Sunday, 7 September 2014
At Maison Dog we have been working on a small range of kitchen bits and bobs for the dog lover. From aprons and tea towels to rolling pins.

Here are three of our latest rolling pins; vintage pins embossed with a variety of dog breeds.
They are not on the website yet but I am planning to stock them in my new store -

Saturday, 28 June 2014
Yesterday I went to the 'Summer Repair Clinic' held locally to us by the company 'Complete Departure'
Recently I bought a few Victorian Centrepieces at auction -

Victorian Centrepiece with Epergne and Deer (undamaged)

One of them was broken, so the Summer Repair Clinic was a fab opportunity to get it repaired and learn a thing or two in the process.

Complete Departure created the Summer Repair Clinic as an experimental project that aims to share their facilities and knowledge with people in order to help them do the things they would otherwise be unable to do.

Book a two hour session and have an opportunity to work with plastic, metal, wood, leather and ceramic, with the guidance from an expert. You choose how much input you'd like to have in the repair process.
At the end of the session you donate what you think the repair and your learning experience are worth.
(the charity send tools to third world countries)

Deer with Missing Antler

Antler being Cast
I brought along my centrepiece which has three recumbent deer chained around a silver central column.
The column was bent and the Epergne (glass flute to hold flowers) also had missing glass from its base, causing it to be very unstable. One of the deer's antlers was missing.

In the above pics you can see the antler cast being made.

to be continued….

On a warm summer’s evening just after the war in 1946, two ladies with their dogs returning from Blackpool show were picnicking in a field outside the village of Quatt, just south of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, when a lady on a horse bore down on them and told them in no uncertain terms that they were on private land. She then dismounted and made a tremendous fuss of the dogs; it was love at first sight.
The trespassers were Joyce Hargreaves (Comeytrowe) and Mrs Nutting (Olveston) and the horsewoman was Joan Cottrell. That occasion was the beginning of the Quatt French Bulldogs. That same year (1946) Joan bought her first French Bulldog, a bitch called Northgate (a well-known landmark in Bridgnorth, now a museum) Pippet, bred by the Millner Deightons, a long established Bridgnorth family.
Joan’s daughter, Ann, became just as passionate about the breed as her mother and on leaving school joined her mother in what was, by then, a growing kennel. Visitors to Quatt were always welcomed and entertained by Joan, Ann popped in and out with refreshments and dogs and puppies as requested, while husband John, after initially greeting the visitors, retired to the dining room. Joan reigned over her court; everyone knew their place.
The Quatt kennel remained under Joan’s leadership until her death in 1979 and was continued by her daughter Ann until her death in 2001. A long line of successful dogs emerged, either bred at Quatt or bought in, especially clear pieds and fawns, including many champions worldwide and 31 British champions. The Quatt kennel was the first in Britain to breed champion French Bulldogs in all three colours.
Joan Cottrell had a gold link bracelet and to celebrate a Quatt champion being made up had a French Bulldog head and name tag engraved with the dog’s pet name attached. In total 12 of the 31 British champions are honoured on the bracelet, gold for a fawn and brindle, silver for a pied.
Among those that can be recognised are Ch Quatt Sno’Etta, Ch Snowmaie of Quatt, Ch Snowman of Quatt, Ch Quatt Heirenas Bambi, Ch Quatt Snoanna and Ch Quatt Snow Clown.

The heads were made by Arthur Payton-Smith, a master jeweller in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham, who also produced other French Bulldog pieces of jewellery. He and his family were French Bulldog enthusiasts, he owned three Quatt champions and his mother-in-law one.
Mr Payton-Smith was in dogs for over 40 years. He was a founder member and chairman of Birmingham Kennel Association, a founder member and secretary of the Midland Boxer Club and one time president of the Midland and Northern Counties French Bulldog Club. This club was founded in 1958 by a group of 31 French Bulldog enthusiasts and was the brainchild of Joan who served as its first secretary with daughter Ann as treasurer.
The bracelet appeared at auction recently in Fellows Vintage Jewellery and Accessories sale with expectations of £500-600 but perhaps not surprisingly sold well above, getting away at £1,000 to a commission bid, and yes the commission bid was from Maison  Dog!
Saturday, 7 June 2014
Greyhound-type dogs are the oldest recorded in history. The breed originated some 8000 years ago in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East where hunting dogs with deep chests, delicate heads, and long legs were found depicted on the walls of early cave dwellings. They have been the subjects of art and literature ever since.

