Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Boston Stoneware collection

While shopping at an antique flea market in New Hampshire one fall morning, I noticed a very shapely piece of stoneware that was painted white. I inquired about the jug and the dealer showed me where he had scraped the paint away from the name and some imprinted designs on the neck and said it was from Charlestown and very collectable. I passed on the jug but that piqued my curiosity about the subject. Most of our customers and my wife liked the grey stoneware with the blue decoration, flowers, birds, and leafy designs, while I was becoming more attracted to the early forms that used very little blue, often just a bit to highlight the maker’s name or city and sometimes around the handle.
These ovoid forms just talked to me. Often they had incised rings around the neck and sometimes on the shoulder of the piece and displayed imperfections in the glaze and body from the crude kilns and erratic firings, all of which showed the handwork involved in their making. On our return from the trip I started to research Charlestown pottery and discovered that Charlestown was across the river from Boston and was the home of Bunker Hill, site of our first big battle with the British in the Revolutionary War. According to our reference books, the Charlestown marked pottery was the product of a potter originally from Connecticut named Frederick Carpenter who started in the business in Boston in 1793 with a partner, Jonathan Fenton. That business lasted only a few years. Pottery produced during this 18th century period was marked Boston with a B the same size as the other letters. Carpenter tried again in 1803 with a new backer and marked his wares Boston with a large B and later Charlestown. After 1812 the Boston mark was no longer used and Charlestown was the mark until Carpenter’s death in 1827. Many wonderful pieces with these marks survived…….The pieces often had stamped designs under the town name instead of a stamped 2 or 3 to indicate the capacity in gallons. Hearts, chevrons with tassels, eagles over cannons, crosses are just some of the designs used . Often the pieces were dipped in a brown glaze top and bottom in the style of English stoneware of that time. The glaze often ran or was mottled and variegated and this effect adds to the pottery’s charm.
During 1804 a few of the pieces were stamped Boston 1804. Pride was taken in the fact that these wares were made in this country and not imported. One article written in the 1950’s said only ten pieces with this marking, Boston 1804, were known to the author. I have personally seen six or seven pieces on the market for sale with this date, so am sure there were more than ten survivors, but still they are quite rare. Enjoy the photos from my collection which I hope show some of the appeal of the pottery……Jack

Friday, February 17, 2012

Papier mache Pauline

Last week I sold an early 25 inch papier mache doll, the kind with a black painted pate wanting a wig. There are tiny nail or pin sized holes showing how the wig was originally held in place. The doll is happy in a fine collection with a new (old) dress and human hair wig. Some of you might like to see how she looks now, and as I sent her. Collectors consider it correct for this type of doll to be shown either with or without a wig, and they are seen both ways. Note the great wax doll standing along side. This one is a "Mad Alice type" E

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An early doll's petticoat

Before modern central heating, many little children wore flannel petticoats in the winter, often with a crocheted wool edge at the hem. The dolls of that time coppied the garments of their little owners. This striped example is from one of my Greiner dolls, and I am sure it was made from a child's petticoat. As onother Greiner girl was in need of garments, I made a petticoat for her which captures much of the charm of an old one. It is still possible to find in yard sales and estate sales, old pillow cases with gorgeous hand knit lace. These circles of lace are perfect to trim a petticoat for a large doll. By making the petticoat to fit the lace I avoided cutting the lace which would have destroyed it. I used modern printed flannel in a great mustard color. I am happy with these results. Now to try my hand at making better shoes for her, as I do not care for the ones in the photo. Edyth

Monday, February 6, 2012

Antique dolls offered

I plan to gradually offer many of my project dolls and some complete dolls on my selling blog, see O'Neill's Antiques blog if you are interested. It has finally become time for some of the dolls to go out into the world to seek their fortune as the fairy tales used to put it. Yes some very nice ones a little at a time. Thanks for looking

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nautical Hooked Rugs

Several of my hooked rug designs are sailing ships, I can remember four at this time. One is pictured here. It is faded but I am glad to have it anyway. It include lines from a favorite poem, "Give me a tall ship and a star to steer her by..." This rug was in our house when it burned and was one of the things saved by the firemen as they worked four hours trying to save the house in vain. Very few textiles ever came out of the mess, but my daughters said bring those tapestries off the walls! This one went to a specialty cleaner the next week and I was so glad to have it back. I have pictured it on a table with a dear old Canada goose decoy, but it really lays beside my bed in its real life. The eagle rug usually lays in the dining room in front of a blue corner cupboard. I feel that worn oriental rugs and Hooked rugs can be compatible if both have a lot of the same reds and blues.

The Eagle rug shown in this post was hooked after our move into town, to replace one lost. This example shows the 1790 Eagle design worked without the noisy border of "lamb's tongues".

I have always wanted to make a rug or a sampler with the beautiful verse sometimes used as a sailors prayer by saying "Bless those that go ..."

Psalm 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, These see the works of the Lord and His wonders of the deep. e

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