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Friday, August 13, 2010

Bouillote? Boo-Yah! And Other Delights . . . .

Back in the 1700s, French folk gathered around tables in the evening, playing a card game known as Bouillotte.  In order to see what they were doing and make sure no one was cheating, they needed light.  Being the ingenious fellows that they were, they came up with a specialized candleholder.

It had a dish-shaped bottom, to hold chips (the poker kind, not the potato kind), and attached to the dish were usually 3 candleholders, and a central post that held a metal, or tole, shade that could be adjusted to shield players' faces from the flame.

It looked a whole lot like this:

Only, without the electrical cord.

We are talking late 18th century, when electricity was still just a spark on Ben Franklin's kite.

Anyway, the bouillote lamp was eventually re-invented as a modern table lamp.
 They are back in style -- although I don't think they were ever out of style in traditional interiors --
and I found a pair of vintage, and slightly sad looking, bouillote lamps in a garage a couple of weeks ago.  Merci, Craigslist.

I was not sure if the brass was real, or plated.  A magnet test proved them solid brass.

There's some brass polishing in my future.

Also some candlestick-straightening.

Note to self:  Next time I photograph something for the blog, dust it first.

Oops. Black metal really shows dust, doesn't it?

As long as we're speaking French today, let me introduce you to another Craigslist find:

 A demilune table.

This half-moon shaped table was a $15 Craigslist find a few months ago,
and it's been bouncing around That Old House looking for its rightful home.

 I placed it over the wine racks for my Dad's 90th birthday party, to hold the
stacks of red plates and wrapped flatware, and there it has stayed.

(Please forgive the stack of tablecloths to the left side.
They are waiting to be ironed.  They have a long wait ahead of them, poor dears.)

I'm thinking a coat of black paint would serve this little piece better than its rather icky wood finish.  Agree?  Or, would creamy white be better?  Sky blue pink?

And then I think maybe one of the bouillote lamps might look just right on this table.

Remember that pair of heavy iron sconces I found on Craigslist a few weeks ago?

 I planned to paint them.

Now, I am not so sure.

 Turns out, they have some great detail and rusty-look bits on them.

I kinda like them just the way they are.

I will hang them, and see.  I can always take them down and paint them later.

Meanwhile, it's good to be home from my trip to Pittsburgh and Detroit with my daughters.

Anne and I left Alida in Pittsburgh; she returns to California today.
I hate having her 3 time zones away!

A visit there is always worthwhile!

Have a lovely weekend!  -- Cass
P.S. Please forgive the funky spacing of some of this post.  I used the new Blogger editor, and it's giving me FITS.
I hate change.


  1. Cass, glad you're back and great score on the lamps! I'm thinking you're right not to paint those sconces right off- the detail is wonderful!!
    xoxo Pattie

  2. I have seen these kind of lamps over the years but I thought they were just a furnishing design. I never knew the actual history of the design!! See.... I'm never too old to learn something new!!
    Love the other finds... especially the table!!
    Have a Wonderful Weekend!

  3. I wouldn't paint the table either!

  4. Cass, I so enjoyed seeing your Treasures! Love the table,and sconces! The lamps are wonderful, love the history lesson! My hubby would love these! I need to check out Craig List more. But not many good deals on them here. lol They want a mint, and not the candy kind! lol Great finds and bargains!

  5. PS Not so sure I would paint the table. The black mantel and tables I have painted, show dust fast! I think if I dust it, dustis back in an hour! No kidding. lol

  6. What a great find Cass. I do like the iron candle holders with their rusty charm. But the table would look wonderful painted black with the shiny brass lamps on top. I hope you have a great weekend and take care.

  7. Thanks for the history lesson on the lamps. I have sen them before, but did not know their origin. You have found some great pieces on CL.
    Have a great weekend.

  8. I love those lamps and would paint the black bits black again. I'd leave the sconces alone until you know for sure what you want to do.
    Severe Craig's List envy from up here!

  9. Lovely finds. I have a couple of those as well (although they are not a set) -- you CAN find them at sales and such for a good price (and then you can find them in really nice antique stores for a lot of $$$$).

    Love the table and I would leave it alone -- I like the wood!

    And I would also not get in a hurry to paint the sconces -- you can't get that finish without a lot of years passing! I'd test them out first au natural!

  10. Cass, you "learned" me a bunch of new stuff today, and even though I was AFRAID I was gonna need a dictionary when I saw your title, you kindly explained everything soooo well.

    Then there was that HILARIOUS line about old Ben and his kite.

    You are a blogging treasure, that's what you are!

  11. Love the demilune. I have been looking for one. Just like that, would you like to send it my way! Paint definitely.

  12. Oh ... my ... goodness ... someone else who knows that sky blue pink is a real color! I cut my teeth on that phrase but the few times I've used it in later years, people look at me like I'm nuts. It IS a color - really, it is!

    I may have to blog about that.

    As for the table, black sounds great, and leaving the sconces alone too.

  13. Hi Cass...great lamps and I hardly noticed the dust..That little table would look great paited black...I would take a wire brush to the sconces and give them a new coat of black paint for certainly have good luck with Craigs List....I just got back from Jersey...stop by and see what I was up to when we were there...and sorry to hear dear daughter had to go back to California...i know you are going to miss her...

  14. There is a reason that your table is bouncing around your house. It's in the wrong house!! It should be in MY house, then it would be happy. Well, maybe not, but I'd sure be happy! In case you can't tell, I love this table!

    I've never seen anything on Craigslist even close to some of the treasures you find! They must hide when I look.

  15. Yes, paint the table black and add one of your lamps. Leave the rust it gives them their character!

    Have a great weekend!


  16. Love, love, love your lamp. It is just gorgeous, and I really do like all the iron pieces too. Great detail. So pretty. Hugs, Marty

  17. LOVING the lamp! Dust? Where??
    I would not have painted the table either...and those delicious rusty bits on your new finds? SO pretty! I like that look...

  18. Hi, Cass! Thank you for visiting my blog - I am so happy to "meet" you! Your house is amazing and the CL finds are really something. Wishing you a terrific weekend from your newest fan,

  19. Great finds and I LOVE that lamp :)


  20. Oh oh oh!! My favorite kind of lamp...a bouillotte lamp! I have stumbled across two so far and most people sell them at really low prices because they are brass. But...they are classics!! Quite a score, Cass! LOVE it! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

  21. Hi Cass! The fabric is a pink and green toile. Here's a link to one of my posts with a better look!

    I am STILL loving your bouillotte lamps! Most people are clueless. You are so smart to pick up on what they are becasue they are very expensive lamps! Congrats! A fabulous find!
    Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie


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