My old salt box

my salt box 2

my salt box 1

This blue and white pottery lidded salt box can be placed on a counter or mounted on the wall. The wooden lid is held in place by small pins. The base is marked with a star and the letters “SB”. The salt box measures approximately 5.9 inches wide by 3.9 inches tall in front and 5.9 inches tall at the back.

my salt box mark

Salt Box

With a culinary history centuries old in England, Germany and France, the traditional salt box holds about one pound of salt and can sit on a counter or hang on the wall. The protective flip-top wooden lid provides easy access to the covered salt. The dry heat coming off the stove helped keep the salt granular instead of lumpy.

2 Stoneware Hanging Salt BoxesBoîte à sel 2boite à sel ancienne 2

3 BLUE AND GREY SALT BOXES.1939 German Pottery Wall Mount Salt BoxBanded ware salt boxblue and white salt glaze, Waffle pattern

boite à sel ancienne 3germany salt boxboite a sel porcelaine

American salt boxAncienne boite a selBlue Onion pattern wall mount salt boxBoîte a sel Faïence de Niderviller

salt box 23saltbox 2germany salt boxes

Boîte a sel en faencesalt box 24Boite à sel Boch La Louvière  RHODIAsalt box 26

WandtopfWillow ware salt boxsalt box with wooden lid

German Blue & White Stoneware Salt BoxGerman Delph Salt BoxEarly McCoy salt box

Stoneware. Salt Boxes.saltboxCzech salt box

German 1930s vintage Delft style salt boxsalt box 22Salzfass aus Keramik mit Holzdeckel

Vintage pearlized salt box SalztopfVintage salt box

germany salt box 2salzhalter1

salt box 21

Salt-Box House

A salt-box house is a type of frame house which is distinguished by having two stories in the front, one story in the back and a huge chimney in the middle. The second floor used to overhang the first floor and the windows were very small. The entrance is situated exactly in the middle of the house.

saltBox Colonial

This architectural style emerged in New England around 1630, and salt-box homes were built well through the mid-1800s.

The name of this style of architecture refers to the containers in which salt was once kept. Salt was at that time a very valuable commodity, and it was carefully stored in containers which often looked much like miniature versions of a salt-box house.

Dibble House, Molalla  - Oregon Salt box

Historic American Buildings Survey James Rainey, Photographer June 6, 1936

“The “Salt-Box House” was built in 1738, and the history of its century and more of usefulness give an opportunity to record many an old order that has changed and custom that has passed away. The name “Salt-Box House” was a colloquial title springing from the resemblance borne by the building to the wooden salt box that hung in the kitchen chimney. The house was set upon a hill near the lovely village of Stratford, Conn., where it may still be seen, in a state of semi-ruin among woodbines and raspberry bushes.

It was built a “plank house”, like others of its periods, the sides being made entirely of wide planks two inches thick, standing upright side by side. “Raising bees” were then in fashion, and the neighbors gathered to help put together the framework of the new building “to the wagging of the fiddlesticks”. Some of the planks were 30 feet long, however, and there was much more work than play to a “raising bee”. The shape of the house, with its deep sloping roof, was according to a fashion established in Queen Anne’s time, when a tax was imposed upon houses of more than one story. The salt-box style gave a one story front and ample space for additional rooms under the roof behind. In this way the tax was eluded, and a very picturesque and individual example of architecture gained “. “Books of the Season” – The New York Times – Published: December 22, 1900.



my wmf bon bon dish3

This delightful silver-plated bon-bon dish featuring a simple and elegant design was manufactured by WMF (1) in Germany in the early 1910’s. Being a Biedermeier style piece, it is decorated with garlands of laurel leaves and flowers. Behind it, there is an oil on canvas painting by Carlos Miranda.

(1) WMF (Wurttembergische Metalwaren Fabrik) was by 1900 the world’s largest producer and exporter of household metal ware, mainly in classic Biedermeier and Rococo styles, very popular Jugendstil and Art Nouveau, and new twentieth-century German designs.

my wmf bon bon dish2

my wmf bon bon dish5

WMF Marks

wmf mark 1wmf mark 2

wmf mark 4

WMF mark 5 1900-20wmf mark 10

wmf mark 8

wmf mark 6wmf mark 7

wmf mark 9

Other Examples

These images are used to show examples of WMF dishes:

Henkelschale WMF 1910Konfektschale wmfwmf 2

Henkelschale von WMFwmf 7wmf 9

wmf 11wmf 12WMF um 1900-20

wmf 6wmf 8wmf 18

wmf 14wmf 14bwmf 13

wmf 15wmf 15bwmf 17

WMF  Schale 1930wmf 21wmf 22

wmf 20wmf 23WMF  bon bon dish b1

WMF bon bon dishwmf.bowl.1wmf.bowl.1a

wmf 16wmf 10wmf 19

Biedermeier Style

“Bieder”: worthy, sedate, staid, also petit-bourgeois.

