When you work full time, sometimes you need to take a day off to run errands
that you can only do during business hours. Yesterday I did just that. I ran my
errands, went on a search for a marble remnant for my vanity table and as I was
headed back home to finish stripping the paint off my bathroom door.
But instead of driving home, my car went in the other direction and I ended up
in Essex, Massachusetts, a quaint Colonial-era village about 40 minutes north of Boston.
Main Street is lined with antique shops and I usually stop
at the White Elephant first. The White Elephant is the kind of place
you rummage through to look for gems. Things are not usually well
organized and I don't mean that to be disparaging. It's a treasure hunt.
I was surprised to see such a nice collection of marble lamps.
When I posted this photo on instagram, someone replied it looked
like a large and well lit game of chess.
This seems like some old version of a hot plate. The plate was set into
a larger metal tray and it's my guess that you would fill the tray with hot
water through the nozzle on the top side to keep the plate warm.
This area of Massachusetts known as Cape Ann has long been a
popular destination for artists so it's always good to keep a keen eye
out for good artwork. This Esther Heins geranium painting seemed
very well executed so I used my smart phone (how did I live without one
for so long!) to google her and found she was a Marblehead-based artist
known for her botanical paintings, did illustrations for Horticulture
magazine and exhibited work at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
and the Smithsonian Institution. Isn't it a little treasure?
White Elephant also has an outlet only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
After White Elephant, I stopped in David Neligan Antiques where
I was greeted by a pair large and wonderful pair of foo dogs. This
shop is filled to the brim with traditional antiques.
It's almost unbelievable to me that you can find a pair of
ca. 1770 "King George III" armchairs newly reupholstered
in oatmeal linen just sitting in a shop and ready to take home.
The pillow is a Folly Cove design which you'll see much more of
at the next shop.
You just can't go to Essex without stopping by Andrew Spindler Antiques.
The first time I went in a few years ago, I had never heard of Andrew Spindler
but was impressed with his beautifully curated shop--very much my taste-- with
a mix of classics from a variety of time periods. You might find an English
gate leg table next to mid-century leather Breuer dining chairs.
Andrew's home got a write up in the New York Times a few years ago
and the slide show is still on-line if you'd like to see his interesting interiors.
I love his living room and its view to what I would guess is a porch. And I
especially love his quote, "I've always paid attention to what this house wants."
I often feel those cues from my house.
Here I was greeted with a wonderful wall of Folly Cove pieces.
The Folly Cove Designers were a group of mostly (but not exclusively) women
artists in Gloucester, Massachusetts. All of their work is block printed and often
come in the form of placemats and table runners. This is a collection of
placements that have been archivally framed as artwork.
The group revolved around design classes given by Virginia Lee Burton
and they worked from 1938 to about 1968. Burton was a children's book author
and illustrator. I love this old photograph of Burton in her office/studio. Folly Cove
pieces are highly collectible and have become quite rare in good condition.
Here are a few more Folly Cove pieces at Andrew's shop:
This is a delightful and humorous print called "The Gossips"
by Virginia Lee Burton from the 1940s.
This beautiful garden bench with Folly cove pillows in the
Diamond Jubilee by Eino Natti, ca. 1947.
Peony, ca. 1964 by Mary Maletskos in a deep navy blue.
Does this not look totally current?
I couldn't resist this one.
If you'd like to know more about the Folly Cover Designers,
check out this post on the Streets of Salem blog.
I can tell that Andrew has a passion for ironstone as there's
always a wonderful collection of pieces available.
I'm attracted to anything with a crown since my first
name means crown. Not Folly Cove but this is a 1930s hand-printed
linen textile made for Cunard. Wouldn't it make a great throw?
So much more unique than the ubiquitous Hermes throws.
I also couldn't resist these brass and porcelain transferware
drawer pulls. I love being able to incorporate unique items into
my house and since I'm working on the design for my new kitchen,
I can strategically plan where they'll go beforehand.
The next time you're on your way to visit Rockport or Gloucester,
you should plan some extra time to stop in Essex. Or make a day
of it and stop by Woodman's of Essex for some fried clams and lobster.