which it was formerly customary to serve up meat; like the bread, it
was at first square. The minor kitchen accessories formerly in constant
use included many objects of wood, such as the charming little nutmeg
mills of turned rosewood, some of which are to be seen in the British
Museum. There are also antique pasteboards and rolling-pins for rolling
shortbread, pot stirrers of wood, and other utensils such as sand
glasses.

In Figs. 47 and 48 we illustrate two wooden food boxes, such as were
formerly used to carry food to men working in the field. They are now
deposited with other curios in the Cardiff Museum, where also may be
seen some little wooden piggins, and bowls used for porridge; the piggin
was an ancient vessel often mentioned in mediæval days (see Fig. 52).


Warming Pans.

There are some household appointments which, like some of the brass
skimmers, platters, engraved foot and hand warmers, chestnut roasters,
and the like, have always served the double purpose of use and ornament.
Among these are warming pans which in modern days have been brought out
of their hiding-places, repolished, and hung up in conspicuous places by
the fireside. In the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as some of the
provincial museums, there are many very fine examples, those having
dates and names upon them being especially valued. As an instance of an
exceptional specimen in the Victoria and Albert Museum we may mention
one on which there is an engraving of reindeer, ducally gorged, the
inscription upon this pan reading: "THE EARL OF ESSEX. HIS ARMES. 1630."
Another elaborate warming pan is engraved with figures of a cavalier and
a lady, richly embellished with peacocks and flowers. The pan is of
copper, but the handle is of wrought iron with brass ornamental mounts.
Some pans have wooden handles, either walnut or oak, some of the more
modern being ebonized (see Fig. 40).

This brief review of kitchen utensils by no means exhausts the varieties
of old metal work and other curios which may still be found in kitchens.
There appears to be no end to the minor varieties in form and
decoration. This is natural when we remember that years ago kitchen
utensils were not made in quantities after the same pattern as they are
nowadays. They were the product of the local maker, the smith and the
village woodworker being frequently called upon to supply new kitchen
utensils, and it would appear that they did their best to make their
work successful in that the vessels they fashioned were lasting, and
during their use contributed in no small degree towards the
ornamentation of the home.

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--WOODEN PIGGINS AND PORRIDGE BOWL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 53.--WOODEN PLATTER, BOWL, AND SPOONS.

(_In the National Museum of Wales._)]



VI

HOME ORNAMENTS



CHAPTER VI

HOME ORNAMENTS

     Mantelpiece ornaments--Vases--Derbyshire spars--Jade or spleen
     stone--Wood carvings--Old gilt.


We are apt to wonder sometimes what it is that makes the house homelike,
and why there are such strong attachments to the old home. Surely it is
the familiar aspect of the furnishings, rather than the bricks and
mortar, that makes the old home so dear! To the original owners there
was an individuality about every piece, although to the collector the
same characteristics of well-known objects tell that in days gone by the
cabinet-maker followed stereotyped lines, and there were but few who
moved out of the regular ruts and made distinctive designs in home
ornaments and sundry furnishings. It is noteworthy, however, that
however much alike in furniture no two houses were alike in their
ornamental surroundings. The pictures and portraits on the walls have
peculiarities recognized and understood by those who have dwelt for many
years among them. Familiar table appointments, however humble, have a
homelike look, and there are odd bits of old china in the cabinet and
silver or pewter on the sideboard which distinguish one house from
another; and it has ever been so. Chimney ornaments, which may be quite
commonplace, have well-known characteristics which cannot be duplicated.
It is undoubtedly among the home ornaments that the tenderest thoughts
linger, and it is the trinkets of comparatively little value to an
outsider that members of the family store when the old home is broken
up. There are such ornaments in every household; and whenever there is a
sale there are those who gladly buy them because of their associations
with those by whom they were owned and valued. The collector rarely
gathers them on sentimental grounds, securing them as curious specimens
or characteristic styles wanting in his collection. Some specialize on
old china cups and saucers; others on rare porcelain figures; some on
the beautiful gilt and ormolu knick-knacks which looked so well on the
early Victorian drawing-room table, and others prefer odds and ends,
some of which are mentioned in the following paragraphs. It is, perhaps,
from the old ornaments of the home that we learn most about the true
home-life lived in former years. Wood carvers, silversmiths, leather
workers, glass blowers and potters fashioned their ornamental things
after the living models they saw about them, in the days in which they
worked. Thus in the groups of Staffordshire figures, now much sought
after, we learn something of the story of life in the Potteries in the
closing years of the nineteenth century. The story is recorded in the
earthenware "landlord and landlady," "lovers arm in arm," and rustic
cottages with which collectors are familiar.

[Illustration: FIG. 54.--BRASS CHIMNEY ORNAMENT (ONE OF A PAIR).]


Mantelpiece Ornaments.

There are many quaint brass chimney ornaments which were popular in many
parts of England fifty to sixty years ago much sought after nowadays.
They were of polished brass, usually in pairs, and when several were
arranged on a mantelpiece they presented a bright array. The one
illustrated in Fig. 54 is of the type much favoured in country
districts. It represents a shepherd with his crook, the companion brass
being a shepherdess. On the sea-coast fishermen were much fancied, and
in mining districts the miner with his pick and other industrial models
were extensively sold. These were varied with birds and animals and
miniature replicas of household furniture. The older ones are not very
common, and therefore have been much copied, for of these goods there
are many modern replicas.


Vases.

Ornamental vases have varied much in form, until a collection seems to
cover every style of art. Thus Egyptian and Roman influence is seen in
some; others of French origin, dating before the Empire period, are a
combination of French art with Egyptian ornament, brought out during the
Directoire, when after the Battle of the Pyramids French artists
introduced the sphinx and other Egyptian ornaments into their art
designs. During the Empire period, the style that is said to consist of
a blending of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian prevailed. Many of the
continental countries have been noted for glass ornaments--especially
vases. The beautiful Venetian glass is rich in colour, and the vases are
varied and graceful in form, especially those of ewer-like shape.
Bohemia has always been a noted centre of the glass industry. Then in
our own country some beautiful vases have been produced.

There are other materials which are met with in curiously shaped vases.
At one time the beautiful Derbyshire spars were much used. There are
biscuit china and Parian vases, and many exquisite vases of silver and
other metals. Much might be written of the Oriental vases and enamels,
especially of the artistic treasures of Old Japan and China, from whence
so much of our early vases and beautiful porcelain came. Of the products
of Chelsea and Bow, of Coalbrookdale and Derby, and of Bristol and
Nantgrw, writers and collectors of rare ceramics have had much to record
of the many-shaped vases with which the homes of the middle classes were
made beautiful in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These
are preserved with care, but many of the vases produced by the pioneers
of the potting industry in this country serve their original purpose
still, and glass and china and rare Wedgwood jasper ware ornament the
home of the twentieth-century reader of the "Chats" series, as they did
the "withdrawing" rooms of their original owners in the eighteenth
century.

[Illustration: FIG. 55.--BLACK AND GOLD DERBYSHIRE MARBLE VASE.

(_In the Author's collection._)]


Derbyshire Spars.

The Derbyshire spars and inlaid marbles just referred to were very
popular, some exceedingly ornamental and decorative pieces being
produced. Others were stiff and formal, and can scarcely be regarded as
beautiful. The variety of marbles quarried in Derbyshire gave the artist
ample opportunity of displaying taste in colour. The most beautiful are
those made of fluor-spar, the celebrated Blue John Mine providing the
most beautiful specimens. The purple shades present delightful tints,
and some of the old workers in Derbyshire mosaics were exceptionally
fortunate in their schemes of arrangement of the tiny pieces they inlaid
so carefully. The marble workers in this country have never been able to
produce those beautiful effects for which the Florentine school of
artists was famous, although it has been claimed by some that the
artists of the Peak produced in their larger works some equally as
effective. Among old household ornaments small Roman mosaics, so called,
are often met with. At one time the Florentine artists used gems and
real stones, whereas the Romans chiefly employed glass. Many will be
familiar with the Vatican pigeons and the fountain so frequently copied.
It is said that the Derbyshire workers in mosaic excelled themselves in
the production of a beautifully inlaid vase covered with flowers,
foliage, and birds, prepared for the late Queen Victoria, in 1842. Half
a century ago fancy shops were filled with the products of the
Derbyshire mines, but most of the best pieces are now among household
curios. The wide-topped vase shown in Fig. 55 is made from Derbyshire
black and gold marble, and was produced in Matlock about sixty years
ago. It may be interesting to collectors to mention that although the
Romans are believed to have worked the Blue John mines, it was not until
1770 that the lovely purple spar was rediscovered in the Hope Valley, a
workman passing through the Winnats being attracted by the pieces of
spar he saw lying about, eventually bringing them under the notice of
the owner of a Rotherham marble works. Besides the smaller objects there
are the larger tables, worked in the same materials, some of which are
sometimes met with second-hand for quite trifling sums.


Jade or Spleen Stone.

Among the rarer curios of the home are those wonderful ornaments cut and
carved out of jade, a beautiful stone which has been so highly prized by
the Chinese. Its special value lies in the exquisite tints of the
different hues. These marvellously varied stones were formerly quarried
from the Kuen-Kask Valley, where jade or yu-stone runs in
different-coloured veins through the rocks. It is said that jade in the
form of spleen stone first came to Europe from America. It is found
extensively in Mexico, and also in Burma, but the chief interest centres
in the grotesque and cleverly carved Chinese curios. The beauty and
value of these pieces lies not so much in their forms as in their
marvellous tints and the clever way in which the Chinese workmen, in
fashioning grotesque forms, have cut away practically all the colour
of certain intruding shades, leaving the figures in some brilliant hue
of green, red, or pink, standing out upon a base of some other shade.
The curiously smoked mutton-fat colour is one of the rarest, but to the
amateur the more transparent and brilliant tints possess the greatest
beauty.

[Illustration: FIG. 56.--TEMPLE GUARDIAN, CARVED FROM THE GNARLED ROOT
OF A TREE.

(_In the Author's collection._)]

True jade, or nephrite, is a native silicate of calcium and magnesium,
and does not exhibit either crystalline form or distinct cleavage. In
addition to the "mutton-fat" shade spoken so highly of there are lovely
shades in green, emerald, moss, tea and sea green, violet and yellow,
and white and camphor; but the rarest of all combinations is violet,
mutton-fat, and emerald green.


Wood Carvings.

Many of the more decorative household ornaments are made of wood. To cut
down a tree or to whittle a stick has been the favourite occupation of
men of all ages, and the possession of a pocket-knife the ambition of
the schoolboy from time immemorial. Something to cut keeps him out of
mischief and calls forth any ingenuity he may have. Some of the most
wonderful curios have been cut by hand, fashioned with skill. Some are
remarkably realistic in their forms, faithful copies of living
originals, or of objects of still greater antiquity with which the wood
carver has been familiar. Carvers have sometimes allowed themselves to
run wild in their imaginations as they have cut and shaped a block of
wood, giving it the most fantastic form, picturing myths and fables in a
wonderfully realistic way. There seems to be no end to the variety of
wooden ornament. The carver has found a place in architectural design,
too, many old houses being enriched with his handiwork. In the days when
walls were panelled with oak, the carver and the wood worker delighted
in cutting deep and intricate mouldings and in giving that delightful
linen fold to the panels which would otherwise have been plain. That was
the ambition of the household decorator of Elizabethan days. Tudor beams
were cut and carved and quaint mottoes engraved upon them. The old oak
settles--sometimes portable, at others fixtures--were carved all over,
and the fronts of oak chests were often made into pictures of wood. They
told the tale of the family tree by the coats of arms and the shields
emblazoned by the cutter of wood, sometimes being enriched with colour;
at others the picture forms were created by inlaying and superadding
fretwork. There were intricate carvings of the Sheraton and Chippendale
periods, and there were the wonderful floral sprays, cherubs, and other
ornaments so cunningly wrought by Grinling Gibbons and his followers.
Wooden ornament in those days took the form of over-doors, and wreaths
running down the lintels; and massive mantelpieces of oak were carved
deeply. There were vases of wood full of flowers cut from the same
material standing on wooden pedestals. The floral sprays, it is said,
were in some cases so delicately cut that they shook like natural
flowers when any one crossed a room or a post-chaise rumbled along the
street. Some remarkable picture frames were cut and carved by amateurs,
corresponding well with the handiwork of the needlewoman they
enshrined. The cutting and carving of banner screens was a work of art,
and many times a labour of love.

[Illustration: FIG. 57.--CARVED PLAQUE STAND.]

There are quaint relics of other countries in wood carving among the
curios of the home. Some remarkable pieces of carved cherry-trees have
been brought over from Japan, the black trunk or root of the tree being
turned into a grinning demon, similar to the one illustrated in Fig. 56,
which resembles the "temple guardian." Others have been fashioned like
ancient idols or apes, many being an intermixture of different-coloured
woods, varying from almost red-brown to black, throwing up the carving
in relief. The Oriental was a clever wood carver, and with his primitive
tools he cut and fashioned a piece of wood according to his own sweet
will, evolving from it intricate works of art in wood. Perhaps the most
remarkable examples of the wood-worker's skill are those tiny miniatures
of which there is such a splendid collection in the British Museum,
notably the almost microscopic reliquaries. The Japanese and Chinese
have shown remarkable skill in carvings, and especially in the way they
have set off china plates and bowls intended as ornamental objects; a
truly magnificent example of such work is shown in Fig. 57.


Old Gilt.

The highly decorative work known as old gilt, very fashionable in the
early Victorian drawing-room, has quite recently been hunted up, and
many pieces have been restored to positions of honour. The gilt,
so-called, was in reality eighteen-carat gold overlaid upon soft brass
by a process not now practised. Delightfully decorative trinket stands,
card trays, and little baskets were made in this way; and as they were
afterwards coated over with a transparent varnish, they have preserved
their colour; indeed, when found black with age, after carefully washing
in soap and water, they frequently come out bright and untarnished. Then
if brushed over with white of egg or some transparent white varnish they
will keep their colour for many years to come. These decorative
ornaments, often perforated as well as embossed, were frequently
enriched with imitation jewels. Those shown in Fig. 61 are typical of
the style of ornament referred to. Sometimes scent satchets and jewelled
caskets are found fitted with quaint reels for sewing silk and curious
needle holders. The more elaborate pieces are often ornamented with
floral sprays made of porcelain; some of the baskets filled with coral
and seaweed have curiously made little birds and butterflies, many of
them being genuine Chelsea. Others are the framework for holding Bow
figures or painted plaques. This Victorian gilt is at present not
over-scarce, and as it is not as yet much in demand collectors have an
exceptional opportunity of securing interesting specimens at moderate
cost.


Old Ivories.

Much might be written about old ivories. Ivory has been a much-valued
material for ornamental decoration from quite early times. In almost
every home there are curios and pieces of furniture in which ivory
has either been overlaid or inserted as panels. At one time it was much
used for overlays, and in very thin plates made up into all kinds of
decorative models.

[Illustration: FIGS. 58, 59.--MINIATURE COPPER AND SILVER KETTLES.

FIG. 60.--MINIATURE IVORY COFFEE BOILER.]

[Illustration: FIG. 61.--TWO OLD-GILT JEWELLED ORNAMENTS.]

There are carved tusks from Africa and India, and quaint native curios
made of ivory cunningly wrought. It is from the East that we receive so
many beautiful curios, and especially so from India, China, and Japan.
The three remarkably handsome ivories illustrated in Fig. 62 will serve
to illustrate the beautiful and oftentimes costly curios found in so
many homes.


Miniature Antiques.

Some of the most pleasing little antiques are silver models of
children's toys. The original models made contemporary with the
furniture or household gods they purport to represent were frequently
the gifts of godparents, and many are most elaborate in their designs,
every detail found in the larger originals being faithfully reproduced.
Some of these little silver toys, with which probably children were
seldom allowed to play, represented common objects outside the home,
such as the dovecote in the garden, the travelling coach with its
prancing steeds, the pack-horse ascending the slope towards a bridge
over a stream, in some instances objects of husbandry and agriculture,
being given to children familiar with the country.

Another favourite type of model curio is found in the remarkably tiny
objects workmen sometimes prided themselves upon making--such curios,
for instance, as the silver and copper kettles and coffee pot shown in
Figs. 58, 59, and 60. The larger specimen (drawn larger than the
original) was made from a copper farthing, the smaller kettles being
hammered out of threepenny-pieces; the coffee pot is of ivory--a
charming model.

There are a few sundries which should not be overlooked when collecting
curious things reminiscent of home-life as it once was. Among these are
the glass pictures once so much prized by well-to-do folk, now valued
only by the collector of such things. These were really "prints from
prints." The method of their preparation was most inartistic, although
it was effectual. A piece of glass was coated with varnish, the print
was then placed upon the varnish, and when dry and quite hard the paper
was washed off, leaving a "print" upon the prepared surface, which was
then painted over at the back, the picture thus being made complete.

Much store was formerly set by the little plaques and medallions which,
with silhouettes, hung upon the walls. Among the gems of such ornaments
were the exquisite tablets and cameos made by Josiah Wedgwood, whose
beautiful vases and miniature bottles, as well as tea-sets in the same
wares, were so much admired.

[Illustration: FIG. 62.--THREE FINE OLD IVORIES.]



VII

GLASS AND ENAMELS



CHAPTER VII

GLASS AND ENAMELS

     Waterford, Bristol, and Nailsea--Ornaments of glass--Enamels on
     metal.


Glass is used in every home. It is seen in its ornamental forms, and is
necessary in almost every department. In kitchen and pantry there are
dishes and tumblers and wine glasses and decanters ready for use. Among
these there are often found old glasses--that is, glass vessels which
from their rarity or age have attained a curio value; indeed, many
housewives are unaware that their kitchen cupboard contains what would
be valued as interesting specimens gladly purchased by collectors of
glass. Many of the old tumblers are beautifully engraved, often having
floral ornament and dainty rustic scenes. They are now and then
commemorative of events which the glass maker has recorded with his
graving tool, and sometimes they have been prepared to catch the passing
fancy. The styles of table glass have changed, and their shapes and
sizes have altered according to the popular custom of imbibing certain
liquors.

When punch ceased to be the customary drink, and lesser quantities of
ale were consumed, punch bowls and tankards were less in request. Their
places were taken by wine glasses of more delicate forms, and charming
tallboys and crinkled vessels of glass took the place of the older mugs
and pewter cups. The glasses used in proffering and drinking toasts have
changed much during the last century, and the "fiat" glasses of the
Jacobite period, and those curious glasses with portraits of the Old
Pretender and the Young Pretender upon them, are curios only, for they
are no longer needed, neither is the toast of "The King" drunk "over the
water." Spirit glasses and decanters have altered in form, but among
those which have survived and are still sound are some rare examples of
cutting, made in the days when the glass cutter worked with primitive
tools, and such methods as the sand blast, chemical etching, and some of
the newer processes were unknown.


Waterford, Bristol, and Nailsea.

Among table sundries are glass salts and cruets; the latter, however,
have been modernized and reduced in size, and the bottles and curiously
shaped oil and vinegar cruets of a hundred or more years ago look quaint
when compared with those of the present day. Even the flower vases which
formerly adorned the table, and the more decorative dishes used for
fancy sweetmeats and confections, have changed, leaving in the process
many of the older pieces, relegated to the store-cupboard, where disused
glass so often remains until in due time it is rescued from oblivion by
the collector of household curios. Among the eighteenth-century cut
glass jugs and trifle bowls are many beautiful vessels, for the making
of which certain districts from time to time became famous. The old
Waterford glass is especially noteworthy, and as a speculation, apart
from the interest it possesses for collectors, is worth securing.
Bristol glass to the uninitiated appears to be a misnomer, in that the
beautiful white milk-like surface upon which so many exquisite floral
designs have been painted looks more like egg-shell porcelain, but when
held up to the light is found to be of glass-like nature, pellucid
although semi-opaque.

