Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
I parked my car yesterday, and as I walked past a nearby charity shop, I saw this leaning against a wall - outside - so stopped to take a closer look.
It is a really good quality lacquered tray with real gilded sides, and at over two feet long, is pretty large as well. I picked it up and went inside, and the woman said that I was the first person to show any interest in it all day. I asked how much and she said £3, so I bought it and ran off.
A little later as I was gloating over it, I decided that it is probably from the Regency period, when China produced quite a lot of stuff for the European market and when Europeans followed the fashion of having Chinese-style rooms, complete with imported wall-paper - Eynsham Hall has just such a room, albeit from a later date but modelled on the Regency period style.
It is quite solidly made from single pieces of heavily lacquered wood, and the band of decoration is an applied strip of metal which has been mercury-gilded. There is gold-leafing to the surrounding woodwork too, and the whole thing is in not too bad condition, with a few easily repaired scuzzings which I don't really mind as signs of wear and tear.
I know nothing about this type of thing, and we almost never use trays in our compact but adorable city apartment, but now it sits on a table, shining warmly in the late September sun, just looking decorative.
£3... I can only put my good fortune down to the fact that it was placed so incongruously and carelessly in the street, that nobody but me gave it a second glance. It only strengthens my belief that the best way of preserving things of extreme interest or beauty is to show no interest in them whatsoever.
I'm not sure I was the right person, but it was me who came along in the end. I wonder why its previous owner thought so little of it that they left it outside a charity shop?