The Greyhound in Art and Literature

-The Greyhound is the only breed of dog mentioned in the Bible (Proverbs 30: 29-31).
-The first dog mentioned in literature, in 800 B.C., was the Greyhound in Homer’s Odyssey.
-In both Greek and Roman mythology, gods and goddesses were often portrayed with Greyhounds.
-In the 14th century, in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Greyhound was the first breed to be written about in    English.
-Shakespeare mentioned Greyhounds in Henry V.
-During the Renaissance, the most famous artists of the era – Veronese, Pisanello, and Uccello – captured the elegant lines of the Greyhound in art.

At Maison Dog we stock a wide range of Greyhound and Sight Hound related Antiques-
From Silver Stirrup Cups, Victorian Enamels, Oil Paintings and Silver Brooches, to medals and Greyhound Collars, Firescreens and Bronzes.
Etching by David Gee

JW Bailey Enamel

JW Bailey Enamel

15K Gold Antique Greyhound Fob

Silver Lucky Greyhound Brooch


St Clements Greyhound

Greyhound Head Letter Opener

Carved Antler Stud Box

Saturday, 24 May 2014
Founded in 1865 by Jean Roullet, in 1879 Jean's only daughter Henriette Roullet married Ernst Decamps, a worker in the company.  By 1906 Ernst Decamps became head of the firm.  After Ernst passed away, his widow Henriette Roullet Decamps and son Gaston Decamps were the successors.  Roullet & Decamps are best known for their automata, mechanical walking and moving dolls and toys.  Roullet et Decamps won many bronze, silver and Grand awards between 1867 and 1910.  Jumeau, Kestner and Simon & Halbig marked bisque heads have been found on walking and mechanical dolls with an RD marked key.

I just bought this early Roullet and Decamps Mechanical Clockwork Walking Dog

similar dog found on Ebay above..

And a few of my Roullet and Decamps Growlers. Pull their lead and their mouths open wide and they growl Grrrr!!

Victorian Growler

mouth opens and closes


Friday, 21 March 2014
The history of St. Clement Pottery is a long one, dating back to the mid 1700s when it was established by Jacques Chambrette, owner of another faience factory in nearby Luneville. With the St. Clement factory, his goal was to produce prestigious wares for a higher-end segment of the market. He did, in fact, achieve this goal as the St. Clement factory was a favored supplier for Marie Antoinette. Interestingly, between 1864-1876, the famous French glassmaker--Emile Galle and his father produced their wares in the workshop at St. Clement. Over the years, the factory went through several owners, including Keller & Guerin who purchased it in 1892 and expanded the company considerably. In 1922, the Fenal family acquired the pottery and held it through 4 generations.

This wonderful majolica greyhound pitcher carries embossed marks of both Keller & Guerin and St. Clement as well as a green stamp and the number 507.

Older animal pieces carry 3-digit numbers or 3-digit with a slash and a 4th number as does this piece. The newer reproductions are almost always 4-digit numbers. Also the new pieces have a very glassy glaze. This piece has a glossy glaze but not "glassy" and it is clearly an older, original piece, with the green stamp dating it to the 1920s, 1930s.
Created to hold the controversial spirit Absinthe
- a very strong anise-flavored spirit, derived from botanicals. It was bottled at a high level of alcohol but was meant to be diluted with water prior to consumption. The beverage originated in Switzerland but became extremely popular in France in the late 19th /early 20th century, particularly among artists and writers including Hemingway, Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Toulouse Lautrec and Baudelaire. Absinthe was portrayed as a dangerous, addictive, psychoactive drug and by 1915 was banned in the U.S. and most of Europe including France. However, the psychoactive properties associated with absinthe were greatly exaggerated and later studies found it to be no more addictive or dangerous than any other alcoholic beverage. Consequently, a revival of absinthe began in the 1990s and today there are approximately 200 brands of the beverage being produced in 12 countries.