Nailsea glass has many peculiar characteristics about it, notably the
curiously introduced waved and twisted lines in colours. Many objects
which were essentially curios, their utilitarian purposes having always
been secondary, were made at Nailsea. There are gigantic models of
tobacco pipes, formerly hung up against the walls as ornaments. As
fitting companions to the pipes were walking-sticks of glass, some very
remarkable designs which might at one time have been carried by the
gallants of that day. They were often filled with sweetmeats and
comfits, ornamented with bows of ribbon, and presented to ladies of
their choice by devoted swains. A few of those curious sticks or
shepherd's crooks, as they were called, are to be seen in most
representative museum collections. The so-called rolling-pins of glass,
made at Sunderland as well as at Nailsea and Bristol, were known as
sailors' love tokens, and are referred to more fully in Chapter XIII. In
the Taunton Castle Museum there are some interesting specimens of old
glass, notably one of the very rare dark bottle-glass linen smoothers
which came from South Petherton. Such smoothers were at one time
favoured in the kitchen laundry in the days when servant-maids excelled
in getting up linen, and prided themselves on the beautiful gloss they
were able to impart--in the days before public laundries with their
modern glossing machines were instituted.

Some of our readers may have seen the curious glass tubes, one yard in
length, into which ale was poured in the days when it was considered a
desirable attainment to be able to drink at one draught a "yard of ale."

Of the larger vessels such as wine bottles, the chief collectable
feature about them is the old glass-bottle-makers' stamps, very
frequently found on fragments of bottles, such stamps often turning up
among the oddments of kitchen drawers which have probably been
undisturbed for many years. To collect bottle stamps is certainly an
uncommon hobby, but one that is not altogether devoid of interest.


Ornaments of Glass.

Of household ornaments in glass there appears to be no end. There are
the glass Venetian vases and ewers, beautiful and graceful in form,
richly ornamented in gold; and there are the old English and French
vases, the colouring of which is not always in accord with modern taste.
Cut glass, in whatever form it is met with, is appreciated, in that the
workmanship involving so much studious labour is recognized. Continental
glass has at all periods been imported into this country, and especially
so Bohemian glass, of which there are decanters of ruby, claret,
blue, and other rich colours; some remarkable effects have been produced
upon red glass by adding tinted colours and white decoration
interspersed with gold. Glass lustres have acquired an antiquarian
value, and chandeliers and mantelpiece lustre candlesticks are sought
after by the collector, who sometimes finds interspersed with cut glass
lustre pretty coloured china droppers.

[Illustration: FIG. 63.--BATTERSEA ENAMELS.]


Pictorial Art in Glass.

Stained-glass windows are associated with ecclesiastical edifices. Old
English houses, however, not infrequently contain armorial panels, coats
of arms in leaden frames, and curious little pictures in colours which
can be hung against modern windows where the light will throw up the
rich colouring of the old-time painters. Little patches of colour, too,
were often introduced in otherwise plain diamond-shaped lattice panes.

There are glass pictures, so-called, oftentimes consisting of coloured
prints pasted on one side of the glass, a softened effect being produced
by the glass through which they were seen; but they must be
distinguished from the more costly paintings _on_ glass sometimes met
with.

In many an old house the glass shade with its contents so inartistic,
although removed from its place of honour on the parlour table, found a
niche where it is preserved. Under such shades were preserved wool-work
baskets filled with artificial flowers, among which were often small
porcelain figures, butterflies and birds. Sometimes a Parian vase has
been filled with wax flowers, the making of which was a favourite
pastime half a century ago. The dried plant called "honesty" was
frequently covered with a glass shade. Glass ships were exceedingly
popular in seaport towns, and little miniature replicas of household
furniture in glass are met with; indeed, there seems to have been no
limit to the fancies and freaks of the glass blower, who has at
different periods provided the present-day collector with curious, if
very breakable, curios.


Enamels on Metal.

The art of enamelling on metal has been practised from very early times.
In its earlier forms it was chiefly an art applied to jewellery and the
ornamentation of ecclesiastical metal work. In time, however, it was
applied as a convenient method of decorating utilitarian household
articles such as fire-dogs and candlesticks. Those who frequent the more
important museums often associate enamels with the costly and rare
enamels of Limoges, and the choice bits of Italian enamels seen in the
cases of metals where the most valuable curios are gathered together.
Such vessels as those marvellous effects produced by the enamellers of
Limoges are indeed rarely found among household curios; it is well,
however, to note that the processes by which those effects were produced
changed as time went on. The earlier translucent enamel of the Italian
artists was laid over an incised metal ground, the design previously
prepared showing through. In the later Limoges enamels the surface with
which the copper base was overlaid was painted, very much in the same
way as the miniature painters on enamels operated in after-years.

The process of covering metal with enamels made of a species of glass is
very ancient, but the basis of all enamels is the application of fusible
colourless silicate or glass in pattern or design, mixed with metallic
oxides, the prepared surface being afterwards fired until the enamel
adheres firmly to the copper or other metal. The processes varied, but
the firing or fusing was the same throughout. The name "enamel" is
traceable to the French word _enail_ and the Italian _smalto_, both
having the same root as the Anglo-Saxon word "smelt." The enamels of
China and Japan so extensively imported into this country of late years
are chiefly made by filling cloisons or cells formed of fine metal wires
or plates with coloured enamels and then firing them. As the collector
advances in his appreciation of the old craftsmen, he soon recognizes
the difference between the antiques sent over by Oriental merchants and
the modern works made on present-day commercial lines, and not the work
of men whose time was deemed of small account if they acquired notoriety
for the beauty of their work.

The household enamels of English make consist chiefly of those beautiful
little boxes, trinkets, and domestic objects made at Battersea and
Bilston in the eighteenth century. The enamels used for the ground were
tinted rose, blue, and other shades, and ornamented with painted
pictures and mottoes. A very fine group of Battersea patch boxes is
shown in Fig. 63.



VIII

LEATHER AND HORN



CHAPTER VIII

LEATHER AND HORN

     Spanish leather--"Cuir boulli" work--Tapestry and
     upholstery--Leather bottles and drinking vessels--Leather
     curios--Shoes--Horn work.


That "there is nothing like leather" has been believed by people of all
ages, and in many countries the general belief has been put into
practice, for many indeed are the uses to which leather has been put. As
a lasting material it has been proved to possess excellent qualities.
The artist, too, has found that leather is capable of being treated so
as to give the effect of delicate carvings, and to serve well many
purposes of decoration.

In the East leather was used in patriarchal times, the skins of animals
making excellent water bottles. In mediæval England leather black jacks,
cups, and flagons withstood the rough usage of those roisterous times.
The collector seeks both useful and ornamental, and finds much to
delight among the old leathern objects hid away as being now quite
useless or antiquated.


Spanish Leather.

As early as the fifteenth century Cordova, in Spain, was celebrated for
its workers in leather, and for the fine ornamental leather vessels
produced there. Some of the designs favoured by Spanish craftsmen were
gruesome in the extreme. Indeed, many were fashioned for the purpose of
creating fear in the use of the vessels so ornamented.

A few years ago a remarkably fine collection of old Spanish leather work
was exhibited in London. There were some hideous and grotesque figures,
which it was said had been designed for the mental torture of the
victims of the Inquisition. Some of the larger specimens were remarkably
well executed, especially so some of the wine bottles which imitated
very realistically the pose of men and women. Some of the female figures
were represented wearing flowing gowns and costumes of the height of
fashion--tall and noble women. By way of contrast there were little
manikin wine jugs of the most grotesque forms.

The Spaniards made leather upholsteries of remarkable designs; they also
ornamented boxes, trunks, and cases for knives and costly trinkets.


"Cuir boulli" Work.

Most of the decorated leather work of that period, examples of which are
not very difficult to secure, was made by the _cuir boulli_ process. The
leather, after being boiled down to a pulp and salt and alum added, was
then moulded to any desired form, the decoration being imparted in the
process.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is very rich in fine examples, and a
description of some of the typical pieces there may serve as a guide to
collectors hopeful of including some objects moulded by this process
among their household relics.

The work was carried on at Cordova and other places for a long period,
some of the museum examples dating back to the fifteenth century. There
are cases for holding what were then rare books and manuscripts, and a
remarkable scribe's case with a red cover has loops on either side to
which a cord was attached. The scribe was an important personage in
commercial and private correspondence in the days when even rudimentary
education was by no means general.

In the same collection is a leather box for holding a knife and fork; on
the outer case is a medallion, in the centre of which is a
representation of the two spies returning from Canaan with a large bunch
of grapes. There are also cases which have once held wine bottles, some
ornamented in colours; indeed, the stamped, cut, and embossed designs of
the _cuir boulli_ work were frequently enriched by the addition of red,
yellow, and gold.

There are some specially interesting examples of Italian work,
representing a period covering nearly the whole of the Renaissance. In
this connection there are pilgrim bottles of yellow glass encased in
wonderful leather covers, cut and embossed. There are leather snuff
boxes with trellis-work ornament and scroll borders, one very
interesting piece being varnished to imitate tortoiseshell. There are
also some attractive toilet objects, evidently antique presentation
pieces. One is a most elaborately cut and incised comb case, on the
exterior of which is the motto or legend: "DE BOEN AMORE." In the same
collection there is a fine leather case for a cup or tankard. Such cup
cases are not uncommon, many being the receptacles for treasured
heirlooms. Perhaps one of the most noted examples of the use of embossed
and decorative leather work is the ancient case of stamped leather
intricately foliated, a highly decorative work of art in which is
enclosed that remarkable goblet of legendary fame known as "The Luck of
Eden Hall."


Tapestry and Upholstery.

Stamped and embossed leather work is very conspicuous in domestic
upholstery. In very early times the leather work, hung upon the wall in
panels, took the place of more modern wall-coverings, and it was truly
lasting. Much of the Cordovan leather is still very fresh in appearance,
although several centuries old. Some of the panels hanging on the walls
at South Kensington look remarkably fresh, and, richly decorated in
colours, many of them are very effective. A special branch of this work
was that devoted to the decoration of chair backs; stamped leather work
for upholstery has been used in this country to a large extent, and some
of the large oak chairs are still upholstered in the original ornamental
leather produced by boiling the hides by a special process, so that the
material could be readily moulded. In more modern times, however, the
decoration is effected by embossing and stamping, supplementing such
ornament by the use of an immense quantity of small brass nails, which
are arranged in geometrical patterns or straight lines, oftentimes names
and dates being included in the design.

In this connection also are screens of painted and gilt leather, chiefly
of eighteenth-century manufacture. There is a good deal of this leather
work to be found in old houses still, and much of it is capable of
improvement by properly cleaning and touching up here and there so as to
revive the old colours. Here and there hung up as wall decorations may
be seen leather-covered boxes which were specially made to hold deeds;
in the older examples there is a large circular piece below the narrow
box, arranged so that the seal could hang in its proper position from
the end of the deed; they were, of course, in common use before the days
of safes and other methods of preserving parchments and property deeds.
One in the Victoria and Albert Museum is stamped on the exterior with
the description of the deed it originally contained, the inscription
commencing thus: "THE GRAUNT OF HEN: THE 5 TO THE ABBOT OF RADING."


Chests and Coffers.

Before modern travelling requisites were known and in the days when
journeys were few, the leather-covered coffer contained the whole
travelling outfit of perhaps some noble lord and his household. There
were also large coffers covered with leather used as permanent
receptacles of clothing, covered with ornamental embossed leather work,
some very decorative. There were smaller coffers, too; possibly they
were jewel caskets in their day. There are others which may have been
presentation cases, for their decoration is especially elaborate. In
making these continental craftsmen seem to have excelled. In the
Victoria and Albert Museum there is a curious German casket of wood
covered with leather, strongly bound with iron, having three immense
hasps from which locks once hung, altogether too massive for the little
casket. One would think such precautions were of not much avail against
theft, for the box itself could be removed readily! There is another
charming little casket, with a circular or dome-shaped top, decorated
and banded, a veritable prototype of the tin trunks generally in use a
quarter of a century ago. There is also a remarkable piece, a wood box
covered over with leather embossed by the _cuir boulli_ process. The
chief design takes the form of two armed horsemen, surrounded by
grotesque ornament on the top, on the sides being hunting scenes,
episodes of the chase. This curious example of the work of
seventeenth-century artists in leather measures 16½ in. in length by 12½
in. in width. Another typical piece, of a highly decorative allegorical
character, is a rectangular coffret with arched lid, the ornament being
in colours and gilt. On the front is a knight and a lady, on the lid two
paladins mounted on griffins, two savages with clubs and shields, and
two images of the sun, these typifying the story of the delivery of a
captured lady by a knight.


Leather Bottles and Drinking Vessels.

Several interesting specialistic collections of leather bottles and
drinking vessels have been got together, showing the varied forms of the
almost imperishable vessels, so suitable as liquor carriers and drinking
cups in olden time. In the Guildhall Museum are several different types
of bottles, black jacks, and silver-rimmed cups. Until comparatively
recent times many old inns were famous for their leather drinking cups,
but as the coaching days came to an end such vessels were gradually
dispersed. Now that motor-cars have popularized the road once more, and
old inns are again frequented, the collector seeks in vain for what were
once quite common. In another noted collection there is a drinking cup
or bottle moulded like a negro's head, and there are what are called
pilgrim bottles, some of which are of ornamental type. The so-called
pots have sometimes lids and loosely fitting covers; the black jacks,
however, are chiefly open, ill-shaped vessels. Some of the black jacks
were very large, one in the Taunton Museum measuring 19 in. in height.
It was originally used in the servants' hall at Montacute House, which
is one of the finest old buildings in Somerset. This famous jack was in
olden time filled with beer every morning and placed on the servants'
breakfast table. Those smaller cups with silver mounts and shields, on
which are often engraved crests or initials of their former owners, are
of the rarer type, but they are not infrequently found among the relics
of an old family. There is a fine collection in the Hull Museum, and in
other places where they are found in excellent condition, proving the
truth of the rhyme published in _Westminster Drollery_ in the
seventeenth century in praise of the black jack, which runs as
follows:--

    "No tankard, flagon, bottle, or jug
    Are half so good, or so well can hold tug;
    For when they are broken or full of cracks,
    Then must they fly to the brave black jacks."


Leather Curios.

Some very fine pieces of leather work have been modelled as curios and
ornaments. Some of the most notable are models of old warships and fully
rigged galleons made of leather. Leather pictures were made some years
ago; a little later leather modelling of baskets of flowers, and the
making of picture frames of leather was a popular amusement, some of the
ornamental brackets made of leather being specially effective. The
surrounds of picture frames made of leather cut to shape, carved and
modelled, had a very similar effect to the beautiful carved wood work of
an earlier period. Some of the powder flasks of leather which were used
a century or two ago are valued curios, as well as the leather cases
stamped and embossed so decorative and appropriate to the pistols and
knives they were made to contain. Of the finer objects there are small
curios like leather snuff boxes and trinket cases.

Of the more utilitarian leather work there is the wearing apparel of
former days, the leather clothing of Cromwellian times and the leather
boots. In the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a remarkably
interesting case of leather shoes showing the evolution in style and
appearance. There are some very pointed shoes worn in the fourteenth
century, a slightly different shape in the fifteenth, both contrasting
with the change in fashion which had come about in the sixteenth
century, when the boots were square and some of the shoes very rounded.
The Wellington boots of a later period are not yet much valued; there
may come a time, however, when they will be regarded as museum curios.
Leather gloves date back many centuries, and some of the old specimens
with gauntlets and decorative cuffs are interesting antiques, as well as
leather wallets, purses, and girdles.


Shoes.

Among sundry Eastern curios quaintly shaped and sometimes beautifully
embroidered shoes are met with, such as those which have been brought
over to this country from China and Eastern lands. Most of the shoes
worn in the East are slipped off easily, and, like Persian and Turkish
slippers, are made of red leather beautifully embroidered, silk, satin,
and velvet being overlaid and embroidered with silver and sequins. The
old practice of compressing the feet of young girls in China is dying
out, but some of the curious little shoes which gave such pain to their
wearers are seen as museum curios on account of their curious
decoration. Indian shoes are met with at times, especially those
embroidered with silver thread, and with green and other coloured silks.
A curious ceremony is associated with the marriage of a Turkish bride,
who wears a pair of clogs carved all over, sometimes with symbolical
significance, on her way to her prescribed ceremonial visit to the
bath. At one time it was customary for a Jewish bridegroom to present
his bride with a shoe at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, this
custom being not far removed from that of throwing an old shoe after a
newly married couple for luck.


Horn Work.

Art in horn work was practised more a century ago than it is to-day, the
material being then a favourite one for drinking cups and a variety of
ornamental work. Old snuff boxes were frequently made of horn impressed
or stamped with beautiful designs, such as hunting scenes and
mythological figures. Horn can either be cut, moulded, or turned, its
natural elasticity making it very durable and difficult to break. Its
source of supply is chiefly from the horned cattle, the buffalo and the
bison, the horns of these beasts in their natural state frequently being
mounted on shields just as in later years the horns of smaller animals,
such as the South African varieties of the ibex, springbok, and similar
horned sheep and cattle, are brought over to this country and mounted as
ornaments. It is said that the old art of impressing or stamping horn
and tortoiseshell has long been discarded, and is only retained for
stamping buttons. Fancy hair ornaments were frequently so moulded, the
horn or tortoiseshell being afterwards decorated with inlaid silver and
gold.

Some of the pressed work is extremely beautiful and has every appearance
of being done by hand, but much cheaper, of course, as the patterns
could be multiplied to any extent after the dies had been cut. Thin
plates of horn were formerly used in lanterns, and a similar piece of
horn was used as a protector over the ancient alphabet and child's
spelling tablet that gave it the name of the horn book. Among household
curios are drinking horns elaborately etched, and frequently turned in a
lathe. They were popular in the seventeenth and early eighteenth
centuries, and the turned patterns then so common were copied by the
silversmiths, who made silver tankards and drinking cups on the same
models. The cornucopia or horn of abundance figures frequently in
sculpture, paintings, and works of art. The horn is one of the early
instruments of music (see Chapter XV), and has long been associated with
sports. It has sounded the "Tally Ho" of the fox hunt, and played an
important part in coaching days. In some old houses veritable horns are
found hung in conspicuous places as relics of the past, but the coaching
horns just referred to are for the most part of metal.

The Worshipful Company of Horners is still in evidence at City feasts.
The work of the craft in olden time, as recorded by the chaplain of the
Company in a little book he has prepared, giving the history of the
Horners, was practised in the days of King Alfred. At least two hundred
and fifty years before the Norman Conquest many of the patens and
chalices used in churches were made by horners, and at one time cups,
plates, and other vessels made of that useful material were in daily use
in English homes.



IX

THE TOILET TABLE

[Illustration: FIG. 64.--ANTIQUE DRESSING OR TOILET GLASS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]



CHAPTER IX

THE TOILET TABLE

     The table and its secrets--Combs--Patch boxes--Enamelled
     objects--Perfume boxes and holders--Dressing
     cases--Scratchbacks--Toilet chatelaines--Locks of hair--Jewel
     cabinets.


The mysteries of the toilet table are sometimes revealed in the curious
furnishings of the dressing-room. The numerous accessories which are
purchased from the beauty specialist, and as the result of speciously
worded and attractively illustrated advertisements, in the present day,
indicate that it is not at all unlikely that the fashions of all ages
have demanded a plentiful supply of toilet requisites in order that the
Society beauty might vie with her nearest rival. The curio collector is
not so much concerned with the cosmetics, salves, pomades, and hair
washes and dyes, the use of which has called forth receptacles for them,
as with the choice boxes, cases, and implements of the tonsorial art
which their use involved.

To search for such things and to secure some hitherto unknown instrument
or receptacle is ever the ambition of the energetic curio hunter. The
field is large enough, for such curios are found in the tombs of the
prehistoric dead, and among the household gods of the primitive savage
in the few remaining unexplored inhabited countries to-day. Such objects
may with a fair prospect of success be looked for among the relics of
Assyrian and Egyptian races, and among the bronze curios of Ancient
Greece and Rome; and excavations reveal relics of Saxon and mediæval
England among the ruins which have been covered up for centuries.

Coming down the ages, the mysteries of the toilet table, as pictured in
the not always refined engravings of the copper-plate artists of a
century or so ago, tell of habits and conditions prevailing among the
ladies of Society then which would hardly be deemed polite and refined
now.

