It has been a while since I attended a real live auction, but I can still remember the feeling from all those years ago. We had been living in Pinks Barn for some months and had completely bare stone floors throughout downstairs. Not pretty stone either, just old paving slabs with a coat of varnish.
My ambition was assorted ‘Persian Rugs’, and I soon discovered a large sale of just the thing taking place the following evening in Cirencester, our nearest market town. I attended a viewing earlier in the day and made copious notes on which of the lots would fit where, and then Bill and I discussed the budget. Off I went full of excitement.
I collected my paddle (number on a stick) and sat myself right in the front row. Well, you can imagine the sinking feeling when a tiny silk rug came up first and was sold for £1500. I assumed that I was about to make a fool of myself but was simply unable to get up and walk out. Soon one of the rugs I had earmarked was held up, and I knew it would be perfect in the front hall. I joined the bidding trying to look like I did this all the time until the auctioneer pointed out that I was attempting to bid against myself. Oh dear! I sat there, bright pink, but I had bought a rug.
I continued to buy rugs for less than I expected and eventually walked to the back of the hall to be told, if I wrote the cheque, the porters would put the rugs in the car for me. At home, we spread the rugs around the house and the children were allowed downstairs for a late carpet picnic.
With all the rules and complications of the pandemic, the recent Sewing Auction held by Bleasdales of Leamington Spa was all held on-line. (I must thank all of you who let me know about this fabulous event, or I would have missed the excitement.)
I did place bids on a number of items, one of which you can see amongst my Treasures. One of the most extraordinary lots was a Horn Book with the Lord’s Prayer written on parchment, with an estimate of £150.00 attached. I have always wanted one of these for my collection, so I pushed out the boat and submitted a bid of £200, and then got seriously cold feet about the outcome. In the end it fetched £980, and when I discussed this with Robert Bleasdale himself, he told me that the Horn Book was a notorious fake that had been included in a famous book on the subject in the 1940s! It fetched this sum because of its notoriety.My little treasure is simply gorgeous, and I have dithered about parting with it but… I am told that it was an early 19th century child’s sewing etui and is made from mother-of-pearl with a pair of tiny scissors and a thimble nestling in the velvet egg.