“Meier” : one of the commonest German surnames.

Biedermeier was an influential style from Germany and Austria during the years 1815 (Vienna Congress) and 1848 (the year of the European revolutions), based on utilitarian principles. The furniture, decorative arts, and paintings of the period reflected the taste of the newly emerging bourgeoisie. Emphasizing less extravagant means, a new standard of beauty was created through simplicity, proportion, utility and elegance. The Biedermeier style was a simplified interpretation of the influential French Empire Style of Napoleon I. The same style was known as Regency in England, Restoration in France, and Later Federal in USA, but Biedermeier was less ornate. The term became absorbed into foreign languages and from that point on signified a typically German style.

This style is associated with Germany’s greatest poet: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

In 1776 Goethe stated that the power poetry (Dichtungskraft) needs an environment of familiarity and intimacy (Vertraulichkeit, Bedürfnis, Innigkeit).

Goethe and Friederike Brion

Goethe and Friederike Brion

“Ah, this charm is absent from the halls of the palaces of the great and from their gardens, which have been created but as passage ways, as places in which vanity displays itself. The power of poetry only lives where familiarity, necessity and intimacy reign. Woe to the artist who leaves his hut to court distraction in the palaces of the academics.” “After Falconet and about Falconet” 1776

“Ach dieser Zauber ist’s, der aus den Sälen der Großen und aus ihren Gärten flieht, die nur zum Durchstreifen, nur zum Schauplatz der aneinander hinwischenden Eitelkeit ausstaffiert und beschnitten sind. Nur da, wo Vertraulichkeit, Bedürfnis, Innigkeit wohnen, wohnt alle Dichtungskraft, und weh dem Künstler, der seine Hütte verläßt, um in den akademischen Pranggebäuden sich zu verflattern! “Nach Falconet und über Falconet” 1776


Carlos Miranda

He was born in Córdoba, Argentina. His artwork is mostly made up of drawings and paintings around the social theme with forays into fantasy.



my nippon vases1

my nippon vases3

Here is a pair of beautiful Nippon vases in a lovely celestial blue and pink pattern. The hand painted landscape scene depicts a lake, trees, a little house and a pretty sky. Both have the same image and both are painted this same way front and back. The moriage work is used to frame the landscape. The decoration is inspired by the late-Rococo porcelain styles of Germany and France. There is some loss of gold on the Japanese Chin (*) dog handles, and normal signs of wear as appropriate with age. Unmarked, but I believe this to be original Nippon porcelain from the late 19th Century or early 20th Century. Measurements: Height: 5.9″

(*) The Japanese Chin, also known as the Japanese Spaniel is another dog breed that resembles Chinese guardian lions , also called Fu (or Foo) Lions, and originates in China. Professor Ludvic von Schulmuth studied canine origins by studying the skeletal remains of dogs found in human settlements as long as ten thousand years ago. The Professor created a genealogical tree of Tibetan dogs that shows the “Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog”, a scavenger, evolved into the “Small Soft-Coated Drop-Eared Hunting Dog”. From this dog evolved the Tibetan Spaniel, Pekingese, and Japanese Chin.

my nippon vases4

my nippon vases6

my nippon vases7

Nippon Porcelain

The Japanese did not begin exporting their porcelain until the 17th century. It was at that time that a civil war caused the Chinese exporting to halt, prompting the Dutch to convince the Japanese to begin exporting to fill the European demand for porcelain.

Nippon porcelain production began in 1891, when exporting to America was opened, and ended in 1921 when a tariff stating that items had to be plainly marked in English was enacted. The name Nippon simply means Japan. It is not a type of porcelain, but rather a time period that porcelain contained the mark of Nippon.

In general, unmarked Nippon is prior to March 1891; however, this is not a hard and fast rule. Until import laws were clarified, some USA ports allowed goods to enter the country as long as the crate or box was marked with the originating country.

In its day, the Nippon porcelain was inexpensive and often seen as not worthy of collecting. Today, it is not only popular in America, but also Japan and very expensive to collect.

Pieces such as vases, pots and plates were decorated using distinctive decorating techniques.  Nippon porcelain was wholly hand painted until 1904. After 1904, piece began appearing with decals and stencil designs.  Many of them were decorated using materials which are no longer available nowadays. It would be very difficult to bring these techniques and materials back into today’s ceramic industry. The decorating techniques include the following:

Moriage 盛り上げ

Moriage is the term used to describe the layering of small beads or lines of slip clay onto the surface of the pottery, vase or bowl to create three dimensional decorative effects.