Ladies who used patches and cosmetics and dressed their hair in such a
mode that it was rarely let down and brushed, needed many accessories
now obsolete. Moreover, the gradual change which passed over Society,
and the privacy of the modern toilet as compared with the days when much
that is now deemed curious and antique was in common use, has brought
about a new order of things, and made other trinkets than patch, powder,
and salve boxes acceptable gifts between lovers; hence we scarcely
realize the sentiment that induced the donors of toilet requisites to
bestow them on the ladies of their choice, or the recipients to welcome
some of the curios obviously given from sentimental motives.

The illustrations in books published many years ago incidentally
recorded the use of some of the curios then in the making. The artists
certainly were not over-modest, and far from bashful in the lucid way in
which they pictured or caricatured the toilet table, and the maiden who
in those days was acquainted with the uses of the little relics of her
day which are now among the household curios appropriately grouped under
the heading of this chapter.


The Table and its Secrets.

It is before the looking glass, the central object on, or forming a part
of, the toilet table, that the chief mysteries of the toilet are
performed. It is obvious, therefore, that the table, to be in accord
with the use its name suggests, should be the grand receptacle for all
the minor preparations and their boxes or covers, as well as for the
brushes and combs and mirrors and sundries a Society beauty may require.

It is scarcely necessary to tax the mental faculties in imagining what
may have been the equivalent to brushes and combs with which the
prehistoric woman of thousands of years ago brushed and combed her
tangled tresses. She was ingenious enough to break off and trim sharp
prickly thorns, and to use them as pins to fasten her scanty home-made
garments, no doubt; and she would probably find in Nature's supply what
served her when making her toilet, and viewing herself in clear pool or
stream. Artists have pictured such toilets, and poets have told of the
toilet and the bath of Greek and Roman maidens of olden time.

It is said that the toilet of a Roman lady occupied much of her time.
After she had risen and taken her bath she placed herself in the hands
of the _cosmotes_, slaves who possessed the secrets of preserving and
beautifying the complexion of the skin. She frequently wore a medicated
mask and went through what would to-day be considered very painful
operations. Her skin was rubbed with pumice stone, and superfluous hairs
were removed with a pair of tweezers. Grecian slaves were adepts at
colouring eyelashes and eyebrows and treating the lips with red pomade.
The mirror was in frequent use. Many of the polished metal mirrors of
those days were adorned with precious stones and had handles of
mother-o'-pearl; and silver and gold were common in the fashioning of
the framework. Hair appointments, including combs, were very decorative,
frequently being made of ivory, and many beautiful carved specimens are
to be seen in our museums.

The dressing table as we understand it to-day was of later days, for
many centuries elapsed between the toilet of the ladies just mentioned
and that of English dames whose odds and ends are to be found in most
houses to-day--for few are without family relics of the toilet.

The toilet or dressing table was originally quite small, and made solely
for the purpose named. It opened very much like a small desk or bureau,
and was seldom more than 18 in. or 20 in. in width. The desk-like flap
served the purpose of a table; behind it was a number of tiny drawers in
which the secret mysteries of the toilet were hidden. There, too, were
the lady's trinkets and jewellery, safely housed in the depths of those
curious recesses. Such a table was surmounted by a looking glass of the
type now spoken of in a generic sense as Sheraton. In line with the more
elaborately fitted tables were independent glasses fitted with a small
drawer--a poor substitute, however, for the toilet table and glass,
combined or used in conjunction, in front of which the ladies of the
eighteenth century performed their toilets.

In Fig. 64 is illustrated a very beautiful glass of the Oriental style
of japanned decoration. The slide supports of the desk-like flap are on
the principle adopted in the construction of contemporary bureaux. There
is also a drawer, full of compartments, which draws out and discloses
their covers and some of the instruments and articles of the toilet they
contain.


Combs.

The combs of olden time were much more elaborate affairs than they are
to-day. It would appear that the comb which must so frequently have been
viewed by the fair user was considered the most appropriate toilet
requisite on which to expend care and to lavish costly labour in order
to make it truly a thing of beauty, to be retained and even jealously
guarded.

The precious metals and ivory were used as well as hard woods. Alas!
like the fate of modern combs, the teeth--coarse and fine--snapped one
by one, and oftentimes a rare and beautiful back, between the two rows
of teeth that once were, is nearly all that is left of the once perfect
comb. Many combs of ivory, however, carved all over with exquisite
miniatures, have been preserved, and the scenes upon them have been
incidents of the chase, classic love scenes, and sometimes reproductions
in picture form of well-known biblical scenes, not always of the most
delicately chosen subjects.

Not long ago a very remarkable gold comb of first-century workmanship
was found near the village of Znamenka, in Southern Russia, where
excavations in a burial mound had brought to light the tomb of a
Scythian king, whose head was adorned with this beautiful comb. The
upper portion represented a combat between three warriors, one mounted
on a charger. That comb, however, should be classed among "dress" combs
rather than dressing combs.

The ivory combs for combing the hair vary in size and in the strength of
their teeth. Sometimes a comb made of boxwood was inlaid with ivory, and
delicately pierced panels were inserted in the centre of the comb. In
some instances a small mirror is found instead of a carved panel;
especially is that the case with the smaller combs carried in a reticule
or bag.

Inscriptions were common, such, for instance, as those which breathed
the sentiment on a boxwood comb in the British Museum, which is
inscribed in French: "Accept with goodwill this little gift"; it is a
pretty piece of early work, dating probably from the middle of the
sixteenth century.

[Illustration: FIG. 65.--THREE OLD SCRATCHBACKS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 66.--SILVER CHATELAINE TOILET INSTRUMENTS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 67.--ANOTHER CHATELAINE SET.]


Patch Boxes.

The accessories of the toilet table--useful and ornamental--are many. It
has ever been so, and in the change going on many odds and ends are left
behind and become relics of former practices. Perhaps among the most
interesting of these curios are the little boxes of porcelain, enamelled
wares, and wood, which were once used as "patch" boxes, and as
receptacles for the pigments employed when gumming patches upon the
cheeks and forehead was the height of fashion, and when painting the
face was the rule rather than the exception.

It may be contended by some that these mysteries of the toilet are not
unknown in the present day, but as yet the modern accessories of the
toilet table do not come within the ken of the curio hunter. It was at
the Court of Louis XV of France that the practice of gumming small
pieces of black taffeta on the cheeks originated, the patches soon
afterwards becoming common in this country. From simple circular discs
were evolved stars, crescents, and other curious forms; then, as in so
many other instances, extremes of fashion brought the practice into
disrepute, for so extravagant became the style that the "coach and
horses" patch and others as absurd came into favour. The famous Sam
Pepys recorded in his Diary the first time he saw his wife wearing a
black patch; apparently it caught his fancy, for he wrote: "My wife
seemed very pretty to-day, it being the first time I had given her lief
to wear a black patch." Incidentally it may be noted that the famous
Pepys controlled even his wife's toilet, and that she was obedient to
him even in the mysteries of the dressing table!


Enamelled Objects.

The receptacles for all these compounds varied; some were of wood,
beautifully carved, often embellished with brass mountings, the insides
being lined with silk, and small mirrors were inserted in the lids. The
pretty trinket trays, curiously coloured and decorated, boxes, and
little candlesticks for "my lady's table," made of Battersea and other
enamels, were much in favour a century or more ago.

Some remarkably charming boxes are met with stamped with the name of
Lille, in France, where many such objects were made--the English enamels
of that period are rarely if ever marked.

It would appear that very many of these little articles were the gifts
of friends or purchased as souvenirs of the comparatively rare visits to
fashionable places of resort. Many of those given by friends were chosen
because of the mottoes and emblems with which they were decorated; for,
like the combs, they were made use of to convey messages of love and
friendship. We can well understand the fear that might arise lest
patches became loose and rendered the fair wearer ludicrous; hence the
little mirrors so often found within the boxes, which it may be
mentioned were carried about in the pocket ready for use when
opportunity served.

Many of the older specimens are found with mirrors of steel which, owing
to exposure to damp, have become very rusty, and, in some instances,
have perished altogether. Others with silvered glass mirrors show spots,
and are much blurred from the same cause. The colourings of enamels
vary; in some the groundwork is white, in others pink or rose-colour or
blue. Little picture scenes are varied with the quaint mottoes or
sentimental lines so much in vogue then.

The illustrations given in Fig. 63 are typical of the choicer
decorations, showing the floral style as well as the pictorial miniature
scenes for which the artists of that time were famous. Some of the
toilet sundries took the form of scent bottles, others etui cases and
boxes for toilet requisites, including manicure sets.


Perfume Boxes and Holders.

Perfume has always been associated with the requisites of the lady's
toilet. Sweet-smelling spices are referred to in biblical records, and
even to-day the offering of perfume is a symbol of honour to the guest
in the East; and some very beautiful Oriental scent sprinklers and spice
boxes are now and then met with among Eastern curios. The long-necked
rose-water sprinkler is the most common form, supplemented by betel-nut
boxes and receptacles made by Persian artists for the famous attar of
roses. Scents and "sweet odours" became fashionable in Europe in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; articles of clothing were scented,
and there was a profusion of scent for the hair and in making the
toilet.

The pomander box, the favourite perfume holder of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries of England, was in the form of an apple, the
perfumes and spices being made up like a ball. It is said that the
perfume was prepared from a sixteenth-century recipe, the basis of which
was sweet apples or apple pulp, and scented gums and essences. From the
pomander box smaller receptacles were evolved, and more elaborately
prepared scents were kept in them. Some of the preparations consisted of
camphor, mint, rosemary, and lavender in vinegar, a piece of sponge
being saturated with the liquid. Then came the use of aromatic vinegar,
and gradually beautiful little silver vinaigrettes were introduced. Many
of them were very ornamental in shape, highly decorated with miniatures
and floreated embellishment, the monogram or name of the owner often
being added. In the outer case was usually a cover of perforated gold
which closed over a piece of sponge, upon which aromatic vinegar or some
similar preparation was poured. The best vinaigrettes are those bearing
the hall-marks varying from 1800 to about 1840, when the making of
vinaigrettes declined and other scents took their place.

The burning of perfumes in bedrooms and the fumigation of wardrobes and
chests by means of a fumador was a custom much resorted to by Portuguese
ladies in the eighteenth century. Sweet lavender is still used in the
linen cupboard, although its use was much more general in the days when
London street cries were heard.


Dressing Cases.

When people travel and visit their friends their luggage includes among
other things a dressing case, for there are many toilet requisites which
are of a personal character, and cannot well be substituted by others.
It is true that the need of portable dressing cases has increased of
late years owing to greater travelling abroad. Dressing cases, however,
are by no means modern, for some very beautiful examples with
silver-topped bottles, hall-marked in the days of Queen Anne, are among
the collectable curios. There is a still older example in the Victoria
and Albert Museum--a case of tortoiseshell, filled with a complete
toilet set, consisting of four combs and thirteen toilet instruments,
partly of steel and partly of silver. It is an historic case, having
been presented by Charles II to a Mr. T. Campland, who is said to have
at one time sheltered him. Many old families have interesting and
valuable examples, and not infrequently isolated cut-glass bottles with
Georgian hall-marked silver tops which have formed part of the equipment
of dressing cases are met with.


Scratchbacks.

Old English scratchbacks are among the rarities of the curios associated
with the toilet table. It is unnecessary to comment upon the habits and
customs of those periods when scratchbacks were found necessary, or to
refer to the hygienic conditions of the toilet then conspicuous by their
absence. It is sufficient to allude to these curious little
instruments, mostly shaped like a hand, often of ivory, and always
fitted with a handle in length from 12 to 15 in. The hand in some cases
is large in proportion, measuring as much as 2½ in. in length, sometimes
as an open hand, at others with the fingers closed, often very
beautifully modelled. Horn and whalebone were favourite materials for
the handle, although some were of ebony and other woods. Scratchbacks
appear to have been made both in lefts and rights in this country; but
the scratchbacks of the Far East were invariably rights. The
accompanying illustrations, Fig. 65, show the usual types of these now
obsolete toilet requisites, which it may be noted were sometimes
duplicated by miniature scratchbacks carried about on the person, hung
from the girdle.


Toilet Chatelaines.

The chatelaines worn by the ladies of olden time were bulky, and the
various objects deemed necessary to carry about the person rendered them
cumbersome in the extreme. A bunch of keys was always in evidence, and a
glance at a few old keys indicates how large the keys of even quite
small boxes were in olden time. There were the keys of the store
cupboard, of the linen chest, and of the larder and the wine cellar.
Drawers and cupboards and boxes, as well as the bureau or desk, were
always locked, and to deliver up the keys was indeed to surrender one of
the privileges of the matron and housewife which were jealously guarded.

[Illustration: FIG. 68.--FINE ORIENTAL LACQUERED BOX.]

[Illustration: FIG. 69.--SMALL LACQUER CABINET.]

[Illustration: FIG. 70.--A PAGODA-SHAPED CASKET.]

[Illustration: FIG. 71.--DECORATED JEWEL CASE.]

There were articles of toilet use, too, worn at the girdle. It is
recorded that Queen Elizabeth carried her earpick of gold ornamented
with pearls and diamonds. The little set, which was worn at a lady's
chatelaine in the eighteenth century, shown in Fig. 66, consists of
toothpick, earpick, and tongue scraper of silver, whereas the set
illustrated in Fig. 67 includes tweezers, a nail knife, and other
instruments. There are some charming manicure sets extant, as well as
isolated nail files of ivory and steel, and curious little instruments
for simple surgical operations, such as strong-nerved ladies were not
averse to perform in the good old days.


Locks of Hair.

Although long since separated from toilet operations, mention of locks
of hair so carefully preserved may not inappropriately be made here.
Many of these are associated with happy memories of childhood, others of
more saddened recollections. It has been a common practice to preserve
locks of hair of departed friends and relatives. In former days these
locks of hair were often enclosed in lockets, some of which were very
large. The simple lock did not always satisfy, for there are many
artistic plaits and beautifully formed sprays, imitating feathers and
even flowers, which were in years gone by cunningly interwoven and
artistically arranged on cardboard preserved by glass, often in golden
lockets and frames. Some persons have made quite important collections,
one of the most noted being that of Menelik II, the Abyssinian king, who
possessed upwards of two thousand locks, varying from light to dark, and
from fine to coarse, each lock being labelled with the date and
particulars of its acquisition. It would be well perhaps not to enter
too closely into the source of some of these specimens, which had
peculiar interest to the dusky king. It is said that some of them were
chiefly admired for their settings, which included mounting with rare
emeralds. The collection of emeralds, of which he had some of marvellous
beauty and lustre, was another of that monarch's hobbies.


Jewel Cabinets.

In association with the toilet table are the numerous boxes which have
been made as receptacles for jewels. From the days when the dower chest
contained a small compartment for valuable trinkets the furniture of the
lady's boudoir has been incomplete without a jewel box or some article
of furniture where the knick-knacks of the home could be kept, and more
especially the wearable jewellery. The Chinese and Japanese have ever
been clever in the fashioning of small cabinets, and many delightful
little boxes, cabinets, and jewellery receptacles have been brought over
to this country.

Some of the old lacquer ware is exceptionally interesting, the
decorations upon such pieces being doubly so when the legends they
depict are fully realized and understood. The accompanying illustrations
represent four Japanese jewel cases which are exceptionally fine curios.
Fig. 70 is decorated on the outside of the doors with a view of
Itsukushima; and there are two peacocks on the top, and the two elders
of Takasago are depicted on the back. The bamboo and the plum are
designs symbolical of longevity. This truly exceptional piece was sold
in the auction rooms of Glendining & Co., who also disposed of the
remarkable jewel box shaped as a pagoda, illustrated in Fig. 71, a very
beautiful piece elaborately decorated with birds and landscapes, and the
box illustrated in Fig. 68 and small cabinet, Fig. 69.



X

THE OLD WORKBOX



CHAPTER X

THE OLD WORKBOX

     Spinning wheels--Materials and work--Little
     accessories--Cutlery--Quaint woodwork--The needlewoman--Old
     samplers.


Under the generic term of "workbox" the curios of the household
associated with the industrial handiwork of former days may well be
reviewed. There is no record of when receptacles for ladies' work were
first introduced, although, no doubt, in very early days small oak
boxes, carved, and bearing the owner's initials, and other indications
of ownership, would be the chosen receptacles for the numerous oddments
which are required in the practice and pursuit of every home handicraft,
and especially those connected with plying the needle. There was a time,
however, when the fabrics used in the making up of clothing were
home-made, when the seamstress and the needleworker stitched and
embroidered upon cloths spun if not actually woven by the housewife and
her handmaidens. In the barrows containing remains of people of the
Stone Age, and the peoples of the early Bronze Age, among the few
ornaments and personal adornments buried with them were spinning
whorls--the curiosities which remain to us of the earliest known form of
textile craftsmanship.


Spinning Wheels.

In old pictures and woodblock engravings some curious illustrations are
met with showing Englishwomen using the distaff. St. Distaff's Day was
formerly the 7th of January, for it was then that the women resumed work
after the Christmas festivities were over. The distaff and the spindle
belonged to an age little understood now, and the occupations of the
women of that date are almost forgotten. The spinning wheel was the
outcome of the simpler distaff and spindle, and although the spinning
wheels we find among the most interesting of household relics look
primitive indeed compared with the complex machinery seen in the
spinning mills to-day, those dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries must have been considered ingenious contrivances when compared
with the older models, just as the latest types of sewing machines show
a wonderful advance from the early machines invented in the beginning of
the nineteenth century.

Very clever indeed were many women in manipulating the spinning wheel,
and there seems to have been some competitive contests for notoriety
among country women, who found a pleasing though perhaps at times
tedious occupation in spinning the wool for the local weaver who wove
the home-made cloth. It is recorded that in 1745 a woman at East Dereham
spun a single pound of wool into a thread of 84,000 yards. She was
far outdistanced, however, a few years later, when a young lady at
Norwich out of a pound of combed wool produced a thread computed to
measure 168,000 yards.


[Illustration: FIG. 72.--OLD SPINNING WHEEL.

(_In the collection of Mr. Phillips, of the Manor House, Hitchin._)]

To secure a fine spinning wheel is the ambition of collectors, and many
ladies point with pride to the old relic placed in a position of honour
on an oak chest of drawers, or, perhaps, standing on a coffer in the
hall. An exceptionally fine wheel is shown in Fig. 72; it is one of many
secured by Mr. Phillips, of the Manor House, Hitchin. Another
illustration is taken from a sketch of a spinning wheel in the Hull
Museum (see Fig. 73). It appears that early in the nineteenth century
Hull encouraged the training of domestic spinners, and at that time
supported a spinning school. _Apropos_ of that institution reference may
appropriately be made to Hadley's "History of Hull," in which the
historian, in reference to Sunday Schools, which had then quite recently
been founded, says: "From the Sunday School reports for this year [1788]
it seems they did not take. To whatever cause this may be attributed, it
by no means warrants the aspersions thrown upon the town on that
account, which has with equal ardour and wisdom espoused that useful
establishment of Spinning Schools, in preference to a preposterous
institution replete with folly, intolerance, fanaticism, and mischief."
In explanation it has been remarked that, "Evidently wheels were
plentiful in Hull and Sunday Schools a novelty." To-day we can reverse
the statement, for schools are plentiful but spinning wheels are rare!

Collectors eagerly secure anything in the way of a genuine antique
wheel, although the fastidious have the choice of two distinct
types--those worked by hand and those operated by a treadle. Sometimes a
spinning wheel made for the foot could be worked independently by the
hand, just in the same way as modern sewing machines are made for hand
or treadle, and sometimes a combination of both methods. The very
general use of the spinning wheel is accounted for by the fact that this
useful machine was met with in every cottage in the days when homespun
yarns and wools were prepared by hand, and they were also found in the
mansion and the palace, where they served to amuse the ladies of the
household.

There are many varieties of spinning wheels, among them the old oak
spinning wheels used in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, and the more decorative used until quite late in the
eighteenth century, from their ornament and lightness, apparently used
more for preparing the material for fancy work rather than for really
utilitarian purposes. Some highly decorative spinning wheels inlaid with
mother-o'-pearl and ivory have been brought over to this country from
Holland and other continental countries, perhaps the most decorative
being those made by French workmen in the Chinese style, the wood being
lacquered blue and ornamented with gilt.

