Fortnightly Photo – Beach Boys

It’s the end of Summer, and it’s going out in style! People were spotted in their bathers at Brighton last week. Though if I were to go to the beach I’d be tempted to take a jumper, just in case.

Beach Boys

Beach Boys

Just like these two charming chaps from the turn of the century.

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Fortnightly Photo

 

This Edwardian photo shows the beach at Penzance in Cornwall.

 

Penzance Beach

 

I found it in a box of photos from a Cornish auction. I must admit that I wasn’t too impressed when I first scanned it because no one was looking at camera. But then I looked a little closer at what I thought was a pile of tarpaulins or fishing equipment.

 

August Edited2 watermark

 

These dark shapes are a pair of elephants!! Not what you’d expect to see on a beach in one of the outlying edges of Britain.

A bit more research told me that the circus used to visit Penzance every summer, and a popular daily activity was to parade the elephants through the streets to bathe in the sea.

It seems that the circus only visited twice, so this really does show a rare snapshot in time.

You can see more at: http://www.westbriton.co.uk/went-circus/story-11518611-detail/story.html

Fortnightly Photo

 

As its still summer, although the weather here feels more like autumn, here’s a photo to reflect the season.

This lovely lady is obviously proud of her knitted swim suit.

 

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

 

I hope your summer holiday is happy…

 

Stylish and Warm – Vintage Knits from Wolsey

I am not a fan of moving house. I don’t like the disruption of packing, or the sense of dislocation that comes from not knowing where you have put that vital something that you absolutely have to have this instant. As well as the normal chaos of a new place, I had to leave things in storage until I found a more permanent place, so not only can I not find things in my new home, I’m not even sure if they’re here, or still in a container in Cornwall!

Fortunately, it looks as if phase 2 of the move will be happening shortly and I can look forward to another spell of unpacking.

Of course, one of the nicer things about unpacking is that you never quite know what forgotten things you are going to come across.

I recently found this pretty little advertising booklet in the bottom of a box I’ve had packed for ages.

Wolsey Brochure Cover

Wolsey Brochure Cover

I’m a keen knitter and I’m currently working on a vintage jumper, made with vintage wool to a vintage pattern. More of this in a later post, but until I have something in 3D to show you, have a look at what you could have bought to keep you both fashionable and warm back in the day:

Eden Roc Twopiece

Eden Roc Twopiece

A lovely outfit if you’re tall and slim. I would love to know what the ‘hopsack tricot’ used to make the skirt is – I feel the need for more research.

Paris Plage

Paris Plage

 

Completely impractical for today’s golf course, I am assuming from the title of this outfit that this is a dress for crazy golf and not the full 18 holes!

 

Rubberneck

Rubberneck

A rather unfortunate name for this outfit, but a great hat, and I love the names of the colours for this model. So evocative.

St Tropez

St Tropez

You could quite easily wear this jumper today, it’s refreshingly spring like and would look just as good with jeans as it does with this pencil skirt.

Newmarket

Newmarket

I’m intrigued by this description – how would you use quilting on a knitted suit?

California

California

I love this outfit, and I’d be quite happy to wear it to the office!

Cote d'Or

Cote d’Or

‘Lacy sweaters and cardigans, in down soft wool and angora’ doesn’t it make you want to snuggle up?

Sunningdale

Sunningdale

I love the idea of unshrinkable wool – I certainly haven’t got the knack of that yet.

Longchamps

Longchamps

With today’s fashion for blocks of colour, this outfit would fit right in on the catwalk, particularly with the Chanel-look jacket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Look in the Bottom of the Box!

I was at a nondescript auction house in Cornwall a little while ago. It’s not exactly a high-end place, in fact it sells such low-end stuff I only popped in because it was on my way to lunch. But I poked around in the boxes as any good auction hound should, and under some rather tasteless ‘Cornish treasure maps’ in a very damp box I found some rolls of old looking paper. I carefully unrolled a corner and I could see what looked like some hand printed designs.

I left a low bid, which was successful and carefully took them home where I had to give them time to air – the smell of damp paper was not nice.

Once they’d stopped smelling, and having thrown away the treasure maps, I unrolled the real treasure….

Block Printed Picture

Block Printed Landscape

The bottom of the box was full of block printed paper.

Border Print

Border Print

These prints were made by dipping a series of carved wooden blocks into paint/ink and then applying them on top of each other. This would have taken a lot of skill and a very steady hand, and was the way the first printed wall papers were made.

Floral Prints

Floral Prints

Some of them had an impressed stamp saying ‘Stampi Remondiniani PESP’, and one had an inked stamp saying ‘Importe d’ Italie’, so I worked out that I wasn’t dealing with British papers:

Italian Export Stamp

Italian Export Stamp

I was fascinated, so I contacted the Wallpaper Historical Society who passed my query on to the marvellously helpful Robert Weston of Hamilton Weston Wallpapers.

