Sunday, 26 February 2012

'being in the Antique mood'

The snow is gone...
...I'm in an antique mood...
  'going Swedish'


Petworth, West Sussex, UK

Paula and her son Brandt - excellent Antique dealers, highly talented interior designers,
and over the years always good collagues when I exhibited at the
Decorative Antiques Fair, Battersea, London





For me...
nothing is better than an 18th century Swedish cupboard with its original paint.
I always have had at least one in stock.

but to avoid any confusion
 the 3 following ones are from Augustus Brandt Antiques




And I'm certainly in love with Swedish Baroque chairs, since ever!




Please visit and enjoy Brandt's Gallery


Pair of mid 18th century Baroque chairs

from the beautiful book  THE  SWEDISH  ROOM
by Lars Sjoeberg and Ursula Sjoeberg, 
Photographs by Ingalill Snitt

ISBN 0-7112-0915-4     available at


Some of my own Swedish pieces:

Mid 18th century Swedish cupboard with original paint,
sold recently, with a "crying and laughing eye"


Swedish chest of drawers in two parts, ca. 1780
 original paintwork and fittings


18th Century Swedish Cupboard in two parts, ca. 1770

one of Oskar's favourite places... overlook everything!

Although, by now he has recovered quite well from his accident in December,
he is still not supposed to jump up that high!   Naughty - naughty !


Bonne Dimanche et Bonne Semaine!
a bientôt

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A snowy " Day of Romance"


The beautiful small town of Brantôme in the Périgord blanc

enchanted, romantic, magic - in snow and ice

















 photos with thanks to  'Brantôme en Périgord'    here


Love is in the air on Valentine's Day...

...a Day of Romance

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

Happy Valentine's Day

filled with love for all of you


More about Brantôme:
see also my post from July 2011   here

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Fantasy Dinner for 12...

 The theme for the February 'By Invitation Only' post:

"A fantasy dinner given by you & your husband/significant other"
initiated by our dear blogger friend,  Marsha  from   Splenderosa

We have to invite 10 well-known people, living or dead, to be our guests.
We have to tell who they are and where we will hold this dinner party.

To get organized - first the location.

I would prefer to hold this event at our place,

set-up in the garden
this 3,80 meters long by 1,10 meters wide table  -  just the perfect size to seat Twelve (without Oscar!).
 Draped with a large linen tablecloth, decorated with candles and candelabras, etc....
it would be a kind of a "Fête champêtre"

A fête champêtre was a popular form of entertainment in the 18th century,particularly at the French court.  While the term is derived for the French expression for a "pastoral festival" or "country feast" and in theory was a simple form of entertainment in practice, at least in the 18th century, a fête champêtre was often an elegant form of entertainment involving on occasion whole orchestras hidden in trees.

But if it rains ????
Unfortunately our dining table in the house, also a rather large table,
is only comfortable to seat eight.

So, I decided to have the dinner at a friends house nearby
where I had to organize a dinner last year.

The location:

A lovely small Chateau....

...with a beautiful architectural garden

Just right for a stroll to get to know each other...

...and the right 'frame' for this event and my illustrious guests.

The table:

When I had to organize the dinner last year for a special but informal occasion,
 a simple decoration with a kind of country elegance was required,
fitting into the traditionally furnished dining room.
 This table setting was fine for 11 family guests.

But to allow more comfortable seating for our Fantasy dinner with very special guests,
the table will be extended by adding one more extension.
So, each person will have at least 60 cm of space.

And I will change the chairs to a set of twelve vintage Swedish dining chairs,
which I have in stock, and which go quite well together with the dining table.

(image showing 4 chairs of the whole set)


The guest list:

Friedrich der Grosse
  Frederick the Great (24 January 1712 - 17 August 1786)
1740 - 1786  King of Prussia, nicknamed Der Alte Fritz
Interested primarily in music and philosophy and not the arts of war during his youth.

Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism.
For years he was a correspondent of Voltaire,
with whom the king had an intimate, if turbulent, friendship.
He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted
religious tolerance throughout his realm.
Frederick patronized the arts and philosophers, and wrote flute music.

