Our mantelpiece is an ever changing composition. Change one thing and everything changes. When the picture is taken that moment is held.

Life is stilled. A still life.


This is a shop window for the ok corral.


We created the ok corral because we find so many lovely things but we didn't want to keep all the lovely things - just some of them.

By Joy Jolliffe, Jul 3 2019 12:58PM

Two small groups, one at each end of the mantelpiece, not quite meeting in the middle as the colours didn't 'work'. Several of the usual suspects are here but we only ever choose the best and we have some absolute treasures this month.

If you like flowers (don't we all love flowers?) these should make you happy. The floral tray is summer on a ... tray! It's an excellent example, in such good condition, wipe clean - all of those practical things - and it's COVERED in roses. Lots of pink and big, blooming flowers. So decorative but useful too. Cup of tea in the garden? Perfect.

The gorgeous peachy/orange roses, an oil on canvas in vintage style, has just SOLD. I'm sorry, but it's hardly surprising, it's very lovely. Each rose is a mass of colours - yellows, reds, pinks - and gorgeously dramatic against the moody background.

Equally glorious is the amber glass pitcher, (I felt 'jug' was too humble a word). It's lived a long and charmed life, glowing and glistening in a quiet corner waiting for this moment. It's perfect and deserves to be centre stage on someone's table.

When we choose enamel pieces the term 'perfect' has to be qualified. There is a moment of perfection when vintage enamel has retained it's colour and practical usefulness but has gained a few chips and knocks. Then it feels truly genuine, vintage and loved. This sky blue, shallow dish has reached that stage of perfection.

The little bird print, framed by the sky blue dish, is another perfect piece. A neat little goldfinch resting among the pink flowers. The bird's colours are bright and beautiful and the whole lovely thing was originally painted by Vestey Rich.

The red box at the other end of the mantelpiece is in fact a tin. It too has reached that state of patina perfection, with a brick red painted surface that is worn but wonderful. The lid is closed with a sturdy clip and the handle is secure. The interior is divided into two sections, which begs the question - what was this tin made for? Something mechanical? Something scientific? If you know, we'd love to hear from you.

By Joy Jolliffe, May 10 2019 01:38PM

I've chosen larger pieces for the mantelpiece this month. They make a very decorative group and as they're big, they're easier to shoot too. Lots of pattern, lots of texture, lots of colour.

The round metal tray has the pattern. A bold yellow and maroon paisley design, printed onto deep blue. A gorgeous rich combination and a new pattern for us. Our customers like to collect these trays. They look wonderful displayed on the wall, especially grouped with others. Sadly, this one has quite a bit of surface damage and areas of pattern loss. Genuine vintage wear and tear can be attractive in itself tho' and this tray will adorn someone's house beautifully.

The bookends are a great find. They're in very good condition and are made from golden honey coloured wood. The design idea is brilliant. The bookends have been created to look like actual books with pages, spine, title etc all defined by the use of different coloured woods. They're very skillfully made too and are surely the quintessential 'book' ends.

More wood next and this time it's bleached through use and age and equally beautiful for that very fact. A pair of large butter pats that have seen long years of work. Domestic pieces like this often hold the greatest interest for me. Who used them, when and where? It raises a whole lot of questions concerning domestic history and makes me think for awhile about the people who used these everyday things.

Parking Privé. Well that would be handy fixed to the fence and screenprinted text is just about my favourite thing. The creamy background colour has mellowed with age and the navy blue is a beautiful contrast. It's printed onto tough rigid plastic and taken out of context, it's a brilliant display piece.

On the far right of the mantelpiece we have a wooden box with a lifted lid. I think my picture is a little unclear. I couldn't angle the box more deeply tho' or it would have fallen off. This simple box is really very nice with branding on the side that tells us it used to contain 4lbs of cocoa nut chips. A grocer's box for the shop shelves and I would love to have a glimpse back at those shelves in that shop. The two printed labels are on the front of the box and inside the lid. They're very decorative with fabulous typefaces and rich colours.

I make no excuse for featuring pressed glass candlesticks again. I'm always on the lookout for them and it's a little triumph when I find an undamaged pair. There they are, glowing warmly even when the candles aren't lit. Golden amber glass.

By Joy Jolliffe, Apr 8 2019 11:05AM

I thought I'd share a mantelpiece display with a difference this month. It's not full of items to sell but instead there are lovely things here that I hope you will simply enjoy. We have to take every moment of pleasure from Spring blossom and bulbs as their season passes so swiftly.

The local hedges are beautiful at the moment. The Blackthorn blossom drifts across them all like a flurry of snow. My Mum called it 'Blackthorn Winter' warning that there may be blossom but the weather's still cold! The creamy white jug that holds the branches of blossom belonged to my Grandmother and possibly my Great Grandmother. I have a precious faded black and white photo of her in her garden holding a big white jug just like this one. You can understand why this piece is a keeper.

Old ceramic jelly moulds make the most beautiful planters. The two on display here are both damaged but are perfect for bulbs. You can use them over and over again for small daffs and grape hyacinths. It's a match made in heaven.

Next month we'll have fresh items here to tempt you again and there's still lots to see on the OK website. Meanwhile, take a moment to enjoy our April Still Life Interior.

Photography by www.hollyjolliffe.co.uk


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