Did Napoleon get up your nose? No surprise!

Pardon the pun, but I couldn’t resist when coming across this snuff box on the Antiques Roadshow.

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A snuff box in the shape of Napoleon’s hat – now I’ve seen it all! Though not quite up there with Napoleon’s head in a jerry, it’s still a very quirky item. Made of horn in ca. 1812, this commemorative snuff box was made with Napoleon’s doomed Russisa campaign in mind. Prophetic that he looks so sulky, despite his grande armée in the background). The inscription says “Napoléon à Moscou” (Napoleon in Moscow – oh, the dangers of overhasty marketing!)  And at a value of £ 300 – £ 400 pounds, it’s not to be sneezed at.

29 May, 2014 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

The Georgian Children Thrones

Antiques Roadshow goes Games of Thrones…

This is where the well-heeled Georgian family would have placed their little prince or princess for supper – it’s a miniature late Regency/Georgian dining chair! Made of Mahogany in ca. 1830, this children chair allowed for catapulting porridge and cooked liver all over the dining room from a prominent position. It will therefore not come as a big surprise for you if you learn that it is still used within the family.

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Special detail: the seat (still the original upholstery) is made of woven horsehair!

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With a value of £800 – £1’000, this migh be just the perfect gift for the next baby shower…

Now, some parents are known for putting their children on pedestals. Some Georgian parents, however, put them on thrones!

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This useful piece was made of oak and elm and dates back to the late 18th/early 19th century. If you’d want to go potty with it, you’d have to fork out between £800 and £1200.

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Indeed, worthy of a prince! (No, not for you, George. You already got a bilby.)

2 May, 2014 at 7:08 pm 1 comment

Ladies and Gentlemen – Nelson’s Teapot!

Seeing how Easter is just around the corner, a Fabergé egg might have been more suitable to turn up on the Antiques Roadshow, but I thought that you’ll be just as happy with Nelson’s teapot. And it’s the real thing!

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How did Nelson’s teapot find its way into the Antiques Roadshow? Well, this lady brought it along.

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Her grandmother’s maiden name was Barlow, and she was a descentant of Admiral Sir Robert Barlow, who “commanded one of Nelson’s ships”. Looking at the order of the battle which survived through the centuries, you can see that it was HMS Triumph.

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Barlow’s third daughter married Horatio Nelson’s elder brother William, and he inherited title and teapot after Nelson’s death.

The teapot was part of  the so-called “Baltic Service”, which was presented to Nelson by the people of London on occasion of a banquet.  And it was made in – France. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this a recycled piece of French china. Oh those thrifty Londoners!

Isn’t it amazing that this teapot survived through the centuries? Final proof neither Nelson nor Emma had cats.

Having a cuppa from this teapot will set you back at least £ 20’000, for that’s what it would probably bring at an auction. And as with all things Nelson, sky would be the limit.

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It wouldn’t be complete without the knitted commemorative Collingwood tea cosy, though (which is slightly more affordable).

18 April, 2014 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

The Great Fire of London – now with additional Andrew Buchan!

Rejoyce, fellow history lovers and afiçionados of the ever lovely Andrew Buchan – I come bearing good news for you!

ANDREW BUCHAN TO STAR IN ITV’S FOUR PART MINI SERIES “THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON”

Inspired by the real events of 1666 when nearly half of London was destroyed in less than a week, the drama is written by Tom Bradby, political editor of ITN and author of Shadow Dancer. The story unfolds over four consecutive days as the fire takes hold of the city and the people desperately attempt to overcome the flames amid a threat to the monarchy. Buchan will play humble baker Thomas Farriner in whose shop the fire began on September 2, 1666.

Don’t mess with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and Thomas Farriner’s artisan bread!

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Any excuse for a picture of Andrew Buchan at his prettiest!

And it’s delicious news for us Royal Navy buffs: Daniel Mays will play Samuel Pepys – yes, that Samuel Pepys, Mr. Il faut que je leave it least it bring me to alcun major inconvenience, that one! I love the casting for that role!

8 March, 2014 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

Trafalgar: Nelson, Navy, Nation. New Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum

Of course a new exhibition with that title had to open on Trafalgar Day.

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Hours: Open daily, 10.00-17.00 (last entry 16.30)

Location: National Maritime Museum, floor two

Admission: FREE

I’m curious to see if/what new aspects of “Nelson’s Navy” will be presented. And I’m looking forward to the “weird and wonderful” Nelson memorabilia; it will be difficult to top some of my past finds…

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There are various activities and events hosted in connection with this exhibition, so have a look around the NMM.

And later on I’ll do the usually Collingcount (it’s a drinking game – have one every time Collingwood should be mentioned and isn’t.)

21 October, 2013 at 7:51 pm 1 comment

Happy birthday to that noble fellow Collingwood!

I admit, the Great British Bake-Off it ain’t, but I can assure you that the cake tastes much better than the icing looks.

Here’s to the noble fellow Collingwood, our dear Old Cuddy. May there be many more cakes we can eat and glasses we can empty in his honour.

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Pilfered from Old Cuddy. Because Admiral Collingwood deserves two blog entries in his honour!

26 September, 2013 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

You have the Breeches, you have the Cravat – but do you have the Condom?

Probably not, but you could have bought this outstanding – stop chuckling! – piece twelve years ago from Christie’s.

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Thanks to The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice for finding this one.

You couldn’t get more authentic than this, come next Austen Ball! The little English riding coat is made from sheep guts, sold for £764 and measures 21 cm – oh, and you can tie it with a ribbon!

(And just in case none of you are in the mood, you could look at the picture for inspiration!)

I’m not fully convinced this is 18th century, though… judging from the fashion sported by the coupling couple, I’d dated this to the 19th century. But then again, you can never be 100% sure with condoms.

This here is a 17th century condom, made from red silk and also fitted with a ribbon:

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Condoms were first used in brothels, and often soaked in contraceptive herbal decoctions, washed after use and then reused. Aren’t we all happy we made some progress there!

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1 August, 2013 at 6:20 pm 1 comment

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