Mr. John Suddaby, who presented the spinning wheel we have illustrated
to the Hull Wilberforce Museum, named after William Wilberforce, paid a
high tribute to the famous philanthropist, who he declared to be
associated with the spinning schools of the town. The old wheels of
early date were gradually improved until they were rendered obsolete by
the greater inventions of machines which could be worked by steam
engines, thus originating the factory system of textile production.

Among the sundry curios associated with the spinning wheel are
handsomely carved wood distaffs of boxwood, curiously turned spindles;
and now and then a pewter vessel of circular form, puzzling in its
identity, turns out to be the rim cup from the distaff of an old
spinning wheel.


Materials and Work.

Old workboxes appear to be very numerous. The older ones were mostly of
wood, but the external decoration seems to have been a matter of taste,
some preferring inlays. In early days moulded plaster ornament, richly
gilded and coloured, was much favoured, and in still earlier times deep
relief carvings in the oak of which the boxes were made. In the Stuart
and later periods ladies worked the exterior ornament in silks and
satins and embroidery. Among the workboxes in the Victoria and Albert
Museum there is a painted box in distemper and gilding, the subject
chosen for the ornamentation of the lid being the story of David and
Bathsheba, round the sides being floral devices. This decorative workbox
has drawers and compartments, a sliding front facilitating their use.

In the same collection there are workboxes overlaid with straw work in
geometrical patterns relieved by colour. Straw-work decoration was much
favoured at the commencement of the nineteenth century, its origin being
traceable to the French military prisoners in this country during the
Napoleonic wars between the years 1797 and 1814, when many officers and
men were detained at Porchester Castle, near Portsmouth, and at Norman
Cross, near Peterborough. The grasses, of which the boxes were covered,
were collected and dried by the prisoners, who obtained the different
shades and tints which render this class of work so effective by
steeping them in infusions of tea, according to a note by Dr. Strong,
who visited the barracks at Norman Cross.

The workboxes, so rich in gilding and relief, came from Italy, when, as
early as the year 1400, caskets were covered with a species of lime
which was moulded, the gesso, as it was called, on a gilt ground of
white compo, giving it a very rich effect. Leather was used with good
effect, too, for the ornamentation of workboxes, red morocco being much
favoured in England early in the nineteenth century. Fig. 76 illustrates
three very beautiful little fitted boxes with inlaid ornament and straw
work.


Little Accessories.

The contents of an old workbox are many and varied. Among the odds and
ends it is no uncommon thing to find relics of lace-making, by which so
many cottagers have been able to maintain themselves for generations.

[Illustration: FIG. 73.--SPINNING WHEEL.

(_In the Hull Museum._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 74.--OLD LACE BOBBINS.

(_a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, and _f_, reading from left to right.)]

There is something very remarkable about the manufacture of pillow lace,
in that it is carried on in the villages of Buckinghamshire just as it
was two or more centuries ago, and the pillow and the bobbins are almost
identical in form and design--indeed, the patterns of the lace have
changed little, for the workers cling tenaciously to the old designs,
Flemish in their characteristics, just as they do to the old bobbins.

Some of these little spools or bobbins have been handed down from mother
to daughter as heirlooms, and many of them carry a romantic story, if it
were but known. Just as the Welsh lovespoons and the Sunderland glass
rolling-pins were given as love tokens, many of these bobbins are the
result of patient labour, their decoration having often been the work of
days; ivory, bone, wood, and metal being cut and shaped, gilded and
stained, in order to provide the favoured one with a bobbin unlike any
other and quite distinctive in design. In the making of pillow lace,
pins, cleverly placed so as to form the pattern, were inserted into the
cushion, and the threads on a dozen or more bobbins deftly twisted in
and out and tied round the pins. The glass beads, many of the older ones
of odd shapes and colours, hand-made, made the first distinction, and
their weight helped to keep the light turned wood bobbins in place. It
was the bobbins which were ornamental, and some of the older ones--those
made in the eighteenth century--are very decorative, and now much sought
after by collectors. Those illustrated in Fig. 74 have been selected
from a large collection for their representative types: (A) is the
oldest; the ornament is of pewter let into the wood, it has a very small
spool; (B) is ivory, the incised parts stained green; (C) is bone, the
incised pattern filled in with gold beaten into a thin plate; (D) is
also of bone with a band of brass and coloured inlays; (E) walnut wood,
turned in the deep grooves are six loose silver rings, some of the heads
are of brass gilt; (F) the most modern type, such as may be seen in use
in Buckinghamshire to-day, the present revival of the hand-made lace
industry being due to the efforts of the North Bucks Lace Association.
Of such handwork Cowper wrote:--

    "Yon cottager who weaves at her own door,
    Pillow and bobbins all her little store:
    Content, though mean, and cheerful, if not gay,
    Shuffering her threads about the livelong day."

The lace-maker, and the housewife who occupied her leisure moments in
lace-making, left behind many collectable curios. The worker of samplers
and those advanced in the higher arts of needlecraft had also their
little work necessaries. Very clever indeed were the workers of
silk-embroidered pictures, and the instruments they used were fine and
delicate, different indeed from the coarser needles of the knitter and
the meshes of the netter. In later years the workbox became more
substantial, and less attention was given to the exterior, for the
interior fittings of the workbox became beautiful, and a wealth of art
was shown in the carving of the ivory accessories, and the pearl tops of
the thread and silk reels and winders and the curious little wax
holders. There were cleverly contrived measuring tapes, and beautiful
little baskets of ivory and wood, some filled with emery, others serving
the purpose of receptacles for pins and needles. From these evolved the
needlebooks and the more modern companions.

[Illustration: FIG. 75.--OLD PIN POPPETS AND ANCIENT PINS.]

In Fig. 77 are shown several beautiful oddments taken out of an old
workbox; they are all made of ivory, carved and fretted in such delicate
tracery that it is a wonder that they have survived for a century or
more without injury. Ivory work holders, in which ladies rolled their
needlework when they went out to tea, were often beautifully carved;
they, too, are charming additions to ivory workbox fittings.


Cutlery.

The cutler has contributed to the curios of the workbox. The knives and
scissors, bodkins, and stilettos from an old workbox look strangely out
of date when compared with those bought in the shops to-day. The chief
thing that is so noticeable to the critical observer is the cutting of
the steel and the hand ornamentation of those days. Some of the
embroidery scissors were engraved all over with fancy patterns, and
there are some remarkably quaint button-hole scissors, on which the
owner's name or initials were often engraved.

Some time ago an old lady made a small collection of thimbles. It was
not a very expensive hobby, but the variety she secured was truly
remarkable. There were thimbles of bone, ivory, steel, brass, enamel,
silver, and even gold. Some were chased and engraved, some stamped and
punched. There were thimbles of huge size and others with open ends, the
same that sailors use.

It is said that the thimble dates back to 1684, when one Nicholas
Benschoten, of Amsterdam, sent one as a present to a lady friend with
the dedicatory inscription: "To My frouw van Rensclear this little
object which I have invented and executed as a protective covering for
her industrious fingers." It is said the name in this country was
originally "thumb-bell," so called because of the shape being of
bell-like form. Of the thimbles of the wealthy it is recorded there are
thimbles of onyx, mother-o'-pearl, and of gold, encrusted with rubies
and diamonds--the seamstress has, however, to be content with useful if
less costly "baubles."


Quaint Woodwork.

By way of contrast the outfit of the worker often includes wooden
needles and occasionally utensils made of wood, but covered with
evidences of love and tender regard for those who were destined to use
them. The knitter seems to have been peculiarly fortunate, for knitting
sticks and sheaths afforded the amateur carver ample opportunities of
showing his skill; and, like the carved lovespoons, of which there is
such a famous collection in the Cardiff Museum, the knitting sheaths and
sticks seem to indicate that in a similar way the amorous swain gave
vent to his feelings in the curious designs, mottoes, and names which he
carved upon knitting sticks and kindred objects used by the lady of his
choice. In the Victoria and Albert Museum there are some beautiful
boxwood needle sticks; one example is cleverly carved with emblems of
Faith, Hope, and Charity. Another beautiful needle stick in the same
collection is mounted with silver. On some of the woodwork used for
similar purposes there are cleverly designed pictures, and these were
not always associated with private use, for the clothworkers in many
districts used quite fanciful tools, especially in the villages, where
time was of small moment, and the long winter evenings could be occupied
with cutting and carving the handles and framework of the tools which in
everyday practice served such a useful and often wage-earning purpose.
In the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a remarkable cloth-measure
made of walnut, bearing date 1745, three-sided, one being covered over
with letters of the alphabet cut in deep relief, thus serving a useful
purpose in the home or as an educational standard. On the second side
there are cleverly designed pastoral and hunting scenes, and on the
third the arms of the Swiss cantons. Other portions of the measure
illustrate the implements and tools used by clothworkers at that period.

Switzerland has long been famous for its wood carving, and many of the
curios found in this country have come from the Swiss mountain villages.
No doubt some of our readers have come across the old pin poppets which
boys and girls carried with them to the village school half a century or
more ago. The girls filled them with pins and needles, bodkin and
stiletto, and the boys with pencils and pens. In Fig. 75 two curious old
pin boxes are illustrated. The _pins_ shown on the same page are,
however, of much older date; they are, in fact, merely thorns; these
interesting and authentic relics of the "common objects of the home," or
perhaps more correctly described, of dress, are to be seen in the
National Collection of Wales at Cardiff, the measuring stick shown in
the photograph giving their size. The pin poppet, as its name denotes,
was, however, intended originally for the requirements of the early
needleworker who at the dames' school won renown in those great
achievements--the samplers of old. These, however, do not exhaust the
wood-carving curios of the workbox, but they may serve to remind
collectors of what they may hope to discover in their hunt for household
curios.


The Needlewoman.

The curiosities much prized to-day, the work of the needlewoman, or
those who plied the needle chiefly for purposes of amusement or to give
pleasure to those on whom they bestowed the products of their skill, are
met with in many distinct forms. This is not a work on needlework, or we
might tell of the various stitches which are indicative of certain
periods. It is, however, admissible to mention some of the household
curios, the product of such patient labour applied to the skilful
manipulation of silks and threads and cottons and wools, of all colours
and substances, embroidered or worked on canvas or other fabric.

[Illustration: FIG. 76.--THREE OLD WORKBOXES.

(_In the collection of Mr. Phillips, of Hitchin._)]

The mistresses of the old English homes were very industrious. They
worked crewel bed hangings and cross-stitch and tent-stitch upholstery
in the seventeenth century, and in still earlier times richly ornamented
linens and other fabrics with flowers and scriptural subjects. Writing
in reference to Queen Mary, the wife of William III, Sir Charles Sedley
said:--

    "When she rode in coach abroad
    She was always knotting thread."

And her example was followed by many in humbler circumstances. In later
years women have wrought needlework and beadwork pictures, and have even
threaded their needles with human hair when no silk could be found fine
enough.

Of the permanent ornaments of the home--now valued curios--there are
cases formerly used on a lady's toilet table, embroidered with floss
silk and frequently dated. Some were made to hold devotional books,
others were portable boxes, the covers of which were worked on white
satin with coloured silks and beads, oftentimes scriptural scenes being
depicted in silk; one very favourite scene in the seventeenth century
was the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon.

Many beautifully embroidered trinket boxes record the patience with
which they were worked, and were undoubtedly a labour of love. Among the
smaller objects, gifts from friend to friend, were pincushions, some of
which bear dates in the seventeenth century. These were worked in
coloured silks on canvas, the ornament often taking the form of a fruit
or flower basket, birds and insects. The favourite material and colour
for the back of such pincushions was yellow satin. A rather pleasing
variety consisted of bag and pincushion worked to match, the two being
united by a cord of plaited silk. Of purses there were many varieties,
chiefly made of coarse canvas worked in cross and tent stitches with
coloured silks and silver threads, couched or laid over silver thread,
and then stitched to the canvas concealing it. There are also miniature
pincushions worked in silk like the old samplers and brocade pocket
books, some of which were woven in France in the seventeenth century.
There are also holdalls and needle cases in embroidery and cross stitch.
The favourite colours worked by English ladies in the eighteenth century
were pink, orange, and light green. On these were often worked mottoes
and rhyme. One will serve as a sample:--

    "When Judah's daughters captive led
    Behold their mighty kings subdued."

Loyal mottoes were frequently worked, especially during the days when
the Pretenders were carrying on their hopeless campaign. There is a
subtle reminder of the desire to make known loyal feelings, intermixed
with prudence in concealing them, in the quaint embroidered garter in
the British Museum which is inscribed "GOD BLESS P.C."

To smokers were given embroidered tobacco pouches in green, pink, and
silver; one charming old beadwork tobacco pouch in Taunton Castle is
embroidered "LOVE ME FOR I AM THINE, 1631." There were necklaces and
bracelets of needlework, and some of coloured glass beads, as well as
the long watchguards worn round the neck, chiefly of the nineteenth
century.

[Illustration: FIG. 77.--OLD WORKBOX FITTINGS.

(_In the Author's collection._)]


Old Samplers.

Old samplers may well be regarded as educational, belonging to the
schoolroom as well as to the workbox. They were intended to teach
needlework, and served as reminders of alphabets, sums, and mapping.
Many worked in silk on yellow linen in the eighteenth century were quite
elaborate pieces of needlework. Those of the seventeenth century,
chiefly of linen, were much cruder and simpler in design. During the
latter half of the eighteenth century samplers were mostly worked on
canvas or sampler cloth, a material which was used almost as long as
samplers were in fashion. Different stitches were employed; there was
the early drawn and cut work, and then the silk embroidery showing the
girl's acquirement of the darning stitch.

Some early tapestry maps are numbered among the educational curios in
which samplers are so prominent. The Yorkshire Philosophical Society own
two unique specimens of sixteenth-century tapestry, formerly in the
possession of Horace Walpole. They measure about 16 ft. by 12 ft., the
sections including Herefordshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire,
Oxfordshire, and a part of Berkshire. These remarkable maps are vividly
coloured and show excellent pictorial scenes indicating villages, parks,
and country seats. Such maps are rare, but now and then really
interesting examples of needlework mapping are met with.

Collectors keep an eye on preservation, but they are keen on dated
specimens, and those with ornate and quaintly picturesque borders. The
condition adds to the beauty, but not always to the value, for many of
the older and less well-preserved samplers are now becoming scarce. They
have been retained by those who have no interest in antiques because
they bore the name of some fair ancestress who lived and worked on her
sampler more than a century ago, leaving it behind as a memorial of her
skill in the use of a needle for future generations to admire. How many
ladies of the twentieth century are preparing permanent records of their
skill in needlework for those who are to come to hand on to generations
unborn? is a question some may like to ponder.



XI

THE LIBRARY



CHAPTER XI

THE LIBRARY

     From cover to cover--Old scrap books--Almanacs--The writing
     table.


The library is usually where the master of the house conducts his
business correspondence and, if a student, spends much of his time among
his favourite books, or, perchance, engages in literary work. In days
gone by, when there were fewer opportunities of visiting public
libraries, and when circulating libraries were few and far between, the
man of letters accumulated around him standard works and ancient tomes,
possibly seldom read. When such a library, perhaps scarcely examined for
a century or more, comes to be dispersed, it often happens that
curiosities are brought to light.

The furniture of the library is full of interest, for a quaint writing
table, bureau, or desk full of oddments is an exceedingly prolific field
of research. In the following paragraphs a few of these curiosities are
referred to; there are others, however, that the collector will
discover, possibly one of the scarcer curios of the library, some of
which realize unexpectedly high prices when they are brought under the
hammer.


From Cover to Cover.

The books which constitute the library are often curious, and there is
much that receives its monetary value on account of its antiquity and
rarity. An old library will frequently include black-letter printing and
old volumes illustrated with wood blocks, and, perchance, illuminated
initial letters. Some of the volumes may be printed on vellum, and there
may be some in manuscript. The bindings of presentation books may be of
rich calf and tooled in gold; some may even have edge paintings and
choice hand-painted illuminations. The subject-matter of the volumes
often gives rise to specialistic collections. Some will find amusement
in tracing the progress of a great industry through published
information, like those curious old time tables in the early days of
railways, and the pamphlets which are classed by the collector as
"Railroadia," and from them learn the story of the "iron horse." There
are others who collect books and prints relating to ballooning, the
microscope, and many of the earlier sciences. There are topographical
curiosities and historical marvels. Some books will be valued because of
their illustrations, for the work of a master hand may be recognized by
the expert searcher after valuables. The rare mezzotints, stipples, and
delicate line engravings, to say nothing of the more valuable colour
prints, often realize far more than the books themselves. Ancient art is
more valued than the literary efforts of past masters of wielding the
pen!

It is thus that the books are often thrown away after the pictures or
even superadded illustrations or mere name-plates have been removed. The
collector of bookplates searches for his treasures. Some talk of the
vandalism of the collector of ex-libris, but they must remember that it
is quite easy to remove a bookplate without injuring the volume, and
there are many worthless books. The name labels or bookplates found in
English libraries range from the early dated plates of the close of the
seventeenth century to the present day. The different styles of ornament
in vogue in the respective periods of their engraving were with few
exceptions adhered to by the printers of such plates. Thus the collector
classifies his albums and rejoices in the variations and details of the
engraver's fancy, while he separates them into such well-defined groups
as early armorial, Jacobean, Chippendale, ribbon and wreath, urn,
pictorial, armorial, and simple shield. To other than the enthusiastic
collector, bookplates may possess merit in that they have belonged to
famous men, and are souvenirs taken from the volumes which were once
handled by distinguished statesmen, divines, and men of letters.


Old Scrap Books.

The making of scrap books or the filling of portfolios was not always an
amusement for children, neither did older folk make those quaint scrap
books with such assortments of literary and pictorial odds and ends
solely for the amusement of their visitors. Many enthusiastic collectors
stored their treasures in such books, the binding of which was often
very costly and quite gorgeously ornamented. Some pointed with pride to
collections of prints, others to albums of frontispieces, printers'
marks, and tailpieces, some of which were beautiful little pictures.

In modern times collectors rescue from the flames old tickets, pictorial
benefit tickets, theatre passes, and quaint pictures which tell us of
great events which happened in days gone by at Ranelagh, Vauxhall, and
other places.

Ranelagh, where the entertainments of which relics in the shape of
beautifully engraved tickets are to be found, was at Chelsea, and the
gardens visited by Walpole, Johnson, and Goldsmith were famous for their
promenades and for the music and singing which might be enjoyed, among
the evening pleasures being displays of fireworks and masked dances. In
the summer tea and coffee were sipped under the trees, and there were
water carnivals on the river. There were also masquerade balls and
dances, for which tickets engraved by Bartolozzi and other famous
artists were issued. It is these tickets which are preserved and
collected now.

The autograph hunter extends his hobby by adding old parchments and
deeds with seals, for among the odd bundles of parchments in old
libraries are many documents attested with thumb-marks and seals--"His
mark," of days when many of the landed proprietors could not write their
own names.

[Illustration: FIG. 78.--ANCIENT CLOG ALMANAC.]

The joys of St. Valentine's Day, remembered by older people still, are
unknown to the present generation, but collectors perpetuate February
14th as it was kept in the past by filling albums with such old
valentines as they may be able to secure.


Watch Papers.

Another comparatively small collection can be made up of pictorial watch
papers, those rare little pictorial views which once reposed in the
interior of the cases of old watches. Watches are by no means common
curios of the household, but now and then an old silver verge or a
decorated watch case thought little of is found to contain one of those
pretty pictures which were chiefly engraved and printed in the
eighteenth century. Many of the designs were printed on satin; some were
devices in needlework; again others were cut out in the most lace-like
designs. Theatrical celebrities were often pictured; thus the theatrical
amateur would buy his watch paper representing the celebrated Miss
Gunning, or possibly Mr. Garrick. The pictures were really gems, too,
for great artists such as Angelica Kaufmann, Cipriani, and Bartolozzi
did not disdain to engrave watch papers.


Old Almanacs.

