A few years ago we had a fabulous holiday in New York and one of the highlights was spending not enough time at the Metropolitan. Out of everything there - and trust me you would never see everything even in a a month (I suppose if you were on blades you could whizz by but that doesn't count) - my favourite section was dedicated to Tiffany. These super works surrounded a garden area where you could relax and be quiet and just get lost in all these beautiful panels of glass. My favourite was Oyster Bay and that is the glass tile that I then bought at the gift shop and which is now on the top shelf of our smaller display cabinet.
I've always liked collecting bits and pieces and for a while went through a phase of collecting hand-painted Victorian glass. I would go to oh so many antique fairs trying to find colours I didn't have and unusual styles and here is a memo to anyone about to break up with someone. Take the things you have bought with care and love out of the room before your other half decides to take them first (and my Dinky car collection- with boxes!) . Anyway, as you can see from this next picture there is still a fair bit left and what prompted me to write this post was Fhina's recent post about disposing of one's assets. The Limoges punchbowl and ladle (top left) and the Limoges coffee cups (bottom left) were given to me by a friend of my mother's who wanted to give her things away before she died and not have people squabble about them. This friend had an antique shop in the Lanes in Brighton and she only ever bought superb pieces. Both the Limoges items she gave me are very collectable but I would never sell them.The two pairs of vases on the top shelf in the next photo were my father's pride and joy (it's him I get this urge for buying beautiful things from; my mum's purchases of pleasure were clothes and shoes - oops, guilty again). I was never allowed to touch these special vases when I was young and the cabinet they were in (which I now have as our drinks cabinet - see photo after this one) was always locked but the key was visible but out of reach to little me. My mum used to grumble at my dad about locking things away and once, when he was out, she unlocked the cabinet and took out one of the larger vases to show me the beautiful figure on it. I don't know how it happened but it fell and the vase smashed in two and I can still remember the moment as if it had happened this morning. My dad never shouted- it wasn't his way - he would do silent anger and sulks, my mum was the shouter (as I am) , but I can remember my dad shouting and I ran away and left home (for ten minutes). He got an expert restorer to repair the vase but I learnt an important lesson that day - either keep very valuable things in the bank or lock them in a cabinet in a room and keep the key on you at all times - don't just leave it in the lock.
This next cabinet is the one the vases used to be in. My dad used to also like art deco furniture and this piece came with a matching tallboy which, unfortunately, he had to sell when he moved out of his large London flat. The cabinet is in the dining room because being brown and traditional it suits the look of the room. The previous cabinets are modern white ash ones and suit the living room.
In about 30 years time I will invite the younger family members (most of whom I hardly know) and Mr FF's family to come and choose the items they would like to have. I hate to think of people squabbling over these things that my parents and I in turn loved. Far better to give them away whilst I am still alive, to hopefully see that these lovely things will be in good hands. Of course the downside means that we will have bare shelves but in my retirement home overlooking the coastline of Brittany, will it really matter?