Silver and Porcelain
I love silver and porcelain and I was looking for a nice way to display my small collection. After reading the beautiful book 'Rococo in Nederland' (Rococo in the Netherlands), I decided to build two recessed buffets in the dining-room. This is what the book says about it:
A buffet was indispensable at meal times, not only for rinsing glasses but also for placing all manner of dinner- and servingware upon. Because the buffets could almost always be closed, the room was not permanently presented as a dining-room. Very few houses had a dining-room that was permanently fitted as such. The meal was usually taken at a simple table which was covered with a damask tablecloth. At the end of the meal the table would be put away until the next meal.
The buffets will remain open, after all they are meant to show my collection! More parquet flooring in this room, almost identical to the floor in the hall. I am not that fond of the over the top ornamental style of rococo, so I have used only some elements here and there. It has therefore become somewhat of a 'transitional interior'. In the book it says:
Artists, but probably also their clients, were sensitive to changing fashions. Around 1739 elements of the rococo style were added to designs rather hesitantly (asymmetrical curls and rocailles). Even during the fitting of a room a new rococo element would be introduced, even though strictly speaking it did not contribute to the unity of the whole room.
The fireplace between the two buffets is by Sue Cook, bought at the 'Poppenhuismuseum' in Heesch. I so loved the marbling on it, that I continued to marble all the skirting-boards and the door to the hall in the same manner. Above the door I painted an ornament after a design by Jacques Etienne Benoist, a famous interior designer in those days.
The panelling on both side walls was made from card and wooden moulding, on top there is a small plinth with special sections for the candlesticks. The panelling is held in place by 'grip wax', so I can always get to the wiring behind it. The side wall (photo above) can easily be pulled forward, after which the back wall with the fireplace and the recessed buffets can be taken out completely. The wallpaper is a 18th century design, found on some wrapping paper, reduced in size, photocopied and then aged with a little paint and wax. The curtains have been made of silk fabric from an antique Indian sari.
The majority of the collection in this room has not been made by me. The porcelain and earthenware is by Cocky Wildschut and Henny Staring-Egberts. The silver is by Jens Torp. The chairs are by John Hodgson and the tables by Mark Gooch.
I painted this portrait, a watercolour, after part of a painting from 1715-1720 by an anonymous painter. In Dutch it is called 'Het theebezoek', which translates as 'The tea-visit'. In this picture the painting is bigger than its real size of 3 x 5½ cm. (1.18 by 2.17 inches). On the 'Diversen'- page (in Dutch only, sorry!) you will find some more watercolours I made for my dolls house. Here you will also find the portrait of a man that I intended to hang next to this 'Lady in green', but I decided one painting was enough (and I really didn't like his pink suit in the green dining-room).
Finally, after two years I found a mirror for the mantelpiece. The silver sconces holding three candles each on either side of the mantelpiece are typically rococo. Jean-Claude Martin made the sconces and the beautiful silver firedogs.
These wonderful porcelain figurines 'A Pair of Putti Riding Dolphins', made by Tricia Street after Meissen originals, are only 2 cm. high (less than 1 inch), but are incredibly detailed. Even this enlarged photograph doesn't show all the detail.
For a long time now I have been looking for a fire basket to complete the fireplace. So far I have not been able to find one I really liked. In its place I put one of my favorite plants, the good old hydrangea. I made this one from a workshopbox by vaRIAatjes*. To make the colours a little stronger I used some watercolour on the flower heads. I really like this colour, it looks good in every room I have made so far. I should really make some more hydrangeas.
The two plates in the buffet are by Cocky Wildschut. Cocky taught a workshop 'porcelain painting' last year, which was a lot of fun and the results were great! But it is not blue porcelain, so it won't be on show in this room. The plate on the wall is by Henny Staring-Egberts. She also made the kettle, the tulip-vase and, together with Jens Torp, the Japanese Imari bowl. In February 2005 Jens Torp taught a workshop which I attended. Jens is a wonderful teacher and we all had a lot of fun. The end result can be seen on the 'Workshops' -page. (Sorry, in Dutch only)
Another very talented maker was Johan Ulfman. A very nice man who made the most beautiful wooden furniture. This inlaid cutlery box has been made by him.
All the porcelain in this buffet was made by Cocky Wildschut. The silver jug on the top shelf was a gift from Jean-Claude Martin which he sent enclosed with my order of the silver sconces and firedogs. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the package! The other silver pieces in this picture were made by Jens Torp. My latest acquisition is this beautifully shaped silver coffee pot.
A visitor! Granddad (or 'Opa' as we call him in Dutch) has come to see the house. 'Why don't you take a nice photograph of me my child', he said, 'here by the fireplace would be nice'. And so I did.
Opa (made by Miep Felix Perquin) has put on his best suit especially for the photograph. Doesn't he look wonderful!
January 2016: I have not changed much to this room over the years. I have added a few pieces of porcelain, some silver and a little doll in 18th century style.
The doll was given to me by Margot of La Belle Brigante. The doll is only 4.5 cm tall, made of Fimo and silk. The little lady is a wonderful companion to the ladies in the portrait and the blue and white plate on the wall.
In the buffets I have added a few miniatures to the collection. Silver by Jens Torp and Mike Sparrow. Porcelain by Henny Staring-Egberts and Cocky Wildschut. Turned Ivory vase (or goblet) by Vonas Miniaturen. Glass goblet by Gerd Felka.
Wooden tea caddy in the shape of an apple: Vonas Miniaturen. You can't see it in the photo, but the apple has an ivory inner box with lid, containing tea and a little silver spoon.
I noticed the silver could use a bit of polishing!
I bought a very small silver milk jug from American silversmith Pete Acquisto. It is a perfect match for the coffee pot by Jens Torp. The milk jug is only 1,1 cm high and has a hinged lid!
Even though there still are a few things to be done in this room, I am very happy with the way it has turned out. Especially at night, when the lights are on, I really enjoy looking at it. There is plenty of room left in the buffets to keep my collection growing!