A St. Clements Marmalade Server
Friday, 21 February 2014
By the middle of the 19th century, any respectable Victorian gentleman could be seen wearing a silk or linen handkerchief, known as a scarf, passed once or twice around the neck, outside the shirt collar and tied with a bow at the front. More often than not this was held down with a scarf pin. These scarf pins might have been mounted with small portrait miniatures in enamels,or cameos and in some cases precious stones, pearls or glass. Generally set within a gold mount of varying standard, pins were decorated with a variety of subjects ranging from depictions of dogs to foxes masks, horses and portraits.
The most celebrated artist of the period was William Essex (1784- 1869). Essex found fame and relative fortune in his ability as a copyist in enamels after artists such as Reynolds, Lawrence, Wilkie and of course, Sir Edwin Landseer. In 1839 he was appointed miniature painter and painter in enamels to Queen Victoria, and from 1841 to Albert, Prince Consort. He exhibited over 100 times at the Royal Academy from 1818 until 1862, when he retired to Brighton at the age of seventy eight.
Not only was Essex technically superb, he was also responsible for a number of improvements in the art of enameling. He kept these improvements a closely guarded secret until, after the death of his son in 1852, he passed them on to a former pupil, William Bailey Ford (1832-1922).
Ford was Essex’s most gifted pupil and is recorded as having worked at the Osnaburgh studio from about 1852. After the death of his master ten years later, Ford continued the tradition drawing heavily on the studio pattern cards, so that some of the enamels are exactly the same as the Essex originals, but painted up to thirty years after the originals.
Ford also exhibited at The Royal Academy in London from 1859-1895, and like Essex enjoyed Royal patronage being commissioned to paint enamel miniatures of Edward VII in 1902.

Another famous artist in this field is John William Bailey (active 1860-1910). It would appear that Bailey also worked in Essex’s studio from about 1864, however by the mid 1890’s,
the quality of Bailey’s work seems to have deteriorated both in preparation and execution.

from a selection at Maison Dog
Reverse Intaglios
For many centuries, dogs, as well as horses, birds and other images have been portrayed in art.  And for the last hundred years, these subjects have been immortalized on enamels as well as on crystals through a process called “reverse intaglio”. 
            This technique is said to have begun in Europe, and the crystal process has been attributed to a Belgian artist named Emile Marius Pradier.  Some of Pradier’s early pieces were signed, which makes them particularly appealing.  Such was the beginning of a treasured art form which evolved into incredible works of art in miniature. 
            Around 1860, Thomas Cooke began making crystals for Lambeth and Company in England.  The crystals gained immediate favor, and as their popularity increased, Cooke trained a student to assist him.  This student - Thomas Bean - later trained his own son and subsequently his grandson in the crystal making process. 
            Crystal carving and painting has always been a family enterprise and is one of the few art forms of modern times to develop in secrecy, being passed on from one generation to the next.  Yet today, with very few artisans possessing either the knowledge or the ability to produce crystals, the process of reverse intaglio is considered to be one of the highest art forms. The popularity of these “little beauties” soared as the twentieth century began and they remained quite fashionable until the early 1930’s.
Not all carved crystals are created equally though.  There are cheap imitations of the technique produced at times.  The best way to distinguish a fine crystal is to view it with a jewelers loupe or other ten power magnifier - especially from the side.  One the very good crystals, you will notice the depth of the carving and the phenomenal detail - and you may also see that the crystal has slight chips which have appeared over time.  If the crystal is in its original mounting, the age can be assessed from the background - the earliest were done on gold foil.  As the art form developed, the backgrounds used differed.  The foil was replaced by etched mother of pearl, and this was succeeded by plain mother of pearl. 
            At one time, crystals were wrongfully attributed to William Essex, an artist well known  for his miniature enamel work.  Although he had no connection to the reverse intaglio process, many people commonly refer to Essex crystals even today.  As alluded to earlier, there are only a handful of current artists who are considered to be masters of the craft. 
            The precise physical process of the reverse carved intaglio crystal is a long and tedious one.  Rock crystal mined in Brazil and Madagascar is cut with diamond saws and then ground to the perfect cabochon.  This procedure could take as many as twenty different grades of polish, and the entire process is done by hand.  Once the stone is shaped, the design is drawn on the reverse side of the crystal with water color.  The image is then etched into the piece of stone with a scribe pencil. 
            The engraving begins with handmade soft steel tools.  As many as 250 of these tools may be used to execute this process.  The crystal is carved with a paste made from a combination of oil and diamond dust.  When the image has been completed to the artist’s satisfaction, he begins painting the crystal.  Just as in the carving phase, the painting is done in reverse.  Sometimes the brushes that are used have only a single hair. 
            The quality of a fine estate crystal far outweighs the setting.  However, the early Victorian mountings are generally as much a work of art as the crystal itself.  These mountings are usually of 18kt. or 22kt. gold, and totally hand crafted.  Estate pieces can range in price anywhere from $300.00 to $30,000 for a spectacular example.  Naturally, the rarity, the size and the quality of the art, as well as the setting and the age of these little beauties must be taken into account when determining the price. We hope this small bit of information can introduce a whole new dimension to the collector and make you want to add a “little beauty” to your life.

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