Monday, May 25, 2009

Living with a Dutch Marquetry Games Table, ca. 1840

It is a pleasure living with antiques that are aesthetically pleasing and add warmth to the house. I especially like occasional tables, such as end tables, tea tables, and games tables. Being practical of nature, I appreciate the different aspects small tables can add to a room. A tilt-top tea table, for example, decorates a corner, but can instantly come into use as a side table when guests arrive.

Being an avid card player, my very favourite table is a games table. Because our ancestors liked entertaining their guests with games after dinner, there are games tables of different eras that can still be found.

I own a Dutch marquetry games table that I have not listed as yet because I find it very hard letting go. It is from 1840 and has obviously been treated lovingly all these years. The person who sold it made me promise to sell it only to a home that would use it, because it was used all these years and never stored away. The table is straight, opens up to a round table at which four can play comfortably, and is solid. It is also breathtakingly beautiful and elegant.

I usually have it folded up as a demi-lune table against the wall with an understated lamp placed on it in the middle. My napkin ring collection is also displayed on it although with some reluctance on my part not wanting to hide the marquetry decoration. Nevertheless, I can whisk these off quickly when we are entertaining eager card or chess players.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Living with a Sterling Silver Collection

As you may imagine, I have a few collections. Being fairly practical, I don't like collecting just for the pleasure of owning and amassing a treasure-trove of objets d'art.

I enjoy using what I own and sharing the pleasure with family and friends. I use my dinnerware china, crystal, and silver at mealtimes and when not in use, store them in kitchen and dining room display cabinets. I also display decorative china on side tables and cabinets as accessories whose colours co-ordinate with the colours of the room. Decorative china can make even a bedroom look warm and inviting. Because china pieces are fairly large, collecting must be done carefully. Too much can literally force you to move to a larger house. Strange as it may seem, I know of people who have done just that, in order not to be restricted from further collecting.

Among other things I collect, I especially enjoy silver. Using silver often is important to keeping it looking its best, and having it develop or keep the rich patina of old silver. Taking all of that to heart, I like napkin rings so much, they have become a must every time I set the table. At a dinner party, it is especially chic to use mismatched sterling silver napkin rings to add interest, and whimsy. It is also often a good beginning to dinnertime small talk. I rotate my mismatched sterling silver napkin ring collection by displaying a few on a sterling silver tray on a table to sparkle up a corner of the living room.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Most people are collectors. Some concentrate on one area of interest, but many have several collections. Their collections can range from Peek Frean commemorative tins, or buttons, to collecting a fleet of ships. Collectors often begin at an early age by collecting dolls, toy trucks, rocks, or video games. Collecting is like gathering and seems to be instinctual. It is passionate, sentimental and nostalgic. People love collecting because they are passionate about the objects for their personal, aesthetic, historical or the monetary value. Sometimes the collections have all four of these attributes.

Collections tell much about someone’s style, personality, and interests. Displaying collections makes a room unique and brings it to life. It is aesthetically pleasing to display collections all grouped in one cabinet or together on a table. An example is to have a collection of sterling silver napkin rings displayed together on a tray to sparkle up a room.

I began my love for delicate porcelain by enjoying the beautiful patterns of my mother’s collection of mismatched English bone china tea cups. As I grew up and began to drink tea with lemon from these cups, I realized that tea and coffee taste much better from a translucent china cup.