Object Name: Maple Leaf
Accessioned: 1998 (?)
Notes:Collected in the garden of Louisa May Alcott.
Comments: In the late nineties my brother spent some time in Boston. Being a young girl, I had inevitably read Little Women and it’s sequels. So while visiting Alcott’s house in Boston, he collected this leaf for me from the garden. He has always been very good at finding objects like this, regardless of whether they are ‘found’ like this, that mean a vast amount. As I was so smitten with this when it was presented to me my mother got it framed for me. I rediscovered it amongst items carefully packed boxes from my later adolescence a few years ago. It now has pride of place on my wall. Of course this has even greater meaning now as my brother moved to Canada. If I believed in fate, I might read into that and this entry would be a lot longer.
Object Name: Worry Dolls or Sorgenbeutel
Accessioned: 2004 (?)
Notes:gift from a friend.
Comments: I suppose these items don’t a very complicated story, but they are very beautiful. A friend of mine was studying German and spent a year abroad in Germany. She now lives there, I suppose good beer in that quantity is hard to pass up. I think she bought these in the Nuremberg Christmas market along with a Christmas lantern. So like my Mammoth worry dolls, you tell these three your worries, place them under your pillow and the next day you will feel better! Obviously my friends think I worry too much, maybe I should distract myself further by making my own.
Object Name: Globe
Accessioned: December 2009
Notes: Bought by my mother.
Comments: Last Christmas my parent’s house was rampant with nostalgia. Myself and my siblings delved into bookshelves, investigated cupboards and riffled through photo albums. This resulted in my mother trying to encourage her children to take away more of their possessions, or to allow for them to be given away. It was at this point the old globe was produced. My mother bought this in the 1980s when we were all kids, it was around the same time she got The World Book and the Encyclopaedia. Seeing as I was born right in the middle of the 1980s, this is the world as it was when I entered it. In particular there is still an East and West Germany, and Eastern Europe looks very different. A lot of the older names of countries in Africa and Asia are still noted, such as Ceylon. Seeing as I was the only one with any interest in an out-dated globe it came home with me. So really this globe is really mine now as a product of navel gazing…
Object Name: Gilt Silver Lamp Stand
Accessioned: March 2010
Notes: bought by my mother in a lot at an auction.
Comments: For many years my mother did quite a lot of flower arranging. To find interesting, and more unusual objects to incorporate into her arrangements, she used to go to local ‘lot’ auctions. In these kinds of auctions you buy an entire box, or a ‘mixed lot’. As far as I know this lady emerged from such auction. I have always loved this lady, who adorned my mother’s sideboard for many years. After expressing an interest in recent years in Art Nouveau it was decided that I would be the ‘silver lady’s’ next rightful owner. So earlier this year, surrounded by old books and some childhood soft toys, she made her way to my house in a borrowed suit case.
She appears to be from the late 19th or early 20th century and she is stamped with the letters WMF EP. WMF is a German company, which still trades today. EP stands for electroplated. In her previous life she had a very industrious polisher for an owner as most of her silver had been rubbed off. You can see this in her now silvery ‘highlights’ around the features in her face, the folds of her dress and her toes. When I examined her, I remembered that as a child I polished her just as exuberantly. I realised this based on the amount of whitish polish that was deposited all over her. Over the course of a number of days, using a little warm water and mild soap I cleaned her from top-to-toe. I used ear buds and toothpicks to clean it out from from the leafy detail on her plinth.
She appears to have been a lamp originally, but she arrived to us sans lamp fixture. So that she was not holding her arms aloft needlessly, my mother found a candle that fits perfectly. Maybe someday I could find her a suitable glass lamp to hold, as I think she might be beyond being reinstated as a lamp. I might get her re-plated someday, although as someone interested in the history of objects, I do love the story her sparse silver tells.