Provenance of stuff

When my husband ran an AirBnb from home the listing mentioned our pictures and artefacts having a tale to tell.

Before I emigrated to Australia my dear Australian friend P.M.S formerly P.M.M caught up with me in the UK. We visited one of my early boyfriend’s parents, Hazel and Bill in Solihull.

As a naive 20 year old from a working class family, north of the borough, Birmingham, I knew my place as their social inferior.

My trips to see them usually involved the upmost politeness and decorum. I felt common and clumsy in their presence. I would sit in the same place on the sculpted green draylon sofa, the same spot where I was shown to sit, the first time I met them. I was introduced as a ‘friend’ of their son.

I would not dream of wandering about the hallowed halls of their abode or handling the ornaments and family pictures on the mantle piece.

I vaguely recall P. and I dining with them. I vividly remember my anxiety levels stepping up from mildly uncomfortable to extremely stressed with each step P. took around the lounge room, picking up the objet d’arts for a closer inspection and quizzing the hosts on who the silver framed smiling faces were.

P. and I had many exciting adventures together including a few trips to Liberty of London.

It was love at first sight when I saw a dark polished timber, queen sized sleigh bed with octagonal cane infill panelled head and foot boards. We agreed it was truely a piece of furniture to aspire to.

In one of the sales, I bought two table lamps, one with a very 1980’s silhouette; wide shouldered and narrow bottom in an off-white glaze flecked with apricot and green. The other, a ginger jar shape with an orange peel texture in dark apricot. Both had lift off coolie shaped narrow pleated cream silk shades, tops and bottoms trimmed with velvet; trés glam!

We still have the latter of the two lamp bases pictured above. I refinished it with acrylic paint during my gilding phase in the early 2000s. Paired with a gold foil lined black shade it anchors the French Empire themed dining tableau.

8 thoughts on “Provenance of stuff

  1. P. had no experience of classism, being an Aussie.
    P. thought she was being polite and was genuinely interested.
    P. was very surprised when you later mentioned your discomfort at her “behaviour.”
    P. did think the people were a bit snooty.
    P. fondly recalls the day. 😉😉

  2. I find it fascinating to read there still is a ‘class’ sense in the UK. I thought that sort of thing died out in the 40s or something.

  3. Hi, Robert. First of all, when I read “We visited one of my early boyfriend’s parents…” I thought it said “EARTHLY boyfriend’s” and I wondered what other-wordly kind of boyfriends you had. LOL! I think your husband was very smart to pique interest by mentioning your interesting artifacts! I enjoyed reading this about one of them, and I hope you post more!
    You did a BEAUTIFUL job on the lamp! 🙂 ❤

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