M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS

 


"CHRISTMAS" : "DON'T OPEN 'til DECEMBER 25th"

'Twas early morning on Christmas ...

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap

Were just waking up from our brief winter's nap.

We have been anxiously listening

For Santa's last roof : "rap-a-tap-tap".

We just heard St. Nick leave, to his team give a whistle,

And fly quickly away with the speed of a missile.

Nick's now filled all the red stockings

And emptied his pack.

We are ALMOST ready

into those boxes and sacks...

 


 

But first comes a Celebration bringing sermons and most joyful singing !

Two Miniature Cathedral Interior Paintings, Oil on Copper

EUGENIO LUCAS Y PADILLA, SPAIN, 1824-1870

Two Miniature Cathedral Interior Paintings (with sermons & singing), Oil on Copper

...Once upon a time ...

long before there was a "Christmas",

with sermons or singing ... or bells a-ringing ...

people of all cultures sought hope and courage within nature.

A preeminent guardian was "The Sun":

In Roman days, the "Sun" took on a human form, known as

"SOL INVICTUS"

"Sol" was associated with Sunday, with December and the Winter "Solstice".

His special day of celebration was none other than 'December 25th'.

According to some historians, "Christmas" was set on December 25th because of this festival.

GOOD SET OF FOUR 17TH CENTURY CARVED OAK PANELS, Four Roman Gods : Jupiter, Diana, Mars and Sol, English or Dutch

WELL CARVED SET OF FOUR EARLY 17TH CENTURY OAK PANELS

including the above panel of "Sol Invictus", along with Diana, Mars & Jupiter

Also, a part of this Roman December festival was

"GIFT-GIVING"!

Whilst the "Gift-Giving" of Christmas

was likely patterned after the "Three Wise Men" ...  it is also connected to

three other Christmas "human personifications" :

"Father Christmas", from the 15th century, symbolizing Christmas "gaiety",

"St. Nicholas", bringing gifts, and whom the Dutch called "Sinterklaas"...

both figures eventually merging into the big jolly man

with his red suit, tall pointy hat, bag of gifts, and team of reindeer

"SANTA CLAUS, i.e. SAINT NICK"!

In addition to "Sinterklass", the Dutch, throughout the 17th century,

also kindly brought us (from the mysterious East)

a very precious cargo : PORCELAIN,

considered in the Western World, from c1500 to the early 1700s,

considered a most appropriate 'gift' for Nobility and Royalty -

 and, it is written, even the Pope.

 MING DYNASTY PORCELAIN KRAAK CHARGER, Wanli, Jingdezhen, c1595-1610, Rinaldi Border VII.1

MING DYNASTY KRAAK PORCELAIN CHARGER

China, c1595-1610 'Rinaldi, Border VII.1', 12.25" Diameter

with a bird amongst floral sprays within a richly diapered cavetto, the border also with birds

See Pl. 87 for a similar example, Troesch Collection, Switzerland

To this mysterious porcelain, the Dutch also added their silver mounts,

 for function, beauty, and our increased pleasure

(most certainly to mine,

as the combination is among my greater visual pleasures) :

KANGXI BLUE & WHITE SILVER-MOUNTED PORCELAIN TEA CADDY

China, c1700

Dutch Silver Mounts

The Cover & Collar with 1814 Small Articles Sword

 


   

"Old SANTECLAUS with much delight

His reindeer drives this frosty night

O'r chimney tops, and tracts of snow,

To bring his yearly gifts to you."

(Anonymous, c1821)*

 


 

This 19th century Dutch / American / British merger

'Santeclaus'

was not only miraculously on time (all around the world),

but always seemed to know just the right gifts to deliver, and where!

...even to the culturally diverse regions of

 the British Isles.

To the area of WALES , Santeclaus, i.e. St. Nick, would doubtless bring

"gifts of love", or "love tokens".

Just as Christmas stockings ...

these love tokens were"hung by the fireplace with care".

