Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Sorry, the pictures are awful; but what you see resting on the desk is a wonderful Belle Epoque mirror frame we found earlier today (I put another mirror behind it for some of the pictures to get the effect.) We went to a charity shop called Emmaus which is here on the edge of town – not a very nice experience, a warehouse sort of affair. Not a terribly select clientele either. Anyway, in a far corner I noticed a piece of boiserie sticking out, a good many horrendous things in front of it. On close inspection I noticed the decoration on it wasn’t plaster. All of the flowers were individually carved in wood and nailed to the (also wood) base. Quite exceptional work. Mike negotiated what was an already embarrassingly low price (what one might pay for a cheap lunch at a bistro) and we brought it home. Thank goodness for the giant Nissan, the frame is massive.
Once already here at home and in the hallway I noticed the back was marked!!! Baudson et Cie, Paris & Charleville. I’d seen the name before but couldn’t place it. Of course that doesn’t really matter in times of Google… And so: Emile Baudson’s work is seen in Paris by a family member of Alexander II of Russia in the 1860’s who then puts him in charge of the restoration work of Mariinski Palace in Kiev. On the back of this work he opens his own ateliers in Charleville (then Paris) and goes on to decorate a number of great houses in Europe and the Americas. Just thrilling to find something so spectacular just sitting abandoned in a warehouse. And so that was my Saturday.
I’ll take some good pictures in sunlight tomorrow.