There are three basic methods for applying the moriage designs. One is by hand rolling and shaping. The second makes use of tubing. The tubing was filled with softened clay and applied to the porcelain much as we decorate cakes today. The third technique is to reduce the clay to a liquid state and brush it on items. Moriage designs are innumerable and varied. They include border trimmings, lacy designs, and floral motifs.

moriage 16

moriage 17

moriage 2moriage 6moriage 3


Kin-mori 金盛 or Gold Moriage 金彩

The Moriage were often painted gold after the glaze had been applied, giving the pottery item a unique and special finish. The beads were all placed onto the pottery by hand before it was fired in the kiln. Later, when the mass production of such items was started, the addition of the slip clay beads was replaced by adding small dots of enamel which speeded up the production time of each of the items.


enamel-mori agold moriageKin-mori2

Jewel ジュエル

This is a raised decoration using glassy pigments that looks like a jewel embedded in the enamel. The colours used are red, yellow, blue, green, and pink. Also known as “Hoseki-mori”.

hoseki-mori bhoseki-mori c

hoseki-mori dhoseki-mori e

hoseki-mori ghoseki-mori h

hoseki mori j

hoseki mori ihoseki-mori a

Cobalt コバルト

Cobalt blue was the primary blue pigment used in Chinese blue and white porcelain for centuries, beginning in the late 8th or early 9th century.

cobalt 3

cobalt 1cobalt 2

cobalt 5cobalt nippon unmarked

Cerulean blue is much used for colouring pottery, and consists of 79 parts of grey flux (fondant aux gris), 7 of carbonate of cobalt, 14 hydrated carbonate. The name of this 19th blue pigment was based on the Latin word “caeruleum” (sky or heavens) previously used in Classical Antiquity to refer to numerous blue pigments. The quite numerous versions of cobalt cerulean already offer quite a various range of undertones.

ceruleancerulean vase

cerulean zzcerulean 2

Designs デザインパターン

Images and patterns are drawn directly onto ceramics by highly skilled craftsmen. These designs are based on complicated, elegant curves and light pastel colours. The paintings were greatly influenced by traditional European decorative style.

Landscape 風景

landscape 0SEP08_Day1_A.qxdlandscape 3

landscape 9

landscape 4landscape 5landscape 6

landscape 8

landscape 11landscape 20landscape 24

landscape 21

nippon moriage vase 3nippon moriage vase 7nippon moriage vase 5

Old Swan

landscape 7

landscape 22

Portrait ポートレート

Japanese Josephine portraitJosephine

Japanese kmpKMP berlin

Japanese Mucha vaseAlfons Maria Mucha Sarah Bernhardt



my Armand Marseille

Here’s an excellent large example of the German bisque 390 by the Armand Marseille Porcelain Factory, Thuringia, Germany. She has a perfect face and blonde curly wig. Bisque (*) socket head is marked “Made in Germany 390 A11M” and she is 30″ tall.

The wood and composition body (**) is in nice condition, fingers and toes intact. The eyes sleep perfectly and all lid wax is retained. The brows are nicely feathered and she has painted lashes around her eyes. The lips are well shaped and outlined in red, her features are well defined. She wears a very appropriate white cotton dress.

(*) Bisque: A ceramic material that has a matte or unglazed surface. In finer antique dolls, it appears almost translucent. This type of material can be used for the entire body or only the doll’s head.

(**) Composition Body: is a type of material used for antique dolls heads and bodies. All companies tried to protect their techniques, and trade secrets. The detailed formulas or techniques are never expounded. It can be made out of wood pulp, glue, sawdust, flour, rags.

my Armand Marseille mark

Armand Marseille

Armand Marseille, of Sonneberg & Koppelsdorf, Thuringia, Germany was one of the most common antique dolls that are found today. They made certain of their dolls, including the very plentiful 390 and 370 moulds, for a span of over 30 years, and a large variety of character dolls.

Armand was born in 1856 in St. Petersburg, Russia son of an architect, and immigrated to Germany with his family a short while after 1860. They were a Huguenot family, hence the name that sounds like a French name. In 1884 he bought the toy factory of Mathias Lambert in Sonneberg and in 1885 acquired the porcelain factory of Liebermann & Wegescher in Koppelsdorf.

Marseille produced dolls from 1885 until sometime in 1930. At the turn of the century, it is estimated that the AM production was over 1,000 heads a day.

Armand Marseille dolls are generally very clearly marked on the back of the bisque head; as an example: Armand Marseille- Germany-390 -A 11 M or something similar, where 390 is the mould number. Many of the dolls are marked with A M instead of Armand Marseille. The vast majority of AM heads are bisque. Armand Marseille supplied bisque heads to many American doll and toy companies and distributors, including Montgomery Ward, Arranbee, Louis Amberg, Wanamaker and Sears, to name just a few of the more familiar, and, interestingly, purchased most of their bodies from other makers.

