Our Blog Has Moved

Hello and welcome to Cynthia Findlay Antiques & Toronto Antiques on King. Previously we used this site for blogging but have moved it to www.cynthiafindlay.com/blog. Please contact us with your questions, we look forward to your visit.

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Sarah Richardson’s Dining Room

Sarah Richardson’s latest Decor column in the Globe and Mail dares the home decorator to ‘inject some spirit’ into their dining rooms. Traditionally, Richardson argues, dining rooms  are museums for stuffy, formal decor. Instead, Richardson designed this eye-catching dining room, full of “youthful energy,” suitable for both dinner parties and informal family gatherings. Richardson’s beautiful dining room is proof that your dining room can be an eye-catching center for your home.

Image taken from http://designmaze-tim.blogspot.ca/2012/05/lesson-from-sarah-richardson-sneak-peek.html. The Blue and Red Vases on the Side Board are excellent examples of West German pottery. We have a large selection of this pottery starting at $100

Particularly inspiring is the way that Richardson uses antiques in her dining room. Richardson’s use of antiques prove that they need not be inherently formal, nor associated with an bygone era.  You can use antiques as a fun accents for an old-meets-new design flair. Richardson bought the funky west-German retro pottery vases from Cynthia Findlay Antiques.

The proof of the pudding, however, is in the eating. Come in and pick up one of these colourful pieces of pottery (which range in price from $100-500) and watch how a few well-placed pieces can transform your dining room from stuffy to fun, from traditional to retro.

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Elle Canada

Check out how Elle Canada’s fabulous stylists used props and jewellery from the Cynthia Findlay Collection in the June 2012 issue.

Frog Creamer, Green box and turquoise and diamond brooch from Cynthia Findlay Antiques

Emerald and Diamond Flower brooch from Cynthia Findlay Antiques

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The Blind Earl

With Spring finally in full swing, we thought we’d share this story about Blind Earl china.

I close my eyes and rub my fingers all around these Royal Worcester “Blind Earl” pieces. While we can’t always see history, antiques allow us the opportunity to feel our past. The tactile experience of handling antiques often evokes emotions that are inaccessible to us if we simply see the object. Holding great granny’s mixing bowls transports us to her kitchen. Right now, with this act of touching, I am transported to the English countryside in 1750, with me is an Earl who is also experiencing this china through touch.

The foliage is in relief, allowing for a tactile experience.

We don’t know much about George William Coventry, the fifth Earl of Coventry (1722-1809), for whom this china was named. The Coventry family descends from John Coventry who, in 1436, served as Lord Mayor of London. The Earl post was opened two times. First for George Villiers in 1623 and second for thomas Coventry in 1697. George William became the fifth earl in 1750; he was also the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire. In 1780, George William suffered from a hunting accident and lost his sight completely. This accident altered history’s perception of George William and he has since been known as the ‘blind earl.’

Acting as the Lieutenant of Worcestershire, after his accident George William commissioned the newly-founded china company from that same area, Royal Worcester, to design a raised and textured china pattern that he could feel. Royal Worcester was a most illustrious china manufacturer because it had developed heat-resistant china, making it possible to serve tea in porcelain teapots. Royal Worcester had discovered that adding soapstone to porcelain prevented the material from shattering. The company had fourteen shareholders, all of whom agreed to pay a hefty fine if they ever shared the production secret. Royal Worcester was the most important china company in England at the time, and it received many royal commissions. To have a full dinner set in this pattern was a mark of great taste and stature. The Blind Earl pattern is an example of the fine workmanship for which Royal Worcester is famous. The textured floral motif looks like the English countryside.

In spite of the irresistible romance of this story, some historians disagree with its timeline. Royal Worcester first produced their blind earl china in the 1750’s, and George William’s accident reportedly occurred in 1780. One alternative story, for example, suggests that there were two generations on blindness in the Coventry family. Speculatively, this could mean that the hunting accident has been fabricated and that the blindness was a degenerative hereditary condition.

Speculating on the truth of the story is part of the appeal of Blind Earl. This pattern offers antique lovers and history buffs a glimpse of the British high society in general and of one Earl in particular. To feel this china is to participate in its history.

For more beautiful antiques, check out our site.

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Toronto Life Table Settings

This is a weekend for hosting family and friends and sharing special meals together. Toronto Life has created some inspiring place settings that make decorating the table an easy art, and that turn any dinner into an occasion. We are honoured that Toronto Life borrowed many of these items from Toronto Antiques on King & the Cynthia Findlay Collection.

Happy celebrations everyone!

Antler Flatware from Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $125 for the set.

Georg Jensen Sterling Cypress Flatware from Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $1050 for set.

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