Some of the best finds when libraries have been overhauled have been the
curious old almanacs published when superstition was rife. The oldest,
perhaps, were the clog almanacs, although some were common in
Staffordshire until about 1820. The accompanying illustration (see Fig.
78) was engraved in an old book referring to that county published more
than a century ago. In Camden's _Britannia_ some information is given in
reference to these early clog almanacs, in which it is said holidays
were distinguished by hieroglyphics; in some the Massacre of the
Innocents was denoted by a drawn sword; SS. Simon and Jude's Day by a
ship, because they were fishers; and St. George's Day by a horse. In the
Norway clog almanacs St. Martin's Day is marked with a goose, the custom
of eating a goose now being transferred to Michaelmas. In the
illustration given in Fig. 78 the first section embraces January,
February, and March; the second, April, May, and June; the third, July,
August, and September; and the fourth, October, November, and December.
Conspicuously inscribed on the clog will be noticed the ring for New
Year's Day; the star denoting the Epiphany; the axe for St. Paul;
February 14th is indicated by a lover's knot; a spear denotes St.
George's Day in April; and May Day by a tree branch. The keys of St.
Peter are noticed as indicating the 29th of June; the scales of St.
Michael are seen at the end of September. St. Catherine's wheel figures
in the middle of November, immediately under it being the somewhat large
cross of St. Andrew. Other symbols will doubtless be recognized on this
interesting relic.

The study of the almanac is not now one of the chief diversions of the
fair sex. At one time, however, when ladies had fewer amusements than
they have now, they spent much time poring over almanacs, and placed
implicit trust in what they found recorded there, especially in the
forecasts and prognostications for the future of those born on certain
days and under so-called lucky or unlucky stars. One of the most popular
calendars of olden time was "The Ladies' Diary or the Woman's Almanac,"
containing many delightful and entertaining particulars for the fair
sex. Let us take, for example, a copy of that popular almanac for the
year of grace 1749. On the cover there is a picture of the Queen.
Alluding to the peace then prevailing are the lines:--

    "Perch'd o'er this Realm, the ancient seat of Kings,
    Now dove-like peace the sprig of laurel brings;
    And British fair ones happy days shall see,
    While George shall reign, and Britons still are free."

Another George is on the throne, and his consort Queen Mary is an ideal
woman, and what to many is of the highest importance, Peace reigns in
this country and Britons are still free!

Among the contents of that curious almanac are Latin and French enigmas,
mathematical questions and paradoxes. The concluding paragraph for the
dedication of that day is entitled "Truth's Moral Euclid"; the
proposition given being:--

    "Virtue promotes happiness, private and public.
    Vice is destructive of happiness, private and public.
    Honour is the reward of virtue."

One of the finest collections of old almanacs is in the Bodleian Library
at Oxford--chiefly seventeenth-century productions. A still older
almanac was the "Poor Robin" of 1664; another seventeenth-century
almanac being the "Vox Stellarum" of Francis Moore, a quack doctor. In
1733 Benjamin Franklin published in Philadelphia his "Poor Richard's
Almanac," noted for its verses, jests, and sayings. The monopoly once
possessed by the Stationers' Company has long been broken down, and of
later almanacs and calendars there is no end. Among the miniature books,
the collection of which is much favoured now, are some very tiny
almanacs, like the beautiful specimens of such a calendar given in Fig.
80, produced actual size, shown open and closed. This miniature almanac
is printed on satin and is full of pleasing little pictures. It is the
work of a French artist early in the nineteenth century, the pictures
and their descriptions and the monthly calendars occupying alternate
pages. The binding is of mother-o'-pearl, bound in ormolu and richly
gilt and engraved. Some similar calendars in tiny leather bindings,
beautifully tooled and ornamented in gold, are also collectable.


The Writing Table.

The writing table usually occupies an honoured place in the library. It
may be a massive table of oak or a simple writing desk venerated on
account of the great literary works which have been written upon it. It
is no uncommon thing to read of large sums paid for a writing desk on
which the manuscript of a famous book has been penned, and some of the
writing tables upon which deeds of historical fame have been signed have
gained a reputation and a money value out of all proportion to their
curio or antiquarian merits. Not long ago the late King Edward presented
to the Commonwealth of Australia the table on which the great Charter
was signed, together with the inkstand and pen used on that occasion.
Those will be relics for future generations to value.

The table appointments are among the collectable curios of the library,
and prominent among these is the inkstand. Inkstands find their
prototypes in the inkhorns of the scribe; and throughout the generations
which have provided curios for twentieth-century collectors there have
been fresh supplies in silver, pewter, Sheffield plate, copper, bronze,
iron, wood, china, and brass. Very beautiful indeed are some of the old
inkstands in their separate vase-like attachments. The ink-well was
formerly accompanied by a sand box or a pounce caster, in modern days
superseded by a second ink-well. The sand casters for sprinkling pounce
or sand upon newly written pages were a necessity before the days of
blotting paper. Perhaps some day blotters, blotting pads, and the like,
may become collectable curios!

Collectors of old china are familiar with the rare boxes, egg-cup-like
in form, made by Richard Chaffers, of Liverpool, the blue and white
decoration, the name of the potter in the narrowed portion of the box
being characteristic of what was for a long time known as "Dick's
Pepperbox." It was, however, intended for a pounce box, the pounce or
pumice being a fine powder of the cuttle-fish bone, afterwards giving
the name to the pounce paper or transparent tracing material. Of the
inkstands to be seen in our museums there are many dating from almost
prehistoric times; their variety may be instanced by mention of one in
the Berlin Museum, an Egyptian curio said to be 3,400 years old, below
the ink compartments being a case for holding reed pens.

In early days before even well-to-do people could read and write the
scribe found a ready occupation. The materials he used were carried
about in a writing case of metal, and among such curios are writing
cases which were used in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They
were often the work of the craftsmen of Mesopotamia, who were clever
artists in metal, and the work they performed came to Europe through
Syria. The example shown in Fig. 81 is the work of Mahmud, the son of
Sonkor, of Baghdad, and is dated 1281. This beautiful specimen may be
seen in the British Museum.

The implements the scribe used changed as time went on, for parchment
was used quite early in the East. Writing was introduced into Spain by
the Moors in the tenth century, although writing paper was not made in
England until the fifteenth century.

[Illustration: FIG. 79.--OLD COIN TESTER.]

[Illustration: FIG. 80.--MINIATURE SOUVENIR ALMANAC.]

[Illustration: FIG. 81.--ANCIENT WRITING SET.]

The evolution of the pen has been slow, for the use of quills continues
still in some Government offices, and quills are still supplied to
readers in the British Museum Reading Room. The old-fashioned quill pens
were in days gone by shaped with a small knife made specially for that
purpose. Indeed, it is to the quill pen that we are indebted for our
"pen" knives, which have long been put to other uses. It was not
every one who was expert in cutting a pen neatly and making it write
well. Consequently an instrument was made for that purpose, known as the
quill-pen cutter. These cutters are now and then met with in old desks,
where they have lain unused for many years.

Quill-pen making was an important industry until the invention of the
steel pen, and the quality of the quill was a matter of importance to
the scribe. In a trader's circular dated 1820 there is notice of the
Royal Appointment of a Liverpool maker, who was authorized to exercise
and enjoy all the rights, profits, privileges, and advantages of his
appointment of Pen Cutter and Quill Dresser to His Majesty King George
IV. In the same circular it is stated that the quill pens supplied were
of varying qualities, secured from the swan, raven, goose, turkey, crow,
and duck.

Sealing correspondence was a necessity before gummed envelopes were
invented. Then sealing-wax was in daily use on the writing table, and
the signet ring or seal was requisitioned. The outfit of a library table
would scarcely be complete without wax, wafer irons, and seals. One of
the curios found now and then in old desks is a little cutting
instrument useful in removing seals or opening letters which had been
sealed. In the days before penny postage letters were sent carriage
forward, and the postage which had to be paid on the receipt of letters
from a distance was a heavy tax on those who had many friends and much
correspondence.

The penalty of being the recipient of much correspondence may, perhaps,
have been lightened by the wording of the seal; for many old letter
seals conveyed sentimental messages which to the receiver from that
particular sender might have meant much. The following is a selection of
the characteristic sentiments of the day: "Break the seal, read the
letter, and keep the secret"; "You have a loyal friend"; and "Life is
naught without a friend." We cannot tell what was the result of sending
a letter bearing such a seal legend as:--

    "Mine is a heart that loveth thee;
    So, ladylove, do thou love me."

Collectors' hobbies now and then are increased by the introduction of
something entirely new, something never known before, and the world
rejoices over a genuine novelty. The cynic declares that there is
nothing new under the sun, but the introduction of the penny postage in
1840, at the instigation of Rowland Hill, laid the foundation to stamp
collecting, which has become the most popular of all collectors'
hobbies. The philatelist is found in every civilized country, and the
collection of postage stamps, used and unused, grows apace. A bundle of
old letters in entire envelopes, posted forty or fifty years ago from
one of the British Colonies, discovered when ransacking an old library,
will probably prove the most valuable relic of the past found in it.



XII

THE SMOKER'S CABINET



CHAPTER XII

THE SMOKER'S CABINET

     Old pipes--Pipe racks--Tobacco boxes--Smokers' tongs and
     stoppers--Snuff boxes and rasps.


The slave of the pipe and the moderate smoker of years gone by have left
behind them relics in nearly every home. Such curios are found when
pulling down old houses, and clearing out rubbish heaps; and even when
making excavations in the vicinity of once occupied ground remains left
behind by smokers of olden times are discovered.

Many are marked as curios on account of their curious forms; others have
been regarded as such because their uses have become obsolete, and some
because of their great beauty and the costliness of the materials of
which they are made.

The collectable curios of the smoker's cabinet consist of clay pipes,
varying from the earliest form known to the later types not far removed
from the modern clays still smoked by workmen; of pipes of curious forms
and quaintly carved bowls; and the Eastern pipes, which look more like
show pieces in their size and forms than any pipe made for actual use.
The curios include tobacco jars, spill cups, and ash trays; and there
are also brass and copper spittoons and pipe racks. An old smoker's desk
often contains odd curios, such as the one-time common pipe-stoppers, so
many of which were made by Birmingham "toy-makers" in the eighteenth
century.


Old Pipes.

When tobacco was first introduced into this country, and smoking was
taught to those whose descendants in countless numbers were destined to
worship at the shrine of my Lady Nicotine on British soil, the pipe was
brought over too; for tobacco and the tobacco pipe are inseparable,
although the pipe shares its popularity with cigars and cigarettes.

There are few records of early experiments in the modelling and baking
of local clays by pipe makers; it was, however, soon discovered that
Broseley clay was most suitable for the tobacco pipe, and there are
pipes known to have been made at Broseley in the seventeenth century.
The flat heels of the early pipes were useful in that pipes could then
be laid down on the table. Then in the reign of James II an advance was
made by the spur-like projection of the bowl, which was found to be
convenient for the purpose of branding with the initials of the maker or
his trade mark, and there are many examples of old marks, some of which
are very curious, a not uncommon form being a punning rebus on the
maker's name; thus we have a gauntlet, used by a man named Gauntlet.

The earlier forms of clay pipes gradually gave way to the long-stemmed
"churchwardens," which in course of time were again superseded by pipes
with short stems. The meerschaum in its day had many followers, and some
of the curiosities of the smoker's cabinet (the term "cabinet" is used
here in a figurative rather than a realistic sense) are those
elaborately carved specimens of meerschaum, that remarkably light
material that lends itself so well to the carver's art.


Pipe Racks.

There appear to have been two distinct forms of racks--those used for
cleaning or rebaking clay pipes, and the racks on which they were
stored. The pipe rack was originally a wrought-iron frame upon which
dirty clay pipes were stoved in a brick oven and restored to their
original freshness. The stoving of pipes was a common practice not only
in taverns and public clubs but in private houses in the days when long
clay pipes were served to the guests, and a bowl of punch was placed
before them--it was thus that convivial spirits enjoyed themselves in
time gone by.

Now and then these old pipe racks are met with in some outhouse or
attic, but they are getting very scarce, for most of them appear to have
found their way into the scrap heap of the old-metal dealer. Some of the
racks intended for the storage of pipes and not for baking them were
exceedingly decorative, the ornamental sides terminating with acorn
knobs made of cast lead.


Tobacco Boxes.

It seems natural to suppose that the need of a suitable receptacle for
tobacco would early be felt. Many of the old tobacco boxes--those for
storage purposes--were made of lead or pewter. Lead was found to be cool
and was also used as an appropriate lining for boxes made of other
materials. Jars soon came into vogue, and there are quite ancient
specimens, especially the old japanned boxes, ornamented with figures in
gilt.

There is, of course, a vast difference between the storage jar and the
smaller box carried about by the smoker much in the same way as the
pouch is now used. Many still prefer metal to other materials, and it is
no uncommon thing to see brass and steel boxes in use in industrial
districts. Few, however, excepting modern replicas of the antique, are
decorated in the way the old Dutch tobacco boxes of brass were in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is not very clear why so many
of them were engraved with scriptural subjects, for there does not
appear to be much connection between biblical history and the pipe!
Engravings of scenes depicting Noah and the Flood are common, the
incongruity of the clothing shown being often commented upon; one writer
upon the subject referred to the engravings on one of these tobacco
boxes as being ornamented with Jewish characters wearing knee breeches
of English type, talking to Dutch frauen. Historical portraits are not
uncommonly met with on these quaint boxes, and quite a number of battle
scenes have been engraved. Such metal work has been gathered together
in several museums, and in the British Museum there is a fine collection
of various shapes, some oval, others long and narrow, and some almost
square. The brass tobacco box illustrated in Fig. 83 has a medallion
portrait of Frederick the Great in the centre, such embossed subjects
being very popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, both in
England and in Holland, although Dutch artists gave preference to
scriptural subjects, many fine examples of which are to be seen in our
museums. Fortunately there are many really curious specimens obtainable
at a moderate cost.

[Illustration: FIG. 82.--THREE CURIOUS PIPE-STOPPERS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 83.--BRASS TOBACCO BOX.

(_In the British Museum._)]


Smokers' Tongs and Stoppers.

Curious little ember tongs were formerly used by smokers for taking up
hot embers or ashes with which to light their pipes. Of these there are
several varieties, most of them of polished steel, cut and chased. In
the eighteenth century similar tongs were used for holding cigars; some
were fitted with small knives, and a few of the earlier examples
included tinder boxes. Not infrequently one end of the handle terminated
in a tobacco stopper.

Stoppers, were, however, destined soon to become an independent and
important smokers' accessory. They were made of different materials,
including brass, steel, bone, and ivory, to some being added a pick for
clearing out the bowl of a pipe. Many curious handles were modelled,
among the varieties being some representing soldiers in armour of the
time of James I. There is one favourite type representing Charles I,
crowned, and wearing the collar of the Garter, and another a bust of
Oliver Cromwell. In one example a farm labourer works a flail, in
another a milkmaid goes a-milking with her pail. There are many
varieties of a hand holding a pipe, of jockeys and prize-fighters, and
of St. George and the Dragon.

The three stoppers illustrated in Fig. 82 are quite exceptional
specimens, illustrating, however, the kind of stopper which collectors
should keep a keen look out for. These examples are in the British
Museum along with a few others of seventeenth and eighteenth-century
manufacture, having striking characteristics. One is described as having
a human figure at the butt, and at the other end a crowned head. The
third example is an historic souvenir, having been made, as the
inscription on the stopper indicates, from the royal oak which sheltered
Charles II, by Mr. George Plaxton, at one time "parson of the parish."

In the Taunton Castle Museum there is an exceptionally beautiful stopper
made of ivory inscribed:--

"NOW . MAN . WITH . MAN . IS . SO . VNJVST .
THAT . ONE . CAN . SCARCE . TELL . WHO . TO . TRVST."

There are similar stoppers in private collections. The inscription on
one at South Petherton reads:--

"THE . FAYREST . MAYD . THAT . DID . BAYR . LIFE .
FOR . LOVE . TO . MAN . BECAME . A . WIFE."


Snuff Boxes and Rasps.

Snuff-taking has been a habit associated with smoking tobacco from quite
early days. The preparation of snuff was formerly achieved at home, and
consequently there sprang up the need of rasps, which were frequently
carried about in the pocket, many of the cases being very ornamental.
They varied in size, but the rasp cases usually held a plug or twist of
tobacco from which the snuff was made.

There are several fine old snuff rasps in the Victoria and Albert
Museum, one large rasp measuring 15 in. in length; its case, which is of
walnut and extremely decorative, is attributed to a Dutch carver who
executed it in the second half of the seventeenth century. There is also
a small iron rasp in a case of teak wood, which is inlaid with rosewood,
ivory, and tortoiseshell, the rasp measuring about 8 in. in length. An
eighteenth-century French rasp of boxwood is carved in low relief; on
one side a pair of doves is represented, under the picture being the
legend, "_Unis jusqu'a la mort_." On the other side there is a man
blowing a horn with the legend, "_La fidelite est perdue_," around which
is a rope-like frame supporting two cornucopiæ. Another curious variety
of snuff rasp is made to run on wheels. When snuff-making became an
established trade, and the need for snuff rasps to be carried was not so
great, the decoration of snuff boxes became more ornate.

It was in the days of Queen Anne that the height of the glory of the
snuffer was reached; it was, however, during the reigns of the Georges
that so many beautiful boxes were made. There were boxes carved out of
a piece of wood, others of bone, papier-maché, and metal; indeed, all
the metals seem to have been used, for among the curiosities of old
snuff boxes are those made of iron, copper, brass, silver, and gold.
Some of the more costly were enriched with diamonds and precious stones,
and with tiny miniature paintings and beautiful Wedgwood cameos.

In the days when snuff-taking was a commoner practice than it is now,
the ornamental snuff box was the chosen gift to men of fame. Kings,
princes, and the nobility received gold and jewelled snuff boxes on
occasions when in more modern days they would have been given a scroll
of vellum in a golden casket.

Many provincial museums contain excellent collections of smokers'
requisites. In the handbook of Welsh antiquities published in connection
with the National Museum of Wales, in Cardiff, there are allusions to
several interesting specimens, the writer of the guide quoting some
lines penned by a sixteenth-century poet, who extolled tobacco thus:--

    "Tobacco engages
    Both sexes, all ages--
        The poor as well as the wealthy;
    From the Court to the cottage,
    From childhood to dotage,
        Both those that are sick and the healthy."



XIII

LOVE TOKENS AND LUCKY EMBLEMS



CHAPTER XIII

LOVE TOKENS AND LUCKY EMBLEMS

     Amulets--Horse trappings--Emblems of luck--Lovespoons--Glass
     curios.


The collector rarely troubles about attempting to solve matters of
dispute, and cares little to enter into argumentative discussions in
reference to the supposed purposes of the curios he collects, or the
different uses with which they have been associated. He does not inquire
too deeply into the faiths and beliefs which may have been held and
revered by his ancestors when he puts in his cabinet some curiosity
which may have been regarded almost with reverential feelings and
handled with superstitious regard by its original possessor. The more
thoughtful man does, however, pay some tribute to their early
associations. Our museums are filled with such relics, with delightfully
carved reliquaries, triptychs, and marvellously carved beads which in
their religious use as rosaries have been looked upon as something more
than mere specimens of the carver's art. There are mysteries in beliefs
which have been held dear in the past which are not understood by
succeeding generations.

It is difficult to understand in the present day the deep-seated faith
in amulets and charms, which were thought to have brought about what
would now be regarded as curious coincidences, or to place reliance upon
the babbling utterances of some old crone who posed as a witch or a
fortune-teller. Yet among such old-world stories there are germs of
truth although misapplied. The emblems, amulets, and charms so
implicitly believed in a few centuries ago are objects numbered among
collectable curios, valued even in this prosaic age not only for their
intrinsic worth and antiquarian interest, but for the so-called magic
influences they were supposed to possess.

There is something more understandable about love tokens, for we can
tell their purpose, and indeed to-day, stripped of the charm which was
often supposed to go with them, love tokens are given, received, and
valued just as much as they were in the past.


Amulets.

The amulet, which in its realistic form is regarded as an antiquity to
be preserved with care, was usually regarded either as a charm against
disease, accident, or misfortune, or as something the possession of
which would bring good luck. The efficacy of amulets was believed in by
the most cultured and scientific peoples in the past, for it was an
article of belief in Egypt and Chaldea. The Jews had regard for their
phylacteries, and the Greeks and Romans had their amulets. The image of
Thor was an amulet peculiar to the old Norsemen; and in Britain we have
had many examples.