The comma shapes symbolized"the soul" , the hearts, "true love" - did declare!

19TH CENTURY CARVED TREEN WELSH 'LOVE SPOON' EARLY 19TH CENTURY CARVED TREEN WELSH 'LOVE SPOON

TWO 19TH CENTURY CARVED WELSH FRUITWOOD LOVE SPOONS

An endearing gift for your own true love - of any age

Left : 19th Century, with Hearts and Commas (soul, deep affection)

Right: Early 19th Century, with Hearts, Commas, Champagne Glasses, & Wheels (lifetime support)

To neighboring SCOTLAND, known particularly for their love of toasts - and history,

Santa might descend chimneys with a few drinking vessels, some being 'cloaked in mystery' :

GEORGE III 'SCOTTISH PROVINCIAL' SILVER-MOUNTED COCONUT CUP, Dundee, c1810 c1750 JACOBITE' DRAWN TRUMPET WINE GLASS

GEORGE III 'SCOTTISH PROVINCIAL' SILVER-MOUNTED COCONUT CUP

William Young, Dundee, Scotland, c1810

and a

c1750 'JACOBITE' DRAWN TRUMPET WINE GLASS

engraved with a six-petalled Jacobite rose with convex center,

sided by an opening bud to one side and an unopened bud to the other

Santa also knows the IRISH to be most fond! of the "come hither" of their fine silver :

GEORGE II IRISH SILVER EMBOSSED HELMET CREAM JUG, c1750 TWO GEORGE II IRISH SILVER MARROW SPOONS, 1735 & 1750 > GEORGE II IRISH SILVER EMBOSSED HELMET CREAM JUG, c1750 TWO GEORGE II IRISH SILVER MARROW SPOONS, 1735 & 1750

GEORGE II IRISH SILVER EMBOSSED HELMET CREAM JUG, C1750

and

TWO GEORGE II IRISH SILVER MARROW SPOONS :

Esther Forbes, Dublin, c1735,

one crested for Crosbie, Baron Brandon, later Earl of Glandore, of Ardfert, Co. Kerry,

RARE GEORGE II IRISH SILVER "DESSERT SIZE" MARROW SPOON :

William Sutton, Dublin, c1750

Thence, on to ENGLAND :

First, for the "Moms, Grandmothers, Aunts, even Neighbors"

who have mended our various fragments and tears

(both of 'cloth' and of 'heart')

a symbol of weaving together all that has fallen apart :

A SCARCE ELIZABETH I / JAMES I SILVER BODKIN WITH "EAR SPOON"

England, c1600-1620

Bodkins were used for centuries to lace together clothing with ribbons, and with leather cords.

"Wax from within the ear" smoothed and strengthened the threads and cords.

For finer threads, wax enabled easier threading and eliminated unwanted knotting.

Waxed thread is still a used in fine needlework today.

Then for the "Comptroller" or "Mayor of the House"

Santa might slip into a his bulging red sack,

a silver clip for keeping important papers (and 'sol'vency) intact

FINE EDWARDIAN SILVER LETTER CLIP, GREY & CO, LONDON 1902

bearing the arms and Seal of the Mayor Town of Westbury (Wiltshire)

"SIG LLUM MAIORIS ET BURGEN DE WESTBURIE"

And for all who collect ... for any "purpose" or "passion"...

 EARLY ENGLISH SILVER BOXES

designed to meet most any whim ... or "fashion" :

George II Armorial Silver Tobacco Box, England, c1730, Earls of Ashburnham  George I / II Engraved Silver & Agate Snuff Box, c1720-30

A GEORGE II ARMORIAL SILVER TOBACCO BOX

England, c1730, Bearing Arms of the Earls of Ashburnham

and

A George I / II Silver and Agate Snuff Box

England,  c1720-1730

Finely engraved

 


 

For centuries, England's 'Father Christmas' celebrations were centered around

JOYOUS "TOASTING" WITH LIQUID "SPIRITS".