Languages: German, French and perhaps some English

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in"

"The truth is always the strongest argument.
Sophocles Truth is a thing immortal and perpetual,
and gives to us a beauty that fades not away in time"

"If I wished to punish a province, I would have it governed by philosophers"

"My people and I have come to an agreement which satisfied us both.
They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please"
Frederick the Great


Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel, born 17 July 1954 in Hamburg
Profession: Physical chemist
Chancellor of Germany since 2007

Languages:  German, English, French, Russian

"If we remind ourselves of the fact that every fifth American today,
rightly points and perhaps also with a certain degree of pride
to his or her German ancestry, we can safely say that we, indeed, share common roots"

"The question is not whether we are able to change
but whether we are changing facts enough"

"In Europe it is particularly important that we build good relations  to everyone
 who holds political responsibility because Europe can only be build together."

"I feel sorry for these sportsmen and women who put in just as much effort as footballers.
For example, athletes train at least as hard as footballers but have to be happy
if they can earn enough to finance a decent education"
 Angela Merkel


Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
(16 October 1854, Dublin Ireland - 30 November 1900, Paris France)
Irish writer and poet.

Wilde's parents were successful Dublin intellectuals.
Until he was nine, Oscar Wilde was educated at home,
where a French bonne and a German governess taught him their languages.

At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist,
first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement
in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, W. Pater and J. Ruskin.
After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.
As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities:
he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada
on the new "English Renaissance in Art", and then returned to London
where he worked prolifically as a journalist.

After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s,
he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.

Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation,
Wilde had become one of the most well-known personalities of his day.

"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much"
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all"
"An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him"
"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally"
Oscar Wilde


Queen Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland (7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603)
Languages: English, French

Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess,
Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess,
but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth,
and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate.

Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel, and she depended heavily on a group
of trusted advisers led by William Cecil, Baron Burghly.
One of her first moves as queen was the establishing of an English Protestant church.
This Elizabethan Religious Settlement later evolved into today's Church of England.

It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir so as to continue the Tudor line.
She never did, however, despite numerous courtships.
As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her
  which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day.

"I do not want a husband who honours me as a queen,
if he does not love me as a woman"
to the French Ambassador

"....What a family is without a steward, a ship without a pilot,
a flock without a shepherd, a body without a head, the same, I think,
is a kingdom without the health and safety of a good monarch."
to her brother, King Edward, c. 1550

"I would rather be a beggar and single
than a queen and married"
to the German Ambassador the Duke of Wurtemberg, 1564

"The past cannot be cured"
to the Spanish Ambassador


Karl Lagerfeld

German Fashion Designer, artist and photographer based in Paris

Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg (10 September 1933?) to a wealthy family.
He has claimed he was born in 1938.
He is known to insist that no-one knows his real birth date:
Interviewed on French television in 2009, Lagerfeld said that he was
"born neither in 1933 nor in 1938."
In 1952 he went to Paris, where he studied informally,
with the ambition to be fashion designer,
until he won a prize for a wool coat from the Wool Secretariat in 1954
(the same contest in which Yves Saint Laurent won an award for a dress).

Karl Lagerfeld has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects,
most notably as head designer and creative director for Chanel.
He has his own label fashion house, as well as the Italian house Fendi.

His signature line, which is developed from sketches,
features very structural and dramatic women's wear, mostly in black and white.

As an avid photographer, Lagerfeld often shoots his own press photos,
and is sometimes called "Kaiser Karl" by the press.
His personal trademarks include a fan, a long ponytail for his powdered-white hair and sunglasses.

He is a uniquely confident man and speaks
German, French, English and Italian.

"I only like what I'm allowed to like.  I'm beyond temptation.  There is no weakness.
When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody,
for me it's as if this stuff was made out of plastic.
The idea doesn't even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth."