Floral Border

Floral Borders

He told me that these were not, in fact, wallpaper samples as I had thought. They are decorative papers that were used to line boxes, or for borders.

Panel Design

Panel Design

The impressed stamp is the mark of Remondini, who were a family printing firm, from 1730 to 1860 based in Bassano del Grappa, N. of Venice.
They exported world wide, which could explain how the papers made it to the UK. The Remondini company was  bought out byanother company called Rizzi who continued using the blocks into 1930s. So my little bits of paper could date from anywhere between 1730 and 1930!

Border Print

Border Print

Unfortunately, some of the papers had been damaged/used:

Part Used Paper

Part Used Paper

I am now trying to find out more before deciding what to do with this collection. But what a fascinating journey they’ve been on, from Italy to one of the poorest areas of Cornwall. And truly a lesson to always look in the bottom of the box……you never know what might be hidden there!

Floral Pattern

Floral Pattern

Let it Snow!

Once Christmas and the New Year are out of the way, my attention turns to skiing. I’ve been a keen skier for over 20 years, and over that time have seen fashions and equipment change, but never really thought about the vintage side of skiing.

It’s hard to know when skiing started. There is evidence of  man using ski-like objects from 4000BC, but Alpine skiing as we know it started about 100 years ago. The exact date seems vague, as a few ski resorts want to claim the honours for themselves. One of the reasons for the growth in recreational skiing was the spread of the railway network around Europe.

Train Travel to the Alps

Train Travel to the Alps

The wealthy British travelled to Europe for long summer holidays, and the hoteliers started promoting winter activities as a way to get people to stay over the winter months.

At the time, skiing was one of many winter sports on offer, including ice skating, walking, dog sledding and even horse racing.

Winter in Davos 1914

Winter in Davos 1914

Dog Sledding in 1914

Dog Sledding in 1914

Racing in St Moritz 1952

Racing in St Moritz 1952

Brits loved to go fast, so they started racing on skis, with the first recognised ski race being held in Murren, Switzerland in 1922, and the Kandahar Ski Club formed by Arnold Lunn and other British skiers in 1924 to promote ski racing as an international sport.

Skiing has moved on since then, with advances in equipment and clothing. We have moved on from tweeds (and skirts for the ladies),

1910 Ski Poster

1910 Ski Poster

through hand knits, I found this great pattern on Etsy:

VIntage Sweater Pattern

Vintage Sweater Pattern

to Lycra and down filled jackets until reaching our current state of the art equipment.

Peversely, some vintage style clothing and equipment are becoming popular with some modern skiers, and my last few ski holidays I have shared the slopes with skiers in traditional nordic jumpers and trousers.

Skiers in Nordic Sweaters

Skiers in Nordic Sweaters

If you wanted to embrace the vintage vibe even further, resorts such as Kanderstag hold weeks where they encourage visitors to evoke the spirit of times past with vintage clothing and equipment.

Kanderstag Belle Epoque Week

Kanderstag Belle Epoque Week

Or if the ‘Belle Epoque’ is a little too vintage for you, try this video from Beaver Creek for clothes from living memory!

For those armchair skiers among you, Christies have a fantastic sale of vintage ski posters this week (the posters in this blog are copied from their listing) or Vintage Ski World.Com  has copies of many ski posters for sale.

The most beautiful boats in the world?

As a fan of Art Deco, I’ve been fascinated by the J Class yachts. These are the luxury yachts built inbetween the two world wars by some of  the wealthiest men in Britain and America – King George, Mortimer Singer, Thomas Lipton and others. They were built to race across oceans and despite being functional they are extremely beautiful. Sadly, they were all either sunk, abandoned or recycled by the beginning of the Second World War when such displays of austentation were not ‘the done thing’. Besides, I would imagine that trans-Atlantic racing was a bit too dangerous in the middle of a War!

About three years ago, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a box of negatives in a Cornish auction room. In amongst the family holiday photos were pictures of a regatta held off Falmouth in 1927. And there were negatives of the yachts that preceded the J Class! It took a long time to find a way to move the images from negatives to digital, but I did it, and here’s a picture to prove it:

Westward, Britannia and Lulworth mid-race

Westward, Lulworth, Britannia and Shamrock racing off Falmouth in 1927.

The reason I’m so excited about this today is that I have spent the day watching the modern J Class yachts racing off Falmouth. These gorgeous yachts are sleek, fast and just as beautiful as the originals.

Here’s a picture from Lottie Richardson, who is following the racing on Twitter for the host marina:

b J Class racing off Falmouth in 2012

You can see more of Lottie’s amazing photos at: www.lottierichardson.com and follow the link for her twitter blog: #jclass_blog

I’m using the visit of the J Class to launch an on-line shop selling both the vintage and modern images: www.strandimages.com.

I hope that this will grow to include the best of my collection of vintage pictures, please let me know what you think.