armand Marseille 390 A11M 3 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 11 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 13 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 14  mark

armand Marseille 390 A11M 1 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 6 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 2 mark

armand Marseille 390 A11M 7 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M 4 markarmand Marseille 390 A11M aa mark

armand Marseille 390 detarmand Marseille 390 A11M aaarmand Marseille 390 A11M 14 detail

armand Marseille 390 A11M 2 detailarmand Marseille 390 A11M 4 detailarmand Marseille 390 A11M 5 detail

armand Marseille 390 A11M 20armand Marseille 390 A11M 21armand Marseille 390

armand Marseille 390 A11M 22armand Marseille 390 A11M 7 detailarmand Marseille 390 A11M 6 detail

armand Marseille 390 A11M 3 bodyarmand Marseille 390 A11M 4 bodyarmand Marseille 390 A11M 1armand Marseille 390 A11M 11

armand Marseille 390 A11M 7armand Marseille 390 A11M 8armand Marseille 390 A11M 4armand Marseille 390 A11M 13armand Marseille 390 A11M 9armand Marseille 390 A11M 3

armand Marseille 390 A11M 2armand Marseille 390 A11M 17armand Marseille 390 A11M 5armand Marseille 390 A11M 6

armand Marseille 390 A11M 14armand Marseille 390 A11M 15armand Marseille 390 A11M 15 detail

armand Marseille 390 A11M 16armand Marseille 390 A11M 10armand Marseille 390 A11M 19

antique dolls museum

antique dolls

Norman Percevel Rockwell

Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States, where Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over more than four decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell’s works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, Saying Grace (1951), and the Four Freedoms series.

In 1977, Rockwell received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country.”

Norman Rockwell’s art reflected an intimate portrait of American life during the 20th century. His themes described universal human experiences ranging from touching moments of childhood to civil rights, America’s war on poverty, and the exploration of space. Norman Rockwell’s art relied on masterful technique, gifted storytelling, humor, compassion.

"Doctor and the Doll" by Norman Rockwell

"Doctor and the Doll" by Norman Rockwell

“The doctor who applies his stethoscope to a young girl’s doll is attempting to acknowledge her world of enchantment. The expression on his face is as serious and concerned as it might be if he were examining the girl herself. Such a willingness to place professional expertise at the feet of childhood magic serves to remind us, again, of things we have forgotten: secret kingdoms inhabited by imaginary beings whose needs seemed as real as those of the people around us. Rockwell’s physician may appear to take the doll’s health seriously as an effort to gain the child’s confidence and trust, but his act of sympathy is also one of grace, accepting his patient’s needs with cheerful serenity.” Neil Harris, from Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People, 1999

"Doctor and Doll" by Norman Rockwell - 1942

"Doctor and Doll" by Norman Rockwell - 1942

“To us, illustration was an ennobling profession. That’s part of the reason I went into illustration. It was a profession with a great tradition, a profession I could be proud of.” Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell - April Fool Girl with Shopkeeper 1948


This is a large cast iron wall bracket very interesting. The winged dragon is inspired by Medieval and Gothic designs.

French, late 18th early 19th century.


Length: 42 cm./ 16.4 inches

Height: 24 cm./ 9.4 inches

Width: 12 cm./ 4.7 inches

Western Dragons

The dragon is a mythical creature of great antiquity and is known equally well in the East as in the West. But in China and Japan, although it is similar in form, it is less forbidding and has very different characteristics. The Eastern dragon is benevolent and full of strength and goodness. It is associated with rain and water; in the evening it devours the sun and releases it in the morning. It takes treasure into its safe keeping from those who desire it from avarice.

The Western dragon is a malevolent and destructive power, and hoards gold and treasure for its own selfish purposes.


1 Alphyn, 2 Sagittarius, 3 Cockatrice, 4 Martlet,

5 Male Griffin, 6 Griffin, 7 Dragon, 8 Phoenix, 9 Pegasus,

10 Panther, 11 Wyvern, 12 Pelican, 13 Salamander,

14 Yale, 15 Unicorn, 16 Tyger.

Winged two-legged dragons

The Wyvern

wyvern ex libris

A wyvern or wivern is a winged reptilian mythical beast often found in Medieval heraldry. The name “wyvern” derived from the Saxon word Wivere, which means “serpent”. The French wyvern is known as the vouivre. Both words are etymologically related to viper.

The principal difference between the wyvern and the dragon is that the former has two legs while the latter has four. A wyvern is described as having the body of a snake with a dragon’s head, and a pair of bat’s wings. In Dungeons & Dragons, wyverns have a poisonous stinger in the tail. It can use its wings as forelegs in order to crawl forward, the resulting stance is usually very terrifying.

wyvern Batsford

Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire, England 1140wyvern

A second important difference is that whereas the dragon has an ambivalent reputation, the wyvern is unambiguously malicious. In the medieval bestiaries, the wyvern was used as an allegory of Satan, and was associated with pestilence and plagues. However, the wyvern is most notably show as a creature of protection, power and strength, which was important in battle. This dragon  probably entered British armory as the standard of the Roman cohort and remained in the symbolism of the post-Roman era and in the ‘burning dragon’ of Cadwallader from which the red dragon of Wales is derived.

wyvern Stone carving on a bench

wyvern holdingwyvern after 1200Westminster Wyvern

wyvern Kensal Green Cemeterywyvern Kensal Green Cemetery 2

wyvern Abbey of St Werburgh

wyvern outside the Town Hall in Braywyvern 21101

This large scaly monster was the emblem of the rulers of Wessex and the word “wyvern” is associated with the many areas of Wessex, reflected in many county and town heraldries of the South West and west of England. It also has been used farther afield in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as the rivers Wye and Severn run through Hereford and Worcester respectively. Therefore, the wyvern is often used as a mascot in the west and south west. For example, one of the local radio stations is called Wyvern FM, and its first logo, in 1982, featured a wyvern dragon.

wyvern lamp

The Vouivre

The Vouivre is a member of the Dragon family, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful species of winged serpents.

