Friday, February 17, 2012

A little Paris at home - Antique Dollhouse furniture

 One of the things I love about Paris is the Flea Market or Marche au Puces, as they call them. We were delighted to discover a lot of doll related items in the antique section at the Porte de Clignancourt. And even more delighted to find some rare Boulle antique dollhouse furniture.

One of the first booths we stopped at had these wonderful 1:12 scale pieces. For me, it was love at first site. The drop front Secretary has wonderful painting on the outside and a very attractive green on the inside.
Boulle furniture is also referred to as Biedermeier style or Waltershausen. The later being the area of Germany where many toys were made before the First World War.

Boulle is named after French ébéniste A.C. Boulle (1642-1732). The elaborate painting on the miniature pieces are meant to represent his fine decorative schemes of brass, tortoiseshell and other materials on a background of dark woods. He, and the cabinet makers that followed him, applied veneers and marquetry inlay over secondary wood.

The vanity has holes in the top level for perfume or lotion bottles. I love the elaborate designs painted on the piece.
I love this little table. Unfortunately one of its feet was broken off at some point in it's long life. It has been repaired badly, but I can live with that. It has such personality.
At another booth we found this delightful 3/4" scale bedroom suite in a glass case. The friendly vendor had no other doll-related items. I asked the price and immediately said "non". But the vendor was motivated and came down to what I was willing to pay, even though it was close to half of what she originally said.
The pieces have some wear, but that is to be expected in toys that are 100+ years old.

Once we had agreed on the price I needed to find an ATM. The happy vendor walked with us to the nearest one, about a half a kilometer away, and escorted us back to the shop. We never would have found her again otherwise.
The celluloid baby was included in the lot and is really cute, if not original.

I had to glue the drawers of the little chest back together, and even though one is missing, but it is still charming.
Also included was this gorgeous sewing table. Not part of the bedroom set, this piece is 1:12 scale. It is missing two of its curved legs. I will make a couple of reproductions for it.
I love the design on the top of it. and the sectioned drawer with the velvet pincushion inside.

Here are the two vanities side by side so you can see the difference in scale.

I think the smaller one is older, but I am happy for more information if you have any.

I can't wait for my next visit to Paris. You can be sure I will be at the Flea Market, cash in hand, looking for treasure.