St. Nickolas obviously inherited oversight of these ancient traditions.

In the 17th century, silver round-bottomed tumbler cups appeared -

ideal for toasting, quickly righting themselves,

e'er there be one too many toasts of 'good cheer' :

JAMES II / WILLIAM & MARY SMALL SILVER 'TUMBLER CUP'

Roger Strickland, London, c1690

with a matted ('sharkskin') surface below a plain and reeded rim

(The earliest existing silver tumbler cup dates to 1670).

   JAMES II / WILLIAM & MARY SILVER TUMBLER CUP, Roger Strickland, London, c1690, marks

Or should toasting be on the run or the 'ride

Santa himself might even place this by his side :

 FINE VICTORIAN ENGRAVED SILVER HIP FLASK, Simeon Greenberg, Birmingham,1860

A VERY FINE VICTORIAN ENGRAVED SILVER HIP FLASK

Simeon Greenberg, Birmingham, England, 1860,

engraved with scrolling foliage and strapwork

centering a 'Hunt Scene' with horse and rider; unengraved cartouche verso

For more reserved settings, Santa's recommendation (and mine too)

is early the English drinking glass

for a noticeable enhancement of taste :

George I / II Baluster Wine Glass, wide annulated teared knop, England, c1720-30  George I Two-Teared Baluster Wine Glass, England, c1720  George I / II Baluster Stem Cordiai or Gin Glass, England, c1720-30

Three Early English Baluster Glasses, c1720 -30 :

Left : GEORGE I / II BALUSTER WINE GLASS, 1720-30

Middle : GEORGE I TWO-TEARED BALUSTER WINE GLASS, c1720

Right : GEORGE I / II BALUSTER CORDIAL OR GIN GLASS, C1720-30

... especially with proper decanting through a Georgian funnel,

with curved tip, and its silver resting stand :

GEORGE III SILVER 3-PART REEDED WINE FUNNEL

Hennell I, David Hennell II & Samuel Hennell, London 1802,

together with a

GEORGE III SCOTTISH SILVER REEDED WINE FUNNEL STAND

Edward Livingstone of Dundee, Edinburgh, c 1800

... into the 'PERFECT' Christmas vessel with rings of three :

A GEORGE III ENGRAVED GLASS DECANTER

Arms of Gleane of Hardwick, Norfolk,

above the inscription

"PERFECT"...

... JUST AS WE HOPE YOUR CHRISTMAS DAY WILL BE!

 


 

And I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,

"HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!"

 


 

Also See :

Christmas : The Decorations

Christmas : The Decorations

 

Christmas: The Do's & The Dinners

 

It's Christmas!

 


This Christmas we have featured the drawings and paintings of young children.

May their exuberance and spontaneity of expression

recall for each of us a bit of that childhood excitement we knew as

we once awaited Christmas ... and Santa's arrival on our own rooftops.

 


Additional Notes of Interest :

The Christmas illustrations by children, in crayon, marker, and gouache :

Creative Commons; and by lease through Shutterstock and Dreamstime

*"Old Santeclaus with Much Delight" is an anonymous illustrated children's poem published in

"The Children's Friend" New York,1821. It is the first publication to mention and illustrate

Santa Claus's reindeer and his sleigh, as well as being the first to describe his arrival on Christmas Eve.

As it was published in the same city as Washington Irving's earlier portrait of

Santa Claus in "Knickerbockers' History of New York",

the poem may have directly inspired another New Yorker, Clement Clarke Moore,

to create the modern Santa in "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

The Christmas illustrations by children, in crayon, and gouache :

Creative Commons; and by lease through Dreamstime, Alamy, and 123rf

Text with a few familiar allusions to "The Night Before Christmas",

Clement Clarke Moore, Published December 23, 1823

Inventory Images : Millicent F. Creech

 


 

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Christmas : "Don't Open Til December 25th" ; M. Ford Creech Antiques