Bestiaire d'Amours

vouivre bestiaire

According to old legends and traditions, this mythical reptile lived in swamps, lakes, abandoned chateaux and monasteries of Franche-Comté (Doubs and Jura), Burgundy (Yonne, Nievre, Côte-d’Or and Saône-et-Loire), Lorraine (Meuse) and other regions of France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Aosta Valley, Italy.


Cascade de la Vouivre - Jura

Cascade de la Vouivre - Jura

It is described as a dragon, part woman, part bird and part snake. The Vouivre too wears a jewel in the middle of her forehead. This jewel is what allows to see, and she can only be killed if it is stolen, although it is removed for bathing.

Vouivre Oratoire d'Isabeau d'Ailly Lorraine FanceNeuvy Saint-Sépulchre 1034 -1049Saint-Pierre d'Aulnay

It is said, in an old story of Franche -Comté that a greedy and fearless man, living in the town of Mouth, wanted the carbuncle for his own. He took the advice of an evil sorcerer who told him to slaughter a bull and steal the carbuncle from the Vouivre while she was busy drinking it’s blood. He did this, but once he had the jewel, he refused to share its riches with the sorcerer or the people of the town – and it turned into horse dung in his hands. It was said he smelled of dung for all the rest of his days, and the Vouivre, whose power was diminished without her magical stone, went into hiding.

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loirevivre 1 Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine BourgogneGaronne Occitan France

“The Vouivre wears but one eye in the middle of her forehead, and that is a carbuncle ; when she stops to drink at a fountain, she lays it aside ; that s the time to possess yourself of the jewel, and she is blind ever after. The Vouivre flies through the air like red-hot iron, Mem. des antiq. 6, 217” [Teutonic Mythology by Jacob Grimm Vol. IV p.1492 – 1883]

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire 2door 11th church in Nouziers, Creuse, Limousin Francevouivre Chapiteau de l'église de Lencloître Poitou Charentes

“The Vouivre is a gigantic flying serpent who elevates herself above the summits with much noise while describing immense curves in the sky. She emits a burning breath of flames and sparks which illuminates her glistening scaled clothes and the folds of her disproportionately large wings. On her head, she wears a scintillating diadem and on her forehead a single eye, which, like a luminous diamond or a star, provides her with light for her nocturnal voyages. This intense glow reveals her presence far into the distance.” Lucienne Fontannaz

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire 3vouivre 12thVezelay

Variable Spellings

Cuivre, Gibre, Givre, Guibre, Nwywre, Vaisvre, Vaivre, Vaure, Vavre, Vebre, Vèvre, Vievre, Vive, Vivre, Voire,Voivre, Vosvre, Vouwra, Vuipre, Vuivre, Wivre, Wivrot, Woëvre, Woèvre.

Latin : Vipera, Vipère.

St Pierre de la Tour - Aulnay

Vivre 1948

The Basilisk or Cockatrice

The basilisk, king of serpents, whose eyes were so terrible that a glance killed, is the emblem of deadly sin.

basilisk or cockatrice 2

According to the “Naturalis Historia” of Pliny the Elder (40–79 C.E.; Natural history), the basilisk (from the Greek βασιλίσκος basiliskos, a little king, in Latin Regulus) is a small snake that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal.

78. “The basilisk is found in Cyrenaica and is not more than a foot in length; it is adorned with a bright white spot on its head like a diadem. It puts all snakes to flight by its hissing and does not move forward with many winding coils, like other snakes but travels along with its middle sticking up. It destroys bushes not only by its touch but also by its breath, and it burns grass and splits rocks. Its power it a threat to other creatures. It is believed that once one was killed with a spear by a man on horseback and its destructive power rose through the spear and killed both the rider and his horse. Kings have often wished to see a basilisk once dead beyond a shadow of doubt. For such a fantastic creature the venom of weasels is fatal – thus does Nature determine that nothing is without its match. Men throw basilisks into weasels’ dens, which are easily recognized by the putrefaction of the ground. The weasels kill them by their foul smell and then die themselves. Nature’s fight is over.” (Natural History-a selection, translated John Healy, 1991, Penguin Classics)

basilisk Belgum 15th

basilisk France, Saint-Martial de Limoges 13th

The way the basilisk comes into the world is as follows. When a cock is seven years old it will find itself one day in the greatest agony, because it is about to lay an egg. The cock seeks some place to secrete the egg in, but a toad anxiously watches the proceedings. When the cock has laid the egg, the toad comes and sits upon it until it is hatched. The resulting creature has the head of a cock and the body of a reptile. He hide in a crevice or an old cistern, so that no one can see it.

basilisk or cockatricecockatrice Château de Blois 2basilisk St-Pierre St-Pierre de l'Isle 13th

cocatrice Minton chinacockatrice Château de Blois

Part bird, part serpent with lion claws and bat’s wings, is the “mascot” of the City of Basel (one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland), and symbol of the city for over 500 years.