[Illustration: FIG. 84.--COLLECTION OF HARNESS AMULETS AND TEAM BELLS.

(_In the possession of Mr. Charles Wayte, of Edenbridge._)]

Although not necessarily objects to be worn, no doubt charms usually
took the form of something which could be suspended, for the origin of
the word coming to us through the Latin has been traced to an Arabic
word, signifying a pendant. In the early Christian Church the fish was
worn as a symbol or charm, and in many parts of rural England to-day
amulets are kept, and even charms, as preventives against disease. Men
and women buy so-called amulets from the jewellers' shops at the present
time, and wear them on their watch chains or bangles, and round their
necks; but the faith reposed in such charms by the educated classes in
this country may be dismissed as a myth, for few really understand their
true significance, or place any real reliance upon such fanciful relics
of a former age--an age of superstition, when people blindly clutched at
any mysterious protective power or emblem.


Horse Trappings.

Among the commoner emblems of good luck handed down from the far-off
past, are the brass amulets worn on horse trappings even to-day. A set
of brasses consists of a face brass, taking chief place of prominence on
the horse's forehead; two ear brasses, which are seen behind the ears;
ten martingale brasses, worn on the breast; and three brasses suspended
from straps on each of the shoulders. These amulets were primarily worn
to keep off the "evil eye," and thus protect the horse and its rider or
its owner from calamity and harm. The brasses were varied in design,
some of the more important being developments of the crescent moon.
Some were made to imitate the sun with its pointed rays, others the
Catherine wheel; the Kentish horse, too, a relic of Saxon days, has been
frequently used, and there is the lotus flower of Egyptian origin. There
are Moorish and Buddhist symbols, and many curious developments which
have gone far astray from their original types. The agriculturist is
still superstitious, and does not like to lessen the number of these
somewhat weighty brasses suspended from his horse trappings. For
purposes of utility they are useless; they remain, however, a connecting
link with the superstitions of the past, and a collection of such
curious objects is of extreme interest. In Fig. 84 is shown an
exceptionally fine collection got together by Mr. Wayte, of Edenbridge,
who collects many such things.


Emblems of Luck.

There seems to be a distinctive difference between the amulets which
were protectors against harm and those which are emblems of good
fortune. Perhaps hovering between the two may be classed such curios as
those which tradition has held to be a preservative of luck, like "the
Luck of Eden Hall," that wonderful goblet preserved with such great care
in its charming case of _cour boulli_. In this category are the numerous
gifts from friend to friend having no special emblematic value, but
which were frequently handed over with such sayings as: "I give you this
for luck," and "May good luck go with you." The wish and implied virtue
in the charm has about as much value in it as the wish playfully and
unbelievingly uttered by the twentieth-century maiden at the wishing
well to-day.

There is still, however, an undeniable lingering belief in the
mysterious value in the possession of an emblem of luck, one of the best
known and commonly used to-day being the horseshoe, preferably,
according to old tradition, a cast shoe found and nailed up over the
doorway or in some prominent place. It is generally believed that the
horseshoe carries with it good luck on account of its form, which
resembles the crescent moon, a notorious symbol in the days of the
Crusaders, already referred to as being an important feature in the
amulets or charms on horse trappings--such is the curious mixture of
scepticism and superstitious faith met with to-day!


Lovespoons.

The collection of Welsh lovespoons in the National Museum of Wales,
several of which are illustrated in Fig. 85, is quite unique. Dr. Hoyle,
the Director of the Museum, in his admirable description of the case in
which these pretty little objects are shown, explains that they are
arranged to show the evolution of the lovespoon from the normal spoon.
Such lovespoons might, a few years ago, have been seen in many Welsh
homes, where they hung as things of ornament and sentiment, for it is
said they were given in "spooning" days to the girl of his choice by the
lover. The handle is of course the appropriate field of decoration, the
double bowl being symbolic of "We two are one." The dated spoons were
mostly made in the middle of the eighteenth century.


Glass Curios.

Some of the most pleasing love tokens are those made at Nailsea in
Somerset, and in Sunderland. The commoner kinds, chiefly made at the
latter place, were known as sailors' love tokens. They took the form of
rolling-pins, which were evidently intended for ornament and not for
use. A bow of ribbon was tied round the end of the pin by which the
roller could be hung up. These glass rolling-pins were covered over with
sentimental mottoes, generally accompanied by a ship, a typical feature
of the decorations commonly used. Some of these little mementoes given
away by sailors were of white semi-opaque glass, others were brilliantly
coloured.

Nailsea glass works were noted for the Italian influence shown in the
colour effects produced in them. Among other objects made at those
famous glass works were flasks and bottles for wines and spirits in
greens, browns, and blues, to which were added in smaller quantities red
and yellow. Other trinkets of an ornamental character were glass tobacco
pipes, bells, and coach horns. There were also Nailsea walking sticks
made of twisted glass, and many curious cups. Most of these were given
for luck, especially as love tokens when sailors were about to set out
on a voyage, the superstition attached to the gift being that if the
glass pin were broken it was a sign that the vessel in which the
giver had sailed had been wrecked. Hence it was that a ribbon was
securely attached, and the gift hung up out of harm's reach.

[Illustration: FIG. 85.--OLD WELSH LOVE SPOONS.

(_In the National Museum of Wales._)]

In association with glass rolling-pins and other love tokens there are
many sundry curios which from the mottoes upon them were evidently given
with a similar purpose. Even objects of metal and brass were frequently
inscribed with loving reminders of the donor. The pleasing little
trinket and patch boxes of enamels and glass, referred to in another
chapter, were given from sentimental motives as evidenced by their
inscriptions. Covers of pocket books and tobacco pouches were covered
over with similar legends, like a delightful beadwork tobacco pouch in
the Taunton Castle Museum, on which is the motto or sentiment, "LOVE ME
FOR I AM THINE, 1631," wrought by a seventeenth-century needleworker.

Similar mottoes are found on the little pincushions formerly carried in
the capacious pockets of women of olden time, sometimes wrought in
needlework and at others in beads.



XIV

THE MARKING OF TIME



CHAPTER XIV

THE MARKING OF TIME

     Clocks--Watches--Watch keys--Watch stands.


The early marking of time was simple enough, for we are told that the
Arabs, by driving a spear or a staff into the sand of the desert, told
the time of day. The shadow of the sun roughly gave those who were
familiar with astronomy the lay of the land and the time, approximately.
When the dial and the gnomon were understood, dialling became a popular
science, and ere long the sundial on the church tower, in a public
place, or in a private garden, told the time. Then came the marking of
time by pocket dials--an advance which foreshadowed the watch which was
to come.

The pocket dial was soon followed by mechanical clocks, the clock watch,
and the more delicate work of the watchmaker. The watch has become more
accurate in its marking of time by the introduction of machinery in its
manufacture; and it is cheapened by competition, so that now every one
for a mere trifle can carry in his pocket a watch by means of which he
can tell accurately the hour of day, as Shakespeare has it in "As You
Like It":--

    "And then he drew a dial from his poke;
    And looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
    Says, very wisely, 'It is ten o'clock;
    Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags.'"

Some further references to the sundial will be found in Chapter XVII,
the sundial being one of the accompaniments of the old-world garden.


Clocks.

In "Chats on Old Copper and Brass" some mention is made of old clocks,
and of the watch which grew in beauty and fineness of workmanship as it
evolved from the watch-clock and the still earlier lantern and other old
clocks, which were gradually introduced to supersede or supplement the
earlier sundials. Very remarkable indeed are some of these household
curios. The very movement of the clock, with its pendulum swinging to
and fro and the loud tick which can be heard all over the room, gives a
sort of venerated respect for the "grandfather," with its massive and
often richly carved or inlaid oaken or mahogany case, making it an
important piece of furniture in the room.

[Illustration: FIG. 86.--FINE GOTHIC FRENCH CLOCK.

(_In the collection of W. Egan & Sons, Ltd., Cork._)]

The Cromwellian lantern clock was beautiful in its way, and it may be
regarded as the earliest type of commonly used domestic clocks, most of
which were made at a later period than is denoted by the name of
Cromwellian. They are, however, of a good respectable age, and are now
really valuable household antiquities. The lantern clock may be
regarded as the ancestor of the "grandfather," the works of which were
protected by a wooden case. The evolution from the earlier type is quite
easy to follow, for the wooden hood to protect the clock on the bracket
shelf was added; then came the framed head, which was glazed, and
eventually the lower case covering the weights.

Much has been written about "grandfathers" and the smaller variety
commonly designated "grandmothers." The dials of the earlier specimens
are of brass and have only the hour hand, an onward step being marked
when the minute finger was added. The mechanical arrangement by which
the days of the week and the month were indicated was a happy addition,
although some would, doubtless, regard them as somewhat unnecessary. The
collector of antiques is likely to be imposed upon unless he is
acquainted with the technical construction of both works and frame or
case, for it is not an uncommon thing to fit in a modern antique case a
set of old works.

The timepiece is an innovation of comparatively recent days. From the
first it became the central ornament on the mantelpiece, and many
artists were employed in providing suitable designs and combining
various materials to produce clocks in keeping with prevailing styles of
furniture and decoration. The French clockmakers became experts as
designers of the smaller and more varied cases of mantelpiece clocks,
many fine examples of the Empire period ranking as art treasures as well
as curios.

Fig. 86 represents an exceptionally fine example of a Gothic French
clock, beautifully modelled, and in excellent condition. Some of the
gilt clocks and side vases to match were bought as mantelpiece
ornaments, rather than for their merit as timekeepers, although the best
makers always put in reliable works--there were no such works as those
made by machinery and sold so cheaply to-day!

The timepieces of early Victorian days are scarcely antiques, and few of
them are treasured as such, although undoubtedly curious.


Watches.

The first step towards watches as we understand them was the manufacture
of pocket clocks (many of which show Dutch influence in design), some of
the cases of which were very beautiful. The watches which followed in
due course were at first without glasses, and for the better protection
of the works and of the delicate engravings and ornamentation of the
backs and dials loose cases of metal or shagreen were made. Some of them
were highly ornamental, little studs of gold or silver being arranged in
geometrical and floral patterns on the exteriors. Two very pretty
examples of such cases are shown in Fig. 88.

[Illustration: FIG. 87--SPECIMENS OF OLD WATCH KEYS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 88.--TWO ANTIQUE WATCH CASES.]

Many of the watch backs were chased and perforated and beautifully
enamelled; the dials were covered with painted miniatures, and gold
watches were enriched with jewels. From Switzerland and Nuremberg come
many choice examples; but there were clever watchmakers in England too,
among them John Stevens, of Colchester, a sixteenth-century
watchmaker noted for his pierced and engraved brass-gilt cases.

Classical figures and designs showing Dutch influence became popular
late in the seventeenth century; then fashions changed, and the Court of
the Emperors of France exercised an influence over art in this and other
countries, and watch cases and other lesser objects were made more or
less in harmony. At one time curiously shaped cases were the fashion; at
another octagonal watches, such as were made in the seventeenth century
by Edmund Bull, of Fleet Street, who is said to have made an elliptic
silver watch engraved all over with minute scriptural subjects.

The collection of watches is a hobby indulged in by but few; there are,
however, many single examples included in household curios, and not
infrequently several handsomely engraved old watch cases are seen
exhibited in the modern glass-topped curio tables so fashionable in
twentieth-century drawing-rooms--now and then the interest in them being
increased by the musical bells of the repeaters, many of which were made
a century or more ago.


Watch Keys.

Keyless watches have been invented within the memory of most of us; it
is obvious, therefore, that old watches were supplied with old keys,
many of which were curious in form. The collector in search of a small
group of collectable curios finds the watch key an excellent variety on
which to specialize. When larger clocks were supplemented by the pocket
watch, the loose key with which to wind it up naturally took the form of
the larger clock keys. Such keys soon became more ornamental, for they
were either carried in the pocket or attached to a chatelaine or bunch
of keys; many of the bows were modelled on the pattern of other keys on
the bunch.

In the accompanying illustration, Fig. 87, some little idea may be
formed of the early developments. The three keys in the upper row are of
the clock-winder type, showing the gradual improvement in their
formation. Then came a development of the metal keys, mostly of brass,
the engraving and modelling of the key itself being improved, the
ornamentation being supplemented by enamelling. The watch key ultimately
became very ornate, for the more precious metals were gradually
introduced, and rich enamels, rare gems and stones, and Wedgwood cameos
were added.

Pinchbeck metal was very much used for watch keys, the fob seals
remaining in fashion until knee breeches went out. Some of the French
keys are extremely decorative, and many cut and polished steel keys are
worth collecting. It is said that Switzerland is one of the happy
hunting-grounds of the watch-key collector, but there are many curio
shops, both on the Continent and in this country, where fancy keys can
be bought still at reasonable prices. In some localities special designs
and metal have been made. Thus it is said that in Holland the silver
keys of large size were long favoured, and many of these are still on
sale. Another special feature about these curios is that makers at one
time specialized on trade emblems, and it is quite possible to get
together an interesting collection representing the attributes of
musicians, butchers, bakers, and horticulturists, one signifying the
latter industry being shown in Fig. 87, that on the left-hand corner of
the lower row being fashioned in the form of a spade and a rake.


Watch Stands.

There are some very quaint old wood watch stands used chiefly as the
temporary home of the watch at night, although some seem to have been
permanently used by those who possessed a second watch. Some of the wood
carvings were covered with old gilt; others were relieved in colours.
Some were classic in design; others were like the little French clocks
of the Empire period. Some were shaped like musical instruments, and
others of more elaborate forms of decoration represent Mercury and
Hercules supporting the watch stand. Some of the most beautiful are made
of French lacquer and ornamented in the Vernis Martin style. To these
may be added watch stands of marble, and curious inlays, of papier-maché
and japanned wares, and some of brass and bronze.



XV

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS



CHAPTER XV

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

     Early examples--Whistles and pipes--Violins and harps.


There are few homes without some old musical instruments, indicating
that at one time or other one or more members of the family have been
musical. There is a sadness about the discovery of a long-neglected
instrument, telling of the breaking up of the old home or of an absent
one whose instrument has been cherished in memory of happy moments when
harmonious sounds and beautiful music were drawn from the now
long-neglected piano, harp, or violin. To its owner a simple flute or
bugle is probably of as much value as an old piano, although the more
important instrument may be more valuable as a curio and antique. There
are some old instruments which increase in value, such, for instance, as
violins made years ago by masters of constructional art, for they have
become mellow with age, and, like the bells of some old parish church,
now give out rich and yet soft notes when handled by a master hand. The
story of the development of the piano from the very early prototypes is
an enchanting theme to the lover of music, for there is a far remove
from the modern pianoforte, and still newer player piano to the
virginal, harpsichord, and spinet which may occasionally be found among
the curios of the household.


Early Examples.

In the eleventh century, when musical notation came into being, a
monochord was used to teach singing. The clavichord followed in due
course, and by a rapid process of development regals, organs, and
virginals evolved. The virginal, although distinct, was associated with
the spinet, which with the later harpsichord may be found in houses
which have been but little disturbed since the middle of the eighteenth
century. It was in that century that the piano came, but not until it
was well advanced, for in an old playbill of Covent Garden Theatre,
published in 1767, it was announced that "Miss Brickler will sing a
favourite song from _Judith_, accompanied by Mr. Dibdin on a new
instrument called the piano forte." Of such instruments and of earlier
types there are many fine examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum at
South Kensington, in the Royal Scottish Museum, and in the Crosby-Brown
Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In Fig.
89 is seen a beautiful spinet in excellent condition.


Whistles and Pipes.

It is said by the exponents of artistic furnishing and decoration that
no home can be complete without music, for it gives an atmosphere of
art which nothing else can impart; and certainly a collection of
household curios cannot be complete without some musical instrument,
although but a humble example. It may be a moot point among collectors
whether the insignificant whistle or primitive call can be regarded as
sufficiently musical to rank in this category. It is certain, however,
that it is one of the commonest of sound producers; if there is a boy in
the home there is almost sure to be a whistle in the house. Few trouble
about the scientific explanation of the sound produced by this common
instrument, but experts tell us that the sound comes because
condensations occur by the collision of air against the cutting edge
placed in its path. Of antique whistles there are many types, those
shown in Fig. 90 being the most frequently met with. The one marked "D"
is said to be an attempt to increase the volume of sound by the
extension of a cutting edge. A double sound is produced by that marked
"F," whereas "A" is of the more familiar type, the example illustrated
being an ivory whistle used upwards of a hundred years ago.

From the whistle came the tin pipe capable of producing tunes in the
hands of a skilful player. The whistle and pipe were in olden times
associated with coaching days and inns. At one time it was customary for
a whistle to be attached to the handles of spoons used on inn tables.
Thirsty travellers blew the whistle when refreshment was required, and
from that custom we get the common expression, "You may whistle for it."
The horn, too, was a favourite instrument, and very necessary in days
gone by, when it served many useful purposes.

The horn is probably the most ancient of all wind instruments. It was
used at the Jewish feast of the Atonement, and the Romans used it for
signalling purposes, their infantry carrying circular bronze horns.
There is an interesting popular fable that horns were first introduced
into Western Europe by the Crusaders; but that is incorrect, in that
bronze horns have been found in prehistoric barrows. The horn was
commonly used for summoning the folk mote in Saxon times, and in quite
early days horns sounded in English homes on the arrival of guests. The
hunting horn was found in every house of importance in mediæval times,
and in the sixteenth century it had become semicircular. Great composers
testify to the value of the horn in instrumental music, Handel and
Mozart writing pieces specially adapted for its use.

Some very quaint old flutes are found among household instruments, the
origin of the primitive pipe or flute being lost in the mists of
antiquity. Among household curios old flutes beautifully inlaid stowed
away in antique leather cases are interesting relics of former days.

[Illustration: FIG. 89. OLD SPINET.

(_In the collection of Mr. Phillips, of Hitchin._)]


Violins and Harps.

To many the chief charm of old instruments is found in the delicious
tones and notes produced by an old violin, which, if the work of a
well-known maker, commands a fancy price; among the most valuable being
an authentic Stradivarius. Many old English violins were made in Soho
in the eighteenth century, for that was the centre of the trade,
although in still earlier days violin makers worked in Piccadilly. In
Soho, too, horns, trumpets, drums, and guitars were made. The guitar,
but in slightly altered form, was the popular home instrument played
upon by Greek and Roman maidens. Many of the earlier European lutes were
in reality guitars. Some beautifully inlaid specimens are occasionally
met with. Of these there are many varieties in the Victoria and Albert
Museum; among them there is a guitar lyre, on which is a mask of Apollo,
an exact imitation of the lyre of the Ancients, which was formerly used
by a member of the Prince Regent's Band at the Royal Aquarium, Brighton.

There is one other instrument which ranks high among the musical
instruments of olden time found in British homes. It is the harp, heard
to perfection in the drawing-room and the concert hall--an instrument
upon which such beautiful melodies can be produced. There are many
pretty legends about the harp heard with such delight and yet
superstitious awe by the Vikings, who, on their return from Britain,
told of the mysterious shores where mermaids of great beauty were said
to rise from the seas, and, sitting upon the foam-lashed rocks, played
upon their harps music of sweetest sound. American collectors to-day pay
large sums for genuine Irish harps, which differ somewhat in size and
form from those upon which Welsh maidens played. There are still a few
such ancient instruments to be met with in Ireland and Wales.

Of minor instruments there is not much to say--all are intensely
interesting when they carry with them memories of former owners, for
they are veritable mementoes of home amusements, pleasures, and
delights.



XVI

PLAY AND SPORT



CHAPTER XVI

PLAY AND SPORT

     Dolls--Toys--Old games--Outdoor amusements--Relics of sport.


It would appear that there have been amusements at all periods of the
world's history, and that everywhere work and play have gone hand in
hand together. The occupations of the nursery have been an intermixture
of lessons and play; amusements, although not always of an elevating or
educative character, have for the most part tended to develop and form
the mind, as well as strengthen the body. Recreation has played an
important part in the upbringing of child and man, and when absent the
advance has been retarded. The youth of all ages has found time for
games and sports, which have enlivened the duties of manhood and
womanhood by physical and mental pleasures. Even as age creeps on, men
and women lessen the monotony of daily toil by indulging in indoor games
and outside sports, suitable to their age and inclinations. As few games
can be played or sport engaged in without accessories, it is not
surprising that many relics of the play and sport of past generations
are to be met with.