"Extreme luxury isn't the most bling-bling,
it's extreme refinement, which is couture at it's finest"

"If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy.
Don't say 'one shouldn't do that' -- that is bourgeois"

"I'm very much down to earth, just not this earth"
Karl Lagerfeld

I just adore him! When he talks I could listen for hours....
  He doesn't mince his words.  He is outspoken.


Hannelore Hooger
born 20 August 1942 in Hamburg.
German theater- and film actress and theater director.
Languages: German, English, French

A woman with strength, compassion, and one of my favorite German actresses.


Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, born 18 July 1950
A British business magnate, best known for his Virgin group of more than 400 companies.
His first business venture was a magazine called Student at age 16.
In 1970, he set up an audio record-mail-order business.
In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores.
Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways
and expanded the Virgin Record music label.
"I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur,
but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going"
"My mother was determined to make us independent.
When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house
and made me find my own way home across the fields.
I got hopelessly lost!"

"I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever.
I certainly would have failed IQ tests.
And it was one of the reasons I left school when I was 15 years old.
And if I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it"

"I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur,
but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going"

"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun,
and it has to exercise your creative instincts"
Richard Branson
I was fortunate to meet Richard in person during a family wedding.
We had some lovely chats and I must say - what a great character!


"Shirley Schmidt"

 senior partner in the multinational Law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt, Boston
as played and behaved by
Candice Bergen
Candice Patricia Bergen, born May 9, 1946 in Beverly Hills, California
American actress and former fashion model.

Known for starring in two TV series,
as the title character on the situation comedy Murphy Brown (1988-1998),
for which she won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards;
and as Shirley Schmidt on the comedy-drama Boston Legal (2004-2008),
for which she was nominated for two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She starred in several major films throughout the mid 1960s to early 1980s
such as The Wind and the Lion which is one of my favorites.

Candice Bergen was married
to French film director Louis Malle from 1980 until his death in 1995,
and got married again in 2000.

"Hollywood is like Picasso's bathroom"
"Men say they love independence in women,
but they don't waste a second demolishing it brick by brick"
"Self-acceptance has been a blessed by-product of middle age,
and I have never savored life with such a gusto as I do now"
Candice Bergen herself


Sir Peter Ustinov

"Intelligent or not, we all make mistakes and perhaps the intelligent mistakes are the worst,
because so much careful thought has gone into them"

Sir Peter Ustinov (16 April 1921 - 28 March 2004), an English actor, writer and dramatist,
 was also renowned as a filmmaker, theater and opera director, designer, author, screenwriter,
  comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster and television presenter.

He spoke English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian fluently,
as well as some Turkish and modern Greek,
and was proficient in accents and dialects in all his languages.

 Ustinov was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov in Swiss Cottage, London,
and was of Russian, German, French, Italian and Ethiopian descent,
with ancestral connections to the Russian nobility as well as the Ethiopian Royal Family.
His grandmother was daughter of a Swiss military engineer and Ethiopian princess.
His father, Iona von Ustinov, also known as "Klop" in Russian and Yiddish,
was pilot in Luftwaffe during the First World War.
Ustinov's mother was a painter and ballet designer of Russian, French, and Italian ancestry.
His great-grandfather Moritz Hall, a Jewish refugee from Krakow
and later a convert and collaborator of Swiss and German missionaries in Ethiopia,
married into a German-Ethopian family.

Ustinov's effortless style, his expertise in dialectal and physical comedy
made him a regular guest of numerous talk shows and late night comedians.
His witty and multi-dimensional humor was legendary,
and he later published a collection a collection of jokes and quotations,
summarizing his wide popularity as a raconteur.
He was also an internationally acclaimed TV journalist.
For one of his projects Ustinov covered over one hundred thousand miles
and visited more than 30 Russian cities during the making of
his well-received BBC television series 'Peter Ustinov's Russia'.
He was knighted Sir Peter Ustinov in 1990.