Basilisk with the arms of Basel from a Swiss 1511

basilisk 2 Baselbasilisk 3 BaselBasilisk  Basel

basilisk Basel

Basilisk  Basel fountain 2Basilisk at_Wettsteinbruecke-BaselBasilisk_fountain Basel

Basilisk Basel Ferdinand Schlöth 1879

Ode to Naples

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Antistrophe 1a.

What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme

Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror

To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam

To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer; _80

A new Actaeon’s error

Shall theirs have been–devoured by their own hounds!

Be thou like the imperial Basilisk

Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!

Gaze on Oppression, till at that dread risk _85

Aghast she pass from the Earth’s disk:

Fear not, but gaze–for freemen mightier grow,

And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe:–

If Hope, and Truth, and Justice may avail,

Thou shalt be great–All hail!

Honore de Balzac

“Physically, Grandet was a man five feet high, thick-set, square-built, with calves twelve inches in circumference, knotted knee-joints, and broad shoulders; his face was round, tanned, and pitted by the small-pox; his chin was straight, his lips had no curves, his teeth were white; his eyes had that calm, devouring expression which people attribute to the basilisk; his forehead, full of transverse wrinkles, was not without certain significant protuberances; his yellow-grayish hair was said to be silver and gold by certain young people who did not realize the impropriety of making a jest about Monsieur Grandet. His nose, thick at the end, bore a veined wen, which the common people said, not without reason, was full of malice. The whole countenance showed a dangerous cunning, an integrity without warmth, the egotism of a man long used to concentrate every feeling upon the enjoyments of avarice and upon the only human being who was anything whatever to him,–his daughter and sole heiress, Eugenie. Attitude, manners, bearing, everything about him, in short, testified to that belief in himself which the habit of succeeding in all enterprises never fails to give to a man.” Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) Eugenie Grandet – Chapter 1


“As Zadig was traversing a verdant Meadow, he perceiv’d several young Female Syrians, intent on searching for something very curious, that lay conceal’d, as they imagin’d, in the Grass. He took the Freedom to approach one of them, and ask her, in the most courteous Manner, if he might have the Honour to assist her in her Researches. Have a care, said she. What we are hunting after, Sir, is an Animal, that will not suffer itself to be touch’d by a Man. ’Tis somewhat surprizing, said Zadig. May I be so bold, pray, as to ask you what you are in Pursuit after, that shuns the Touch of any Thing but the Hands of the Fair Sex. ’Tis, Sir, said she, the Basilisk: A Basilisk, Madam, said he! And pray, if you will be so good as to inform me, with what View, are you searching after a Creature so very difficult to be met with? ’Tis, Sir, said she, for our Lord and Master Ogul, whose Castle, you see, situate on the River-side, at the Bottom of the Meadow. We are all his Vassals. Ogul, you must know, is in a very bad State of Health, and his first Physician has order’d him, as a Specific, to eat a Basilisk, boil’d in Rose water: And as that Animal is very hard to be catch’d, and will suffer nothing to approach it, but one of our Sex, our dying Sovereign Ogul has promis’d to honour her, that shall be so happy as to catch it for him, so far as to make her his Consort. The Case, being thus circumstantiated, Sir, I hope you will not interrupt me any longer, lest my Rivals here in the Field should happen to circumvent me.” Voltaire (1694–1778) Zadig Chapter 15

Basilisk Basel  Swiss 2

La Grand’ Goule

Grand Goule de Poitiers

This legendary monster – a hybrid creature with eagle’s claws and bat’s wings – is associated to the memory of saint Radegund (also spelled Rhadegund, Radegonde), the founder of Sainte-Croix abbey in the 6th century.

sainte radegonde

The dragon used to devour the Nuns of the abbey when they went into the underground storerooms in search of provisions. Radegonde, the patron saint of the Poitiers, went to hunt the monster, with a relic of the real crucifix (gift from the bysantine emperor). Seeing the relic, the Grand’ Goule was completely conquered.

