Lost and found

It was the late 70s. I must have been thirteen or fourteen years old and I often spent more time at my friend Adrian’s house in Bounds Green than I did at my own. I was in awe of his film star-esque mum Eleanor (part-time opera singer, part-time antiques dealer) and his sister Therri (probably still the person I would have most liked to have looked like). The house was a dog-smelling chaotic mix of antiques and dust. The colours throughout were dark and brooding, with intense colour in unexpected places. There was nothing contrived about the house, it just oozed casual style and screamed ‘home’ to me like nothing else. Eleanor was my self-appointed mentor. She was slovenly, selfish and demanding, and I learned all I could from her! There was a skip outside one weekend and I saw a small wooden Burmese dragon lamp hanging over the side. It was perhaps 2 ft tall, and would have matched the enormous standard lamp version in her living room. I could see it was damaged, but I asked if I could take it. Of course, she said yes. Her husband John was clearing out some of her old stock which she had no room to store in either the shop in Islington or in the house. I grabbed the light and scoured around. The other thing that caught my eye was the most gorgeous embroidered picture I had ever seen. It was all the colours of thread sewn onto a beautiful green background backed by simple cardboard. Someone had obviously spent their own personal hours meticulously creating this and yet it had ended up in a skip?

found in a skip in the 70s
found in a skip in the 70s

My gut feeling then was – and it still is – that it was sewn in the 1930s. I hung it in every bedsit and flat I lived in and then when I bought my first home at 21 years old I splashed out and had it framed. The framer in Porlock in Somerset was intrigued, and he suggested that it was older than I thought, but I doubt I will ever know. It remains in the same frame and has pride of place in our living room. I look at it every day and would never part with it.

What can you get for a tenner?

longsilverchandelier

I was very excited when I saw this rusty chandelier on ebay. It definitely has a touch of the Jugendstil about it. It was honestly described as having two missing, one chipped and one smashed shade and broken glass in the body too, but no-one bid on it and I got it for ten pounds. It’s very heavy too. The guy selling it was so nice that he packed it all up for me (brilliantly, I should add) and wouldn’t take any money for the packing materials. Apparently he bought a very large hotel laundry basket at a local auction and this was inside when he got it home! If anyone knows how to safely remove rust from something like this please let me know, and I will have to find new shades for it, which is a shame as the piece has a very clear style and different shades will dilute this, but it has to be given life again. I may have to look into metal paint, but there is some silver metal coming through where I started with my toothbrush and Brasso. I have done lots of googling but cannot find anything like it anywhere. Daybedsandsilverchandelier 007firststepstorustremoval