"Laughter would be bereaved if snobbery died"
"Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant.
After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus"
"Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find"
"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious"

"Men think about women.  Women think about what men think about them"
"I am an optimist, unrepentant and militant. After all, in order not to be a fool
an optimist must know how sad a place the world can be.
It is only the pessimist who finds this out anew every day"
Peter Ustinov

In the later part of his life (from 1969 until his death),
his acting and writing tasks took second place to his work on behalf of UNICEF,
for which he was a Goodwill Ambassador and fundraiser.
In this role he visited some of the neediest children and made use of his ability to make
 just about anybody laugh, including many of the world's most disadvantaged children.

Sadly - he died of a heart failure in 2004 in Switzerland,
where he lived in his own Chateau since 1971. 

"I am an international citizen conceived in Russia, born in England, working in Hollywood,
living in Switzerland, and touring the world"
  Peter Ustinov  -  One in a million!


Melina Mercouri

Maria Amalia Mercouri
born 18 October 1920 in Athens, Greece, died 6 March 1994 in New York, USA
Greek actress, singer and politician.

As an actress, Melina Mercouri made her film debut in Stella (1955)
and met international success with her wonderful performance in Never on Sunday,
also in Phaedra, Promise at Dawn, and Topkapi where she played together with Peter Ustinov.
She won the award for Best Actress at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival,
and she was also nominated for an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, two BAFTA Awards.

A political activist during the military junta of 1967-1974,
she became a member of the Hellenic Parliament in 1977
and the first female Minister for Culture of Greece in 1981.
Mercouri was the person who, in 1983, conceived and proposed
the programme of the European Capital of Culture,
which has been established by the European Union since 1985.
"You know, it is said that we Greeks are a fervent and warm blooded breed.
Well, let me tell you something  -  it is true"



   Mr. B 
  Oscar Wilde ------------- Elizabeth I
 Melina Mercouri---------------Karl Lagerfeld 
Frederick the Great ------------Angela Merkel
        'Shirley Schmidt'----------- Sir Peter Ustinov
    Sir Richard Branson ----------- Hannelore Hooger

Aperitif:  Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne
The Menu - depending on the season (no decision so far, sorry),
but the Entree will be Fois gras mi-cuit, accompanied  by a Monbazillac wine.
And for the main course and cheese: red wine from the St. Emilion region.


At last...

I moved the 'goal posts' by inviting musicians as well, to provide the musical background,
and have assembled an interesting Quintet:

Keith Jarret (*May 8, 1945, Pennsylvania, U.S.)
American pianist and composer who performs both jazz and classical music;
Famous in Germany for his Koeln Konzert in 1975.
He started his career with Art Blakey.  Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal
of success in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music.
His improvisations draw not only from the traditions of jazz, but from other genres as well,
especially Western classical music, gospel, blues, and ethnic folk music.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Oscar Peterson (1925 - 2007) - Canadian Jazz pianist
who is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time,
having played thousands of life concerts to audiences worldwide
in a career lasting more than 60 years.
His sister, Daisy Swooney - a noted piano teacher in Montreal -
was an important teacher for him and influenced his career.
Under her tutelage, Peterson expanded into classical piano training
and broadened his range while mastering the core classical pianism
from scales to preludes and fugues by J.S.Bach.

W. A. Mozart

Friedrich Gulda (1930 - 2000)
Austrian pianist and composer, born in Vienna,
who worked in both the classical and jazz field

Although most famous for his Mozart and Beethoven interpretations,
Gulda also performed the music of J.S.Bach, Schubert, Chopin and....

He once said:
"There can be no guarantee that I will become a great jazz musician,
but at least I shall know that I'm doing the right thing.
I don't want to fall into the routine of the modern concert pianist's life,
nor do I want to ride the cheap triumphs of the Baroque bandwagon"


"a table"

This is probably the longest post I've ever done.
But somehow I've got carried away....while inviting my dear guests.

Please click    here
to find and enjoy all posts about our Fantasy dinner
I'm looking very much forward to everybody's famous guests!

Keith Jarret

In memory of Melina Mercouri - Never on Sunday

Friedrich Gulda

Oscar Peterson - J.S.Bach's Blues