Grand Goule Poitiers

This episode will become a traditional celebration with processions in the neighbourhood around Sainte-Croix. From the 17th century onwards, a wooden effigy of the beast leaded the procession, followed by the inhabitants who threw tiny cookies in its threatening mouth while conjuring danger with an unusual recommendation: Bonne sainte vermine, priez pour nous ! (“Good holy vermin, pray for us”). The sculpture is today on display in the Musée Sainte-Croix.

grand goule Notre-Dame d'Echillais

The Graoully

The name Graoully also transcribed Graouli, Graouilly, Graouilli or Graully finds its etymology in German graülich, grässlich or gräßlich who means “monstrous”.

graoully 16th

The legend of Saint Clement of Metz states that the Graoully, along with countless other snakes, inhabited the local amphitheatre. The snake’s breath had so poisoned the area and the inhabitants of the town were trapped in the town. Saint Clement led the Graoully to the edge of the Seille, and ordered him to disappear into a place where there were no men or beasts.

Saint Clement and le Gaoully - Metz France

graoully by Auguste Migette 1802-1884graouilly MetzCathédrale Saint Etienne Metz

Cathédrale Saint Etienne Metz 2Cathédrale Saint Etienne Metz 3

The Graoully quickly became a symbol of the town of Metz and it can be seen in numerous demonstrations. One can today see it represented in the crypt of the Cathédrale of Metz. It is also reproduced on the blazons of the Football Club of Metz and of the National school of engineers de Metz.

Metz-Cathedrale_St-Clement_Graoully - detailGraoully - Museum de la Cour d'orgraoully in Metz - France 2


“It was a monstrous, ridiculous, hideous figure, fit to fright little children; its eyes were bigger than its belly, and its head larger than all the rest of its body; well mouth-cloven however, having a goodly pair of wide, broad jaws, lined with two rows of teeth, upper tier and under tier, which, by the magic of a small twine hid in the hollow part of the golden staff, were made to clash, clatter, and rattle dreadfully one against another; as they do at Metz with St. Clement’s dragon.” Gargantua and Pantagruel  Book IV by Francois Rabelais – 1548

Graoully in Metz - France

The Tatzelwurm

The Tatzelwurm “worm with claws” in German, is a worm-like cryptid (i.e. its existence has not been scientifically verified).

tatzelwurm 2

This creature is usually described as a snake from five to seven feet long, two large clawed legs and a feline appearance in the head region. They lived in several areas of Europe, including the Austrian, Bavarian, Italian and Swiss Alps.

Michaelerkirche Vienna, AustriaCastle Tyrol  Italy 1140tatzelwurm3jpg

Similar creatures have been part of Scandinavian folklore for centuries. In some circles, it is classified as a variety of lesser dragon, also called Beisswurm, Hergstutzen, Springwurm, Bergstutzen, Daazelwurm, Praatzelwurm, or Stollenwurm.


“Lombard legend has more to tell of snakes, and those expressly small ones. The Heldenbuch describes the combat of a small fire-spitting beast on the Gartensee (L. di Garda) with Wolfdietrich and a lion, to both of whom it gives enough to do:

Nun hörent durch ein wunder, wie das tierlein ist genant:

es heisst zu welsch ein zunder, zu teutsch ein saribant,

in Sittenland nach eren ist es ein vipper genant;

and it is added, that there are but two such vipers alive at once, for the young ones soon after birth eat up their parents.” Jacob Grimm “Teutonic Mythology” Vol. 2 Chapter 21: Trees and Animals

Tabern in Tapolca near Lake Balaton in Hungary

La Vouivre (1989)

La Vouivre is a 1989 French film adaptation of the 1945 novel by Marcel Aymé which tells the tale of the descent into madness of a World War I veteran. Beautifully photographed, La Vouivre captures the dark poetry of the famous novel.

vouivre z



pcj 2

pcj 3a

This Pierre Cardin from 1971 is one of my favorites of all time. A mechanical wrist watch fitted with handwound Jaeger FE-68 movements, the white circular dial with black hands, and plain bezel off-set to a translucent dark blue acrylic circular surround, fitted to a blue strap.

Width of watch head: 1.8 inch / 4.5cm.

pcj 4

pcj 5

pcj 7

pcj 8

Pierre Cardin Space Age

Pierre Cardin gave fashion a constructive and futuristic look, geometric seams and hemlines reminded of robots. His clothes had the trappings of science-fiction and space travel. His fashion was similar to modern sculptures including asymmetries, sometimes it had big necks.

Nurses Uniforms by Pierre Cardin 1970

Pierre Cardin  a


In many clothes there are openings in contrasting colours. His collection was decorated with big zippers and belts. He made dresses out of vinyl, hammered metal rings, broaches of carpenters nails, and diamonds. Knitted catsuits, tight leather trousers, close-fitting helmets and batwing jumpsuits were all in his collections.

Pierre Cardin 1970

Pierre Cardin Bull's-Eye Halter Skirt

Pierre Cardin b


After designing collarless suits for the Beatles in 1963 and Nasa Spacesuits in 1970, Pierre Cardin launched his very brief Espace watch line in 1971. He was inspired by space travel in 1961, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. Made of metal blocks, lucite cubes, layered disks, contouring arcs, smoky crystals, bold stripes or flying saucer-shaped Futuro domes, most are very rare and all are mechanical watches fitted with handwound Jaeger FE-68 movements.