Some of the appliances and apparatus which were acquired in the pursuit
of these pleasures have become of antiquarian value, for many of them
are curious and represent amusements almost forgotten. Others tell of
the steady survival of the oldest games and amusements, but show the
developments and alterations which have gone on in the methods of
playing or in the appliances which have been invented to enhance the
interest in those delights. These changes are seen more especially in
sports and games of skill. As an instance, we may take one of the great
manly sports, that of hunting game, a custom surviving from days when
this England of ours was a wild and uncultivated forest and swamp, full
of strange birds and many wild animals roamed therein. The flint-pointed
arrow of primitive man was but the beginning in the evolution of arms.
In the relics of these former plays and sports there is much to admire,
and many objects to collect.

There is something very pathetic about the household relics of the
playroom and the nursery. Many little articles of clothing and valueless
toys and trinkets are retained by a fond mother years after her
offspring has grown up. They remind her of her early married life, and
very often of children who have played in the nursery but who never
lived to grow up. These pathetic relics have been carefully preserved
for at least one generation. Then their associations have been
forgotten, and those into whose hands they fall probably know nothing of
their origin; to them they are merely curios. A sympathetic feeling may
have induced a new owner to retain them for a little while longer,
although of no great intrinsic value; but oftener than not they have
been kept as connecting links between the old and the new, and thus they
have been handed on until their age alone would make them collectable
curios in this day of reverence for all things old!

[Illustration: FIG. 90.--CURIOUS TYPES OF WHISTLES.]

[Illustration: FIG. 91.--QUAINT OLD TOY.

(_In the possession of Mr. Phillips, of Hitchin._)]

There has been a remarkable sequence in the toys of children of all
generations, and of races far apart. The same games have been played,
and the same toys used. Now and then a child more careful than usual
preserves his or her toys when grown to man's or woman's estate; but
such collections are rare. There are some noted collections, however,
which have passed into the range of museum curios, grouped together as
representative of the period when they were played with--authentic
records of the playthings of that day. In Fig. 91 there is a remarkable
old toy now in the diversified collection of household curios and
antique furniture of Mr. Phillips, of the Manor House, Hitchin.


Dolls.

Probably the commonest toy is the doll, which children have ever
regarded as the ideal plaything. The maternal instinct is strong in the
youngest girl, and dolls are often looked upon as something more than
mere toys. They are talked to, played with, and treated as if they were
human beings. Their realism, at first imagined, seems to have grown up
with their long use until a personality surrounds each one of the dolls
in the nursery. Now and then a quaint doll is treasured as having been
the plaything of more than one generation, especially so the old wooden
Dutch dolls, strong and lasting, which have in some instances been
handed on as playthings, almost as family heirlooms.

The most famous collection of dolls played with by one child, and yet
dressed to cover almost every period of English history--a veritable
history of costume--is that famous collection in the London Museum,
consisting of dolls dressed by and for the late Queen Victoria, who,
doubtless, had unique opportunities of copying correctly the costumes of
the Court, and of others less high in social status, during the reigns
of the English sovereigns who had preceded her.

Few, if any, can hope to possess such a representative collection; there
are many who can find, however, curiously dressed dolls which are very
helpful in learning something of local costumes and useful instructors
in research after the habits and occupations of people who may have
lived in places and districts little known to the present generation.

Some children's toys are much older than they appear at first sight to
be, for many very similar playthings were found in the playrooms of boys
and girls who lived two thousand years ago. There are the dolls and
quaint little figures played with by Greek and Roman children. Among the
more familiar objects were little wooden tortoises, ducks, and pigs.
Some were cleverly carved out of wood, and the arms and legs of dolls
moved, much the same as the Dutch dolls of later days. Those children
had chariots and horses of metal much the same as children have leaden
soldiers now. They trundled hoops of bronze, in some of them bells being
placed in the centre, ringing as they ran along. Some of the toys of
these little Roman and Greek maidens and youths were very elaborate, and
must have belonged to the children of the wealthy, who, like modern
parents, gave presents to them on "name" days.

Toys have always served the double purpose of amusement and education.
Years before kindergarten methods were adopted--although unknown,
probably, to parents--scientific and philosophic toys were doing good
work, and driving home elementary truths. There were curious cylindrical
mirrors, the inevitable kaleidoscope, and the water imps, an amusing
toy, for the imps, inserted in a bowl or bottle of water, bobbed about
in a curious way when the india-rubber cap which covered the neck was
pressed and manipulated by the fingers. The modern picture theatre, with
all its attractions to grown-up folks, was foreshadowed in the very
primitive magic lantern, which threw a cloudy disc and an almost
undiscernible picture, by the aid of an evil-smelling oil lamp, on an
old sheet hung up in the nursery.


Old Games.

There are many curios reminding us of indoor games and winter amusements
now obsolete, and of the change which has gone on in games still played.
When we recall the number of new games which have been introduced during
the last quarter of a century, it is surprising how few have survived.
New games come and go, and their accessories are discarded as but toys
of the moment. Most of the popular games are those which have been
handed down throughout the ages, many of them of great antiquity,
especially scientific games and games of skill. Among these games, or
rather the apparatus for playing them, are often curios, for they are
quite different to and often more decorative than those used in playing
similar games to-day. We are accustomed to plain leather or wood chess
and draught boards and the regulation patterns of the men nowadays, but
formerly much time was expended in decorating and enriching chess boards
and men. The boards often served other purposes too, many being
beautifully inlaid and reversible; thus the older game boards were
fitted with slides for backgammon, provision being made for chess,
merelles, and fox and geese, the oak of which they were often made being
relieved with rich marqueterie (_tarsia_) of ebony, ivory, and silver.

It is not often that a collection of old chessmen is found among
household curios, although it was not uncommon to discover among sundry
ivory carvings a few odd pieces which had been secured on account of
their beautiful carving. In India and China some very remarkable
chessmen have been produced. The origin of the game is lost in
antiquity, although it was played in the East at a very early period. It
is said to have been introduced into Spain from Arabia, and to have been
played by the Hindus more than a thousand years ago. It was certainly
known in this country before the Norman Conquest. Some few years ago a
very remarkable collection of chessmen, such as may be seen in isolated
sets or still more frequently represented by single pieces in cabinets
of old ivories, was dispersed under the hammer in a London saleroom.
There were Chinese sets in red and white, wonderful figures standing
upon concentric balls; antique Persian sets in cream-coloured ivory
decorated in colours and gold, kings and queens on elephants, knights on
horses, and bishops on camels; Burmese sets with royal personages seated
on chairs of state; and some very remarkable English porcelain, Wedgwood
ware, and Minton pottery sets.

Several finds of Scandinavian chessmen, made, probably, in the twelfth
century, have been made in the island of Lewis. From these and other
sets met with in other places much has been learned about the evolution
in the game.

The queen does not appear to have been introduced into the game until
the eleventh century. The castle has undergone many changes; its older
name of "rook" was derived from the Persian word _rokh_, a hero. No
doubt all the pieces were then carved personalities, well understood
from king to pawn. In the modern forms of Staunton and London Club
patterns the knight alone retains its semblance in the horse's head--a
poor substitute for the beautifully carved warrior on horseback seen in
some of the older sets.

Draughts, or dames, is also a game of antiquity; and in the British
Museum there is a set said to date back to the Saxon period. Some of the
old boards are interesting relics, and the sets of carved draughtsmen,
now scarce, are beautiful works of art.

Backgammon is one of the older kindred games, frequently played on the
interior of the chess board which was for that purpose marked with
twelve points or flèches in alternate colours. In this game dice were
used, and some of the old dice cups are very prettily decorated.

Cribbage played with cards and a board is said to be essentially an
English game. Some very remarkable cribbage boards were made many years
ago, many of metal, others of wood and ivory; one exceptionally
interesting piece, a brass cribbage board, in the Victoria and Albert
Museum, is engraved: "MR. CHRISTR ELLIOTT AT WINBORROW GREEN, SUSSEX
1768."

Cards, of which there are so many curious types among the old examples
found in many homes, were introduced into the West of Europe from the
East about the fourteenth century. At first they were hand drawn and
coloured, then printed from wood blocks, being subsequently printed from
blocks and plates engraved on the types which were gradually
standardized. Some very interesting collections of old cards have been
made, one of the most complete being that of Lady Charlotte Schreiber,
now in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum.

In the days when card playing was at its height many fine brass counter
trays and curious card trays were fashioned in brass and copper. Some of
these may very well be collected, and are suitable receptacles for old
metal counters, of which there are many varieties. Some of these
counters were made by the diesinkers who helped tradesmen to provide
themselves with token change, and they bear a striking resemblance to
the contemporary metallic currency. Others were chiefly hand engraved,
and often sold in small metal and silver boxes, those dating from the
time of Queen Anne being the most interesting. The most popular card
counters in the early days of the nineteenth century were brass copies
of the spade-ace gold guinea, which they closely resembled, and it is
feared, when gilt, were not infrequently palmed off as genuine gold.


Outdoor Amusements.

The outdoor games practised when household curios were being fashioned
necessitated fewer accessories than such games do to-day, and many of
them were crude and obviously the work of amateurs. Yet the same games
were being played and possibly enjoyed as much, although the sport was
rougher!

When we think of winter amusements in the past somehow we conjure up
pictures of hard frosts and crisp snow, although rain, damp, and fog
were probably frequent visitors in Old England. Some of the games can be
traced back to very early days--such, for instance, as skating, many
ancient skates having been found. There is a remarkable contrast between
the beautifully made skates now used on the comparatively rare occasions
when the ice bears and the roller skates used all the year round, to
those curious bone skates, so very primitive in their construction,
examples of which are to be found in several local museums. In the Hull
Museum, among the Market Weighton antiquities, there is a choice
collection from East Yorkshire; one, made from the cannon bone of a
horse, is smooth and well polished, having seen some active use,
evidently belonging to some skater in the fifteenth or sixteenth
century.

The bone skates were fastened on to the feet much the same as metal
skates, but they had no cutting edges, and consequently the skater
carried a stick shod with an iron point, and by its aid propelled
himself forward. Fitzstephen, writing in the time of Edward II,
describes the ponds at Moorfields where the citizens of London skated.
The ponds have long been dried up and built over; it is there, however,
where, during excavations, some very fine examples of the old bone
skates have been found.


Relics of Old Sport.

Among the relics of old sport met with are the curious and often
beautifully embroidered hoods of white leather used in the days of
hawking. These pretty little hoods, which were placed over the head of
the hawk when carried on the wrist to the hunting field, were often
embroidered in panels and furnished with braces for tying round the
hawk's head. In the British Museum there is a curious silver lock-ring
for a hawk engraved with arms and owner's name, apparently of
seventeenth-century workmanship. No doubt the real purport of such
curios is often overlooked, for not infrequently hawks' hoods have been
found amongst old dolls' clothing, having been given to children in
later years as playthings.


Guns, Pistols, and Flasks.

Eastern weapons have been brought over to this country in large numbers,
some of them very ancient. It is said that among some of the Arab tribes
it is no uncommon thing to meet with swords and daggers of antique form,
richly damascened, and sometimes with jewelled hilts, made a thousand
years or more ago, and a few years ago Crusaders' relics could be met
with in the East. Many of these knives have silica blades, some of the
handles being of jade. Those of grey jade are often piqué with gold,
others, of ivory, being inlaid with jewels.

There is not very much to interest in old guns of English make, for few
found in houses date back beyond the commencement of the nineteenth
century. Among them, however, are flint-locks and here and there an old
wheel-lock. The pistols met with among household curios are often
handsome and have been preserved in leather cases, carefully stowed
away. Some of them record the days of duelling, others the dangers of
the road, when highway robbers lurked in every wood, and many a family
coach was waylaid and its occupants robbed of their jewels and their
purses of gold. To those interested in sporting, and familiar with the
breech-loading guns of the present day, much interest attaches to the
old powder flasks which were once necessary accompaniments of sportsmen.
There are many beautifully engraved, embossed, and decorated flasks in
museums, some of the early seventeenth-century specimens being made of
boxwood, others of ivory, frequently ornamented with hunting scenes. In
Fig. 92 is shown a curious flint-lock powder tester, then also regarded
as one of the essential accessories of the sportsman's outfit. The
copper powder flask illustrated in Fig. 93 is now in the Hull Museum. It
is specially interesting in that the plain copper work is engraved in
the centre with its original owner's monogram--"W R" in script. This
flask, made about the year 1750, was evidently a keepsake, for engraved
round the circular disc is the legend "Keep this for Joseph's sake."

In the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington there are some
more elaborate specimens, two of which are illustrated in Fig. 94. They
are magnificent examples of metal repoussé work--a favourite decoration
in the eighteenth century, copied in more inexpensive forms in the
nineteenth century by makers of sporting accessories, who stamped them
from dies and reproduced some of the old hunting scenes.

A review of the outdoor sports and relics of former days would scarcely
be complete without some mention of swords and rapiers, which were once
commonly worn, along with pistols, alas! too frequently in use when a
hasty word called forth a challenge to a duel. Many of these old swords
are rusty, but they frequently show marks of former use. They are needed
no longer by civilians in this country, and take their places in
trophies of arms, forming important features in the decorative curios of
the household.

[Illustration: FIG. 92.--A POWDER TESTER.

FIG. 93.--A PRIMING FLASK.

(_In the Municipal Museum, Hull._)]



XVII

MISCELLANEOUS



CHAPTER XVII

MISCELLANEOUS

     Dower chests--Medicine chests--Old lacquer--The tool
     chest--Egyptian curios--Ancient spectacles--Curious
     chinaware--Garden curios--The mounting of curios--Obsolete
     household names.


There are many household curios which cannot be classified under the
headings of the foregoing chapters. They represent well-known features
in every home, and yet each little group has an individuality of its
own. Some may say that the main features of house-furnishing have been
left out of consideration, and that they are the most interesting
household curios when age and disuse have come upon them. Household
furniture, however, has been fully dealt with in the "Chats" series in
the two volumes entitled "Chats on Old English Furniture," and "Chats on
Cottage and Farmhouse Furniture," to which books those interested in the
curiosities of cabinet-making and village carpentry are referred. Yet
notwithstanding the completeness of those works there are a few objects
which have so entirely passed into the range of household curios, and
their uses were so entirely apart from present-day furniture, that some
of them are specially noted in the following paragraphs, together with a
few other isolated antiques.


Dower Chests.

If there is one piece of furniture above another that is surrounded with
a halo of romance, surely it is the dower chest! We can picture the
incoming of the coffer in all the newness of hand polish, fresh from the
hands of the village carpenter or the retainer who had wrought the
gnarled old oak grown on the estate for a favourite daughter of his
lord--that chest which was to be packed full of fragrant linen, between
which was laid sweet lavender, and richly embroidered garments for the
bride, who, with her personal belongings stowed away therein, was to
pass from the parental home to her newly wedded and unknown life. There
are ancient chests full of historic memories, such as those in which the
wealth of monarchs has been stored, like that in Knaresborough Castle,
which, according to legend and some reference in old deeds, came over
with William the Conqueror. In the Castle Museum there is another chest
made for Queen Philippa in 1333--a veritable dower chest.

Some of the older chests have had loops for poles by which they could be
carried about; but such were more correctly treasure chests. The dower
chests usually remained in the home of the bride, and in time became her
receptacle for bedding and other household stores, the little tray or
corner box for jewels and trinkets being disused and eventually done
away with altogether. The evolution of the chest until it became a
cabinet or a chest of drawers is a story for the lover of old furniture
to tell, but the dower chest in its earlier forms is a curio rich in
legend and folklore. It may interest American readers to record that
many of the oldest specimens in the States were first used as packing
cases of unusual strength, gifts from the old folks at home, when
colonists in Jacobean days crossed the Atlantic. Curiously enough,
American craftsmen copied them and maintained the purity of the old
English style long after the makers of English dower chests had been
influenced by Dutch and French design and inlay.


Medicine Chests.

Some of the early English medicine chests, the foundation of which is of
wood, are covered with tapestry, others with green satin, sometimes
ornamented with floral devices made of puffed satin, overlaid and
outlined with gold thread. Medicine chests varied in size, but few
households were "furnished" without a fitting receptacle for home-made
recipes for simple ailments, such as were much resorted to in the past.
The chests were usually well fitted with bottles and phials, and with
glass stoppers or silver or pewter tops. Many of the medicines had been
prescribed by local practitioners, and were regarded as sovereign
remedies to be used on all occasions; others were family recipes held in
high repute. In such chests there was often a drawer or compartment
containing bleeding cups and lancet--a remedy often resorted to when an
illness could not be diagnosed.


Old Lacquer.

The beautiful red lacquer work is getting scarce, although it has had a
long run, for it is more than twelve hundred years since the Japanese
learned the secret of making it from the Coreans, who in their turn had
it from the Chinese. The secret of producing in China and Japan lacquer
which cannot be imitated in other countries lies in the _rhus
vernificifera_ which flourishes in those localities. It is the gum of
that tree commonly called the lacquer-tree, which when taken fresh and
applied to the object it is intended to lacquer turns jet-black on
exposure to the sun, drying with great hardness. It will thus be seen
that although French and English lacquers have been very popular, the
imitation lacquer applied can have neither the effect nor the durability
of the natural gum which sets so hard, and in the larger and more
important objects can be applied again and again until quite a depth of
lacquer is obtained, sometimes encrusted over with jewels and other
materials embedded in it.

The best English lacquer was made in this country between the years 1670
and 1710, and was a very successful imitation of the Oriental. At that
time and during the following century very many tea caddies, trays,
screens, trinket boxes, and even furniture, were imported; and it was
those which English workmen copied, gradually increasing the variety of
household goods for which that material was so suitable.

[Illustration: FIG. 94.--OLD POWDER FLASKS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Old English lacquer differed from the more modern papier-maché in that
instead of the pulp being composed entirely of paper, glued together and
pressed, it was composed of a basis of wood, covered over with a black
lacquer, on which the design was painted in colours. It was made under
considerable difficulties, in that it had to compete with the imported
Oriental wares which were made in China and Japan under more favourable
natural conditions.

The art of japanning was revived in England late in the eighteenth
century, and some remarkable pieces appear to have been the work of
amateurs who painted and gilded so-called lacquer work, tea caddies, and
jewelled caskets. It must be remembered that the art of japanning was
looked upon at one time as an accomplishment, for about the year 1700
many gentlewomen were taught the art.

French artists took up the Oriental style, and produced some very
successful lacquer work, striking out in an entirely distinct style,
which, as Vernis Martin decoration, became famous. The varnish or
lacquer forming the foundation for those delightful little pictures was
not unlike in effect the Oriental lacquer which to some extent it was
intended to imitate.

In the early nineteenth century lacquering as an art fell into
disrepute, and such decorations were largely associated with the
commoner metal wares, stoved and lacquered by the so-called japanning
process carried out in Birmingham and other places, although there is
now some admiration shown by collectors for small trays, bread baskets,
candle boxes, and snuffer trays of metal, japanned and decorated by hand
in colours and much fine gold pencilling.


The Tool Chest.

There have been amateur mechanics in all ages, and among the household
curios are many old tools suggestive of having been made when the
carpenter had plenty of time on his hands to decorate his tools with
carvings, and frequently to make up his own kit. Thus old planes and
braces were evidently the work of men who possessed some humour and
skill, too, for some of the carved decoration is quite grotesque. There
is a fine collection of old tools made and used in the seventeenth and
early eighteenth centuries on view in one of our museums. There is a
carpenter's plough, dated 1750, moulding planes and skew-mouthed
fillisters of beechwood, and a router plane of carved hornbeam. The
modern hand brace becomes more realistic, and its origin understood at a
glance when we examine the old hand brace of turned and carved boxwood,
dated 1642, in that collection. The part where the bit is fitted is
literally a hand, carved out of solid wood, and the curious crank
indicates an imaginary twist in the arm, perhaps suggested by some
carpenter who was able to manipulate his tools in a way not commonly
understood, thus giving to future carpenters a most useful tool.


