On this last trip, I visited the ancestral village of my father's family, in the Moselle. His great-great grandmother came from France in 1854, through Ellis Island, to join those who had emigrated 50 years prior to the same village in Ohio. How could they leave at that time, just as the 19C decorative arts reached their peak?
The answer of course is that there was nothing for them to do, there was no work. And so, they left. Unfortunately they were not in the market for the latest in decorative arts fashions...
About 100 kilometres away in France, at the same time, there was an incredible production underway, that of papier mache or carton bouilli....paper mache we call it; pieces with Chinoiserie decor were all the rage~you will find many different pieces from this era~ lots of boxes, trays, letter holders and such; the motifs are all so different~
the classic NIII decor with hand-painted stars~
They remind me of a coromandel screen; think Coco Chanel's apartment on Rue Cambon~musical scenes and processions are frequently seen~
I continue to collect these pieces when I can find them, especially trays; they are not expensive and they look great as an assembled collection~
the center of production in the 19C was the town of Pont a Mousson near Nancy~ of course I stopped on my way to Beaune; here the maire or city hall, decked out properly in French flags~
immaculate city, though carton bouilli is no longer produced here, this is the huge central square; that's the little market I stopped at across the way, under the white tents~
church and lanterns....
swans in the Moselle River....
and the best, magnificent, over the top, clock face and bells!