I follow my gut when I am buying. I inspect a piece to look for telltale signs of 'better maker' construction, crave brightly colored interesting pieces or am looking through the hideous original upholstery and already imagining how to redo it. Before I delve into my latest research, I'd love to show you these great little X BASE benches I just picked up. I believe they are redone in this gnarly plaid flannel. I see them with more tailored accents like buttons and piping and possibly a pillow top.
They would look great in a bold color like raspberry or teal, but I could also see them in the cream velvet I picked up a bit ago. I am full of refinished goods right now that I already invested into so cannot fund the upholstery work in advance of a buyer. Here is a great chance to get involved in the project! I will coordinate the restoration for you and you can select your fabric! I started a section on my web page to feature items I have waiting for restoration. Any of these items can be custom restored for you. I will take them on myself as my budget allows but if you see something you love let's get it restored for you!
Last week I featured a few new acquisitions in my write up which are listed and ready to go. The one table, the Gilded gold lily, sent me on a research mission to uncover it's past. Many dealers including the allmighty FIRST DIBS folk attribute this gorgeous little number to Arthur Court and I was going to try to crack this case.
Arthur Court, still around, is known for cast aluminum serving pieces, decor, and other small items for the home. There are no mention of any furniture in the current inventory. While this Lily base is cast aluminum, I have no reason to believe Arthur Court had anything to do with it. One or two listings mention Drexel, so I take that and run. Being at eBay at the right time led me to a piece of ephemera of interest. It was a 1969 magazine ad for Drexel's Et Cetera line of embellished furnishings featuring no other than my Lily on the pic! No matter how large I made the pic, I could not make out the text. There was a lot of text. I bought the ad! I am a firm advocate of keeping a library of research materials and will splurge on catalogs, books and other items that feature my finds. I appreciate those who take the time to cut this stuff out and preserve the history. Ads are sometimes the best resource we have to piece together the history of these items.
The magazine, Better Homes and Gardens I believe, was dated 1969. I learned that my lily has it's original glass, is definitely cast aluminum and was called a cigarette table. Small in stature to use next to a lounge chair, and the petit table top to feature an interesting ash tray with enough space to hold your pack, a lighter and a cocktail. As cigarette smoking slowly fell out of vogue, so did the use of the association. Like many trends, they come and go. There are still those who enjoy a puff here and there and also those who like to recreate that type of space just to keep the era alive. Whether you choose this piece to accent your nightlife or to bring some incredible lifelike nature indoors, it is sure to charm you and your guests.
My favorite part about the ad is the official description. 'The Gilded Lily-for real. This cigarette table reflects the originality in Drexel's famed Et Cetera Collection. A bunch of Gilded Madonna lilies bursts into full bloom to hold the glass top.' 💕
So what about the designer? Well, I figured out the answer to that as well. The caption under the pic ends in italics 'Designed by Drexel Design Staff'. Arthur Court, the most tagged company (or person) on this piece.....no way. Just another mid century modern urban legend. It is great when we enjoy certain designer's work. I do love carrying highly collectible works from the era's best. But ultimately, these are pieces you will be living with, passing down or reselling later. Take the time to delve into the history. I really try to find out about my items because I am intrigued and do my best to pass that info on. Misattributed items does no favors to the artists who created them and it certainly is shifty, lazy and no better than a used car salesman. ✌️
On a final note. I am in the process of stretching some of the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright reissued prints onto canvas for hanging. I figure there are some non crafty folk out there who would like to admire these great designs without having to sew or be creative. If they sell quickly, I will invest into other prints. This fabric is very expensive. On the St Marks Print, I used a large frame as the print repeats every 17". This way you really can see it. I love it against my brown wall. I will be doing the smaller blue print on smaller frames and at a reduced price as I can get more out of a yard. Look for the listing on the smaller ones (11 by 14) over the next few days!
Large canvas priced at $75 each plus ship. This is an awesome opportunity to get some yardage or a ready to hang piece of fabric art before the stock sells out!