Oak bookends

Oak bookends, Australian 1940sOak bookends
made in Australia, 1940s

A lovely pair of oak bookends, lined with green felt – for those of us who still read/collect/store books. The bookends are solid timber, made in the 40s from English Oak grown in Australia.

The timber bookends, though made in the 40s presage the modernist 50s whilst harking back to art deco of the 20s. They are a bit of an amalgam – but then so is harvesting an English Oak for an Australian bookend. If these were made today, there is any number of Australian hardwoods that could have been used.

I have styled the bookends with a small sample of our Observer book collection. Observer books are quite collectible; there is one hundred in the series starting with ‘British Birds’ in 1937 [no 1] and finishing with ‘Wayside and Woodland’, 2003 [no 100.]. They are pocket-sized field-research books and naturally to have all 100 would be a collectors dream.

The oak bookends are for sale: $AUD80

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Retro planters

Pates planters [pair]Pates planters
made in Sydney Australia 1940s

This fantastic planters was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. As you may have noticed, given the tenor of the posts of this blog, being a Sydneyite I have an affinity for the potteries that were producing domestic ware in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Pates’ designs and colours were influenced by the 1940s art and interior design trends; and produced work with this ‘Australiana’ colour glaze- brown and green – apparently reminiscent of the Australian bush. This nationalistic colour combination was very popular, and since I am a landscape architect, and quite fond of the Australian bush, I have tended to collect both Pates pieces in this colour range.

These large planters look fantastic supporting a range of succulent plants: I have kept them in their pots inside the planters and styled them more like cut flowers. I love the colour combinations.

The two large planters are for sale: $AUD110

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Oak bookends

Oak bookends, Australian 1940sOak bookends
made in Australia, 1940s

A lovely pair of oak bookends, lined with green felt – for those of us who still read/collect/store books. The bookends are solid timber, made in the 40s from English Oak grown in Australia.

The timber bookends, though made in the 40s presage the modernist 50s whilst harking back to art deco of the 20s. They are a bit of an amalgam – but then so is harvesting an English Oak for an Australian bookend. If these were made today, there is any number of Australian hardwoods that could have been used.

I have styled the bookends with a small sample of our Observer book collection. Observer books are quite collectible; there is one hundred in the series starting with ‘British Birds’ in 1937 [no 1] and finishing with ‘Wayside and Woodland’, 2003 [no 100.]. They are pocket-sized field-research books and naturally to have all 100 would be a collectors dream.

The oak bookends are for sale: $AUD80

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Kangaroo bookends

Kangaroo bookends & Aboriginal motif placematsKangaroo bookends
Aboriginal motif placemats; made in Australia c.1940s

These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.

The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, Austria. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc. don’t obscure the motif.

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste they are now retro enough to enjoyed in an ironic, post-modernist way.

This set is for sale: $AUD65

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