I have been around antiques my whole life. My grandmother, grandfather, my aunt, and my dad were very much a part of the antique world. I love finding an old piece and trying to find out its origins. Some times it is rather easy to do, but other times it is quite a baffling mystery. The older the antique; the hader it is to trace.
Wood and artistic items have always been the easiest for my family. My grandfather was a wood carver so he knew his wood very well. My grandmother was a quilter and a painter. They both passed their knowledge on to their family. I gained no knowledge of their actual crafts to allow me to creat the beauty they were able create. I do, however, have skills in recognizing different types of wood and the age. With art, I do have the appreciation of the beauty and value of art with some knowledge to allow me to recognize the origins and age of certain art works.
At an auction I went to several years ago, I came across a picture in a wooden frame lying on a table. This framed picture was not part of the auction, but was lying on a table full of pieces that were sold at very low prices. They apparently did not think these items would sell in the auction itself. I saw this piece priced at just $5.00 and knew I just had to have it. I was not really sure why this piece felt so important to me, but it hooked me right away.
It was the only piece I walked away from the auction with that day. Nothing else there seemed to catch my eye or was anything I felt I really wanted. I did not offer any bids at all.
I took my prize home and began very carefully exploring it.
The wood is a soft light maple. It is a very fragile wood. It would take nothing at all to break this frame. This I noticed right away. This frame is so old that it does not splinter. It will actually crumble. The detail on the frame was different. (I tried to get a close up of the detail, but my photography skills was not good enough to do the detail justice so I gave up.)
Later, I learned that this frame was so old as to not have been carved by modern tools. The detail was great, but was obviously done by more primitive tools. It was obviously hand carved.
Although it is very old, its condition was great. Besides a bit of fading due to the age of the frame, it had no other deformities or damage. It has been very well preserved and cared for.
The Picture Inside the Frame
The picture inside the frame had never been in any other frame. You can tell that by the fading where the light had faded the center of the picture where the glass is and not the part covered by the frame. The canvas the picture was painted on is very brittle which tells another story of the age of this picture and frame.
We are sure that the picture is not an original print, or at least not of a painter who signed their work because there are no signings anywhere. What we do know is that, even though it may not an original, it is still valuable. The age alone makes it valuable. This was told to us by a person who specializes in old art.
As best as we can gather and determine, the picture and frame date back to some time around the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
Antique dealers have made some offers. Their offers tell me this was no ordinary piece. I have refused them all and will continue to do so for as long as I am around.
This piece is more to me then just a mere antique I picked up cheap at an auction. It is a special piece which will be my daughters to enjoy when I am gone. It is a more to me then its monetary value. It is a representation of old art and craftsmanship. It is an investment in the past which will carry into the future.
To me this piece is priceless even if it carried the mere value of the $5.00 paid for it. There is mystisim to the picture and old world charm to the frame. There is a bond to the art which my grandfather had as of wood carving and my grandmother had in painting. Even though it was not passed down by them, it carries their crafts as a memory to cherish.