1971 Cardin Jaeger Thick Distortion Crystal1971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger 21971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger Movement 9

1971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger Movement 101971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger Movement  101971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger Space Odyssey

1971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger1971_pierre_cardin_espace1971Cardin Jaeger C Shaped Case




CARDIN10cardin moonCARDIN

pierre cardin jaegerpierre cardin jaeger 1971pierre cardin jaeger 2pierre cardin jaeger 3

Pierre Cardin/Jaeger Marks

aaCardin6pierre cardin jaeger mark 2

pierre cardin jaeger mark 3pierre cardin jaeger mark

1971 Pierre Cardin Jaeger int

Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin

my tete a tete set  3

my tete a tete set  2

my tete a tete set  5

This is a “tête-à-tête” coffee set, and consisting of five pieces; one coffee pot, one creamer, two saucers and serving tray, each one finely hand painted with applied leaves and grains of coffee. This lovely little set was manufactured by William Guerin and Co., Limoges, France and designed exclusively to Gath & Chaves, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The mark indicates that it was made sometime between 1900 and 1932.

my tete a tete set 1

I put on the table a beautiful old piece of French cotton lace. This midnight blue lace has an exquisite pattern with oak leaves and acorns. The mighty oak is a symbol of strength, refuge, longevity and resilience.

my tete a tete set  9

my tete a tete set mark

Limoges & Guerin

Limoges has become the generic name of hard paste porcelain that was produced during the 18th, 19th and into the 20th century in one of the many factories in Limoges, a French town situated about 250 miles southwest of Paris in the Vienne valley. Each factory used a unique factory back stamp or underglaze mark. Each piece of Limoges was produced using the same formula of feldspar, kaolin and quartz. Each piece was subjected to the same intense firing process of about 900 degrees for 16 hours, followed by the glazing process, and yet another firing at approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for eight more hours.


Limoges in the early 1800s was making the finest, purest white porcelain in the world. By the 1830s, there were at least 35 porcelain factories and 62 decorating studios operating in the Limoges region.

polishing cups

William Guerin (1838-1912) was born near Limoges and trained in porcelain techniques. In 1836, he rented a porcelain decorating workshop in the Faubourg Montjovis (Limoges), doing export.

About 1872, Guerin took over the porcelain workshop of Lebron & Cie. Then in 1877 he bought the porcelain factory that had been established by Jouhanneaud and Dubois in Rue du Petit-Tour (Limoges), and which had been bought in 1867 by the Utzschneider Company of Sarregemines. This enlarged company produced a wide range of wares, selling a lot of white ware and also continuing decoration.

Guerin’s sons William and Andre joined the company in 1903. In 1911 W. Guerin & Cie. merged with the nearby Pouyat factory. Possibly both company marks were continued; in any case WWI greatly decreased output.

In 1920 or 1921 by Bawo & Dotter Ltd., owner of Elite name, bought Guerin & Cie and became Guerin Pouyat Elite, with Carl Bawo as technical director from 1923. The factory closed in 1932 and was demolished in 1933.

green mark 1870green mark 1891- 1932blue mark 2 1891- 1932blue mark 1891- 1932

Guerin and HuebkenGuerin -Dulin and Martinguerin mark 1891L

Guerin mark 1896Guerin markGuerin and Marriott


One characteristic phenomenon of the Biedermeier period (1815–1850s) was the emphasis on the private sphere. Interiors became comfortable, reception rooms evolved into living rooms, and the decorative arts concentrated on items of personal delight. The tête-à-tête (French, face to face) is a prime example. It is a small coffee, tea or chocolate service for two persons. Usually, such sets were made out of porcelain or silver.

wedgwood Bone china late 19thCapo di Monte style 20th

1930 en Czechoslovakie bMeissen

Samson of ParisSt. Petersburg 1752-96

tête à tête Couleuvre 1950Limoges Cobalt 1922-28

breakfast set kimberly patterncoffee service portrait of a womanDéjeuner Culture et Récolte du Cacao Sevres 1836

French porcelain 20thGermany porcelainLimoges breakfast set

KMP Berlin 1914-18Italian 20thKMP Berlin

limoges coffee setLimoges Robert Hessler 20thMeissen style

Limoges Guerin PouyatLimoges Soudana & Touze 1920-42Manufacture Pouyat, Limoges 1862 blanc de Limoges

Milton 20thNymphenburgRoyal Berlin 1840

Royal Vienna 1815Service À Café - Thé - Porcelaine De LimogesVieux Paris  Louis-Philippe 1840

Sevres 20thtête à tête en porcelaine polychrometete a tete french 18th

William Guerin 1863-1881

William Guerin 1863-1881