Egyptian Curios.

Among the collectable curios of old households are many antiquities from
foreign lands. Perhaps the most interesting, in that they afford us
examples of the prototypes of household antiques as they were known to a
nation possessing an early civilization, polish, and refinement, are
those which have been discovered recently in Egyptian tombs. Some
representative examples may be seen in the British Museum. There are
toilet requisites including mirrors, combs, and even wigs and wig boxes,
as well as a glass tube for stibium or eye paint. There are ivory
pillows or head rests, models of the ghostly boats of the underworld,
and a vast variety of children's toys, including wooden dolls with
strings of mud beads to represent hair, porcelain elephants, and wooden
cats; and there are children's balls made of blue glazed porcelain, and
of leather stuffed with chopped straw. There are many games and
amusements, such as stone draught boards, and draughtsmen in porcelain
and wood. There are bells of bronze and some remarkable musical
instruments like a harp, the body of which is in the form of a woman;
and there are reed flutes and whistles and cymbals such as were carried
by priestesses. There are curious ivory amulets, quaintly carved spoons,
ivory boxes, and even theatre tickets. Necklaces and pendants and other
articles of adornment are plentiful, for the Egyptian maidens possessed
much jewellery--bracelets, rings, and necklaces. One very exceptionally
fine relic of this far-off age is a toilet box complete with vases of
unguents, eye paint, comb, and bronze shell on which to mix unguents,
and other trinkets. Many such antiquities find their way into museums
and private collections of household curios, and are useful and
interesting for purposes of comparison, telling of customs which change
not, and of the many connecting links which exist between the past and
the present.


Ancient Spectacles.

It is truly astonishing how many ancient spectacles, which to collectors
of such things would be veritable treasures, lie neglected and allowed
to "knock about" until broken or otherwise damaged. Those mostly
discovered are the heavy brass and silver-rimmed spectacles of about one
hundred years ago, some very interesting specimens of which are to be
seen in several of the larger local museums.

Spectacles are of very respectable age, although they cannot be traced
back to the ancient peoples, for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans,
notwithstanding that they polished glass and rock crystal and possessed
much scientific lore, were ignorant of their use as aids to sight.

It is said that the credit of the discovery of how to make use of
artificial aids to defective sight must be accorded to Roger Bacon, who
in his book _Opus Majus_, published in the thirteenth century, mentioned
magnifying glasses as being useful to old people to make them see
better. True spectacles are said to have been fashioned in 1317 by
Salvino degli Armati, a Florentine nobleman. At first they were convex;
indeed, no mention of concave glasses for shortsighted persons was made
until towards the middle of the sixteenth century. From that time onward
there were developments, and among the household curios are to be found
silver, brass, and tortoiseshell rims, and glasses of more or less
utility.


Curious China Ware.

Old china and pottery have been fully dealt with by many specialist
writers, but there are some household curios made of porcelain, china,
and earthenware which cannot be omitted from this survey of household
curios. Foremost among these are the now scarce Toby jugs, made at so
many of the famous potteries. In a large collection the variations are
at once recognized; yet the same idea seems to have run through the
minds of the artists in fashioning these jugs, so essentially typical of
the age in which they were made and used. Among the Sunderland jugs are
many variations both in size and colouring; they were rich in colours,
too, and look exceedingly well on an old cabinet.

The posset cups of silver were supplemented by tygs and posset cups and
many-handled drinking cups of early Staffordshire make. The brown and
yellow slip decoration of this ware is a striking characteristic. All
the early seventeenth-century ale drinking cups like the tygs had
handles, and in those days of conviviality the double or multiplied
handle served a useful purpose, for the vessels were in use when it was
the custom of the ale-house for several friends to drink out of one
vessel, just as in more polite society and on public occasions the
loving cup was passed round.

Some of the so-called portrait busts and statuettes of the eighteenth
century are especially interesting to collectors. There are figures to
suit all; musicians may delight in that of Handel; others in the busts
of Wesley and Whitfield; explorers in the statue of Benjamin Franklin
made about 1770, and some in that of John Wilks seated near an old
column of a still earlier date. There is also a cleverly modelled figure
of Geoffrey Chaucer. One of the best known groups is that of the "Vicar
and Moses," made by Wood, of Burslem.


Garden Curios.

It is said that garden craft, like most other forms of art, came from
the East; that the cultivation of gardens commenced in Egypt, Persia,
and Assyria, travelling westward through Greece and Rome; and in some of
the early English gardens which horticulturists are so fond of copying
to-day there are traces of Eastern influence still remaining.

Although the garden is the place where we expect to find flowers,
foliage, and perhaps fruit and vegetables, it has always been associated
with home life, and some of the charms of domestic comradeship owe their
greatness to the garden and pleasance.

It has always been the aim of the professional and the amateur gardener
to furnish the lawn and flower-beds with appropriate settings, some of
which have become very quaint in the eyes of twentieth-century
horticulturists.

The Egyptians had their trellised bowers, and their tiny pools of clear
water. The Greeks, however, were fortunate in having undulated and even
hilly ground to cultivate, and their gardens were much more picturesque
than the level ground of Egypt, although the Orientals built terraces,
and by artificial means enhanced the beauty of their gardens. The
adornment of gardens with statuary comes to us from Greece, and many
modern reproductions of ancient Greek statues are regarded as the curios
of the modern garden. Delightful, indeed, are some of the statuettes in
stone and lead representing Aphrodite and the Graces. The Roman gardens
were magnificent in their miniature temples, replicas of which are found
in the old Georgian summer-houses, such as may be seen at Kew, and in
many private grounds, dating from that period. The Romans were lovers of
roses, and had many charming rose bowers, curiously and cunningly
formed.

The dawn of gardening on some approved plan, and then ornamenting the
portions not covered with greenery, began in monastic days. The oldest
of the occupations of civilized man, it was long held in high repute,
and many worthy men have posed as amateurs. Indeed, there have been
Royal gardeners, among the most familiar being Edward I and Queen
Elizabeth. From Tudor times onward the once waste land in the immediate
vicinity of castles and palaces was cultivated, and the gardens of the
nobility along the Strand in London were full of beautiful stonework and
statuettes. A writer in the sixteenth century, describing an English
garden of his day, wrote: "Every garden of account hath its fish pond,
its maze, and its sundials."

Many fine old fountains or miniature fishponds remain, and sundials are
among the curios associated with the outdoor life of the home. The
garden houses of the eighteenth century included a bowling green or
court, viewed from the terrace; and towards the end of that period many
leaden figures were cast, the favourite being replicas of Roman statuary
dedicated to such deities as Bacchus, Venus, Neptune, and Minerva. These
lead statues have been collected by dealers during the last few years.
Some of them are really very beautifully formed, although in many
instances the wear and tear of a couple of centuries has covered them
over with scratches and indentations. A few years ago lead statues
received little consideration from their owners, and the children made
them targets for stone-throwing. They are thought more of now, and at
several recent sales lead statuettes and vases have sold for
considerable sums.

Sometimes ancient lead cisterns are seen outside old houses; many of
these and even rain-water spout heads, beautifully moulded and cast, are
among the household curios for which there is some call among
collectors.


The Mounting of Curios.

A miscellaneous assortment of curios displayed without any regard to
their proper setting has just the same effect as a badly framed
picture, or a painting with an inappropriate frame. Sundry curios may be
made to look charming when properly shown in a glass-topped table or a
suitable case, their value as home ornaments being materially increased.
Indeed, there are many beautiful objects which look nothing unless
properly framed. The Wedgwood cameo gems so varied and so very minutely
tooled require proper display; according to their colours so should they
be arranged on a velvet or cloth background with an ample margin to
separate them. A group of miniatures looks nothing unless in suitable
setting or mount. Much of the beauty of old china is lost because it is
simply laid out without a colour scheme. A cup and saucer look very much
better when shown on a stand, so that the saucer can be seen and every
detail of the cup examined, the richness of the colouring inside or out,
as the case may be, being thrown up by the ebonized stand on which it is
placed. Carved ivories should certainly be shown with a dark setting. In
a similar way Oriental plaques and even smaller plates with light
backgrounds are set off to the best advantage when shown in dark ebony
frames. The Orientals know the value of framework perhaps more than any
other people, and among the curios they have sent over to this country
are appropriately carved frames and stands. The almost priceless ginger
jars when placed upon carved-wood stands, for which the Chinese are so
famous, are beautiful indeed, the contrast of the black and blue against
the black base being very striking. Indeed, much of the carved furniture
of the Orientals has been specially designed as a framework for
mother-o'-pearl and gem ornaments. The rare jade carvings in black ebony
screens, and the marvellous carving of the larger screens are but
appropriate settings to the painted and needlework pictures so rich in
colours and gold. In Fig. 57 we illustrate a very remarkable piece in
which the artist has expended his wonderful skill in providing a
suitable stand or frame for a very beautiful early porcelain plate.
Every detail of the carving is worthy of close inspection. This
beautiful piece was included in a collection of jade, cloisonné enamels,
and carved furniture gathered together in Java some years ago by a
well-known collector of Chinese and Oriental curios. Now and then such
pieces are to be seen in the shops of West End dealers. But it would be
difficult indeed to find one so characteristic of the Chinese carver's
art as the one shown.


Obsolete Household Names.

Most household goods and both useful and ornamental home appointments
used at the present time are the outcome of progress and development,
and their names have changed but little. The change has been in style,
material, and manufacture rather than in newness of purpose. It is true
that in modern household economy some of the present-day household
utensils are the outcome of modern invention, having no similarity in
form to the simpler primitive contrivances which they have superseded.
Thus, for instance, the vacuum cleaner has little in its appearance to
associate it with the old-fashioned carpet brush, neither has the
modern knife cleaner much in common with the old knife board. There are
some articles, however, which have become quite obsolete, and their
names are fast disappearing from inventories of household goods, and,
like the older antiquarian relics, are likely soon to be forgotten. In
the foregoing chapters mention has been made of the collectable objects
of household use, dating from the period of bronze to modern times, and
no doubt there are many other articles which have entirely disappeared
on account of their perishable nature, or from their very character,
there being nothing to suggest their retention. It may be useful for
purposes of reference to note the following articles of furniture,
kitchen utensils, and mechanical contrivances, which were mentioned in a
book published about one hundred years ago--house furnishings, about the
ancient uses of which we hear nothing at the present time.

     AMPLE--An ointment box, formerly carried by a medical man.

     APPLE-GRATE--A sixteenth-century cradle of iron in which to
     roast apples.

     BOMBARD--A large leathern bottle for carrying beer; a term also
     applied to ancient ale-barrels.

     CANISTER--The ancient canister was a pannier or basket, the
     name being appropriated to its modern use when tea came into
     the market.

     CHAFING-DISH--The name appropriated to modern cooking vessels
     was originally applied to a dish upon which perfumes were
     burnt, and in Roman times was an ensign of honour.

     COMFIT BOXES--Boxes divided into compartments in which were
     rare spices, handed round with dessert.

     FINGER-GUARD--Horn finger-guards were formerly used by writing
     masters to protect their nails when nibbing pens.

     FIRE-SCREEN--Fire-screens are noted as early as the fourteenth
     century, long before they were filled with needlework; they
     were made of wicker, described by a sixteenth-century writer as
     "a little wicker skrene sett in a frame of walnut tree."

     SCRIP--Scrips were hung from girdles, and differed, among the
     chief varieties being the shepherd's scrip, the pilgrim's
     scrip, and the traveller's scrip, a kind of purse or wallet.

     STANDISH--The old name for an ink horn or vessel, afterwards
     applied to the stand or dish, or, as we call it now, inkstand,
     which contained the box or vessel for ink, and another for
     blotting powder.

     TRENCHER--A wooden platter, a term more particularly applied to
     the beautiful hand-painted circular boards for sweetmeats or
     cakes.

In conclusion, in the foregoing pages most of the best-known household
curios--regarded as such by the collector--have been passed in review.
The list is, however, by no means exhausted, for as search is made among
the relics of former days many little-known objects come to light, and
as isolated examples find their way into public and private
collections.



INDEX


Ale tubes, 178

Almanacs, 259-262

American museums, 49

Ample, 355

Andirons, 42, 44, 47

Apple-grate, 355

Apple-scoops, 138, 141

Arms of Cutlers' Company, 80


Banner screens, 165

Basting spoons, 133

Battersea enamels, 91, 183, 212

Beakers, 104

Bellows, 57

Bellows blower, 129

Bells, 311

Bilston enamel, 183

Bodkins, 239

Bohemian glass, 154

Boilers, 133

Bombards, 355

Boule, Charles, 29

Bow cupids, 112, 113

Bristol glass, 176

British glass, 96

British Museum exhibits, 92, 138, 141, 165, 208, 246, 278, 331, 347

Bronze pots, 133

Buhl work, 29


Caddies, 112

Candle boxes, 65, 66

Candle moulds, 65

Candles, 65-67

Candlesticks, 67

Canisters, 355

Carving-knives, 85

Caskets, 192

Caudle cups, 99

Chafing dishes, 355

Chantilly porcelain, 91

Chatelaines, 216

Chelsea cupids, 112, 113

Chessmen, 328

Chestnut roasters, 142

Chests, 191

Chimney ornaments, 150

China, 349

Chinese influence, 100

Chinese lacquer, 29

Chippendale influence, 101, 162

Clocks, 298, 299

Clog almanacs, 259

Cloisonné enamel, 183

Coaching horns, 197

Cocoanut cups, 103

Cocoanut flagons, 103

Coffers, 191

Combs, 206-208

Comfit boxes, 355

Continental gridirons, 137

Cooking vessels, 138, 141

Copper urns, 117

Cordova leather, 187, 188

Couvre de feu, 39

Cream jugs, 108, 111

Cribbage boards, 330

Cruet stands, 96, 97

Cuir boulli work, 84, 90, 188, 190, 192

Cupids, Chelsea and Bow, 112, 113

Cups, 99, 100

Curio hunting, 24

Cutlers' Company, 80

Cutlery, 80-95, 239, 240


Damascened steel, 90

Derbyshire spar, 154, 157, 158

Dolls, 325, 326

Domesday Book, 23

Dower chests, 340, 341

Draughts, 329, 357

Dressing cases, 215

Dutch influence on art, 30

Dutch ovens, 130


Egyptian curios, 347

Egyptian influence, 153

Enamelled wares, 212

Enamels, 182-184


Fenders, 53, 54

Finger guards, 355

Fire-dogs, 47

Fire drills, 39

Fireirons, 53

Fire-making appliances, 36-39

Fireplace, the, 41-44

Fireploughs, 39

Fire screens, 356

Flesh hooks, 138

Floor candlesticks, 67

Fluor spar, 157

Flutes, 314

Food-boxes, 141

Forks, 85

French art, 26

French influence, 153


Gallybawk, 134

Games, 327-330

Garden curios, 350, 351

German wall warming stove, 50

Glass and enamels, 175-184

Glass beads, 235

Glass curios, 290-293

Glass ornaments, 178, 181

Glass pictures, 181

Glass rolling pins, 235

Gourd cups, 104

Grandfather clocks, 301

Gridirons, 137, 138

Grills, 137, 138

Guildhall Museum exhibits, 85, 99, 193

Guns, 333


Hair ornaments, 196

Hampton Court fireplaces, 48

Hawk hoods, 332

Home ornaments, 149-170

Horn books, 197

Horners, Worshipful Company, 197

Horns, 313, 314

Horn work, 196, 197

Hull Museum exhibits, 193, 229, 332, 334


Inkstands, 263

Irish curios, 67

Ivories, 166, 169


Jack knives, 83

Jade, 158, 161

Japanned trays, 101

Jewel caskets, 220, 221


Kentish ironmasters, 50

Kettles and stands, 108, 133

Kettles, miniature, 169

Kitchen grates, 129-133

Kitchen, the, 125-145

Knife-boxes, 117


Lace bobbins, 232, 236

Lantern clocks, 298

Lanterns, 72-75

Leather and horn, 187-197

Leather bottles, 192-194

Leather flasks, 194

Leather pictures, 194

Leather ships, 194

Lights of former days, 61-75

Lille enamels, 212

Limoges enamels, 182-183

Links extinguishers, 68

Locks of hair, 219

London Cutlers' Company, 84

Love spoons, 235, 240, 289

Love tokens, 283-293

Lucky cups, 190

Lucky emblems, 283-293


Mantelpieces, 41, 42

Marking of time, 297-307

Marqueterie designs, 30

Matches, early types, 41

Medicine chests, 341

Meissen porcelain, 91

Met-soex or eating knives, 83

Miniature curios, 169

Monochord, 312

Mosaics, 157

Mother-o'-pearl, 107

Mounting curios, 353

Musical instruments, 311-317


Nailsea glass, 177

National Museum of Wales, 129, 141, 280

National Museum of Naples, 45

Needles of wood, 240

Needlework, 246

Nutcrackers, 113-117


Oak settles, 162

Obsolete names, 355, 356

Oil lamps, 71, 72

Old gilt, 165, 166

Old lacquer, 342

Ormolu, 150


Pastrycooks' knives, 138

Pastry wheels, 138

Patch boxes, 204, 211, 213

Peg tankards, 100, 103

Pens, 264, 267

Perfume boxes, 213

Pianofortes, 312

Piggins, 141

Pipe racks, 273

Pipes, 271, 272

Pistol tinder boxes, 40

Pistols, 333

Play and sport, 321-334

Playing cards, 330

Pomander boxes, 214

Pontypool wares, 106

Porridge bowls, 141

Porringers, 99, 100

Pounce boxes, 263

Priming flasks, 334

Punch bowls, 98

Punch ladles, 97

Puzzle cups, 100


Queen Anne style, 100


Roasting cages, 130

Roasting jacks, 125

Rolling pins, 177

Roman influence, 153

Rushlights, 62-65

Russian customs, 92


Salt cellars, 95, 96

Sand boxes, 263

Saucepans, 125, 126

Scrap books, 255, 256

Scratchbacks, 215

Sheraton influence, 112, 162

Ships of glass, 182

Shoes, 195

Shovels, 53

Skates, 332

Skimmers, 133

Smokers' cabinet, 271-280

Smokers' tongs, 277

Snuff boxes, 196, 279, 280

Snuffer extinguishers, 68

Snuffers, 67-71

Snuff rasps, 279

Spectacles, 348

Spice boxes, 213

Spinning wheels, 226-231

Spits, 125, 129

Spleen stone, 158

Spoons, 86, 89, 117

Staffordshire figures, 150

Staffordshire wares, 97

Stained glass, 181

Standishes, 356

Straw-work, 232

Style, influence of, 26

Sugar nippers, 111

Sugar tongs, 111, 112

Sussex backs, 42, 47, 50

Sussex foundries, 50


Table appointments, 79-118

Tapestry, 190, 191

Tapestry factories, 26

Taunton Castle Museum exhibits, 177, 193, 246, 278, 293

Teapots, 107

Teatable, the, 107, 108

Thimbles, 239

Tickets, benefit, ball, etc., 256

Tinder boxes, 39-41

Tobacco boxes, 274, 277

Tobacco pipes, 271, 272

Tobacco pipes (glass), 177

Tobacco stoppers, 277, 278

Toddy ladles, 97

Toilet table, the, 203-221

Tools, ancient, 346

Tower of London exhibits, 95

Trays, 105-107

Trenchers, 141, 356

Trencher salts, 96

Trivets, 54-57

Turnspits, 130


Vases, 153, 154

Venetian glass, 91, 178

Vernis Martin varnishes, 29

Victoria and Albert Museum exhibits, 48, 57, 86, 89, 90, 142, 188, 191,
    192, 215, 231, 241, 279, 312, 317, 330, 334

Vinaigrettes, 214

Violins, 314

Virginals, 312


Walking sticks (glass), 177

Wallace collection, 29

Wallets, 195

Warming pans, 142, 145

Watches, 302, 305

Watch keys, 305, 306

Watch papers, 259

Watch stands, 307

Waterford glass, 176

Wedgwood cameos, 170, 280

Whistles, 312, 313

Wood carvings, 161-165

Wooden cups, 104

Woodware, 117

Work boxes, 225-250

Writing cases, 262

Writing tables, 262

       *       *       *       *       *

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON





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