Chatelaine

I found another silver chatelaine at the Costume Museum recently.  Click here to see the first one.  And here is the latest one.IMG_20160503_183605407

The previous one seemed to be a seamstress’ chatelaine as it had things one needs when sewing.  Today’s seems to be more in line with a lady of the house.  You will see what I mean in a few moments. But first lets look at the clasp end. IMG_20160503_183228915

If you enlarge this photo, you stop seeing a naked lady and a baby, and you see cupid receiving an arrow from the woman whom I assume is the goddess of love, Aphrodite aka Venus.  All art seems to portray her as naked with an occasional blanket thrown in.

The links underneath are more cherubs.IMG_20160503_183610189

The tools are attached via chains with floral motifs.

IMG_20160503_183621414

Okay, now for the tools.  The first is a pencil.IMG_20160503_183632427

The second is a button hook.IMG_20160503_183635098

The third is a vesta which is basically a match holder with a strike pad.  IMG_20160503_183645661

I’m not too sure what the next bit is…there is something missing.  Perhaps it was a note pad or a pin cushion.  I’m leaning towards a note pad.  Why have a pencil but nothing to write on.IMG_20160503_183638528

The final item is a bottle.  I’m guessing it is for perfume.  Or perhaps smelling salts. IMG_20160503_183650451

As you can see the bottle is engraved and the lid is missing.

I think this was a busy middle class mom kind of chatelaine because a nurse or shop girl would have different tools and I would also think their chatelaine wouldn’t be so ornate. A lady’s maid may need these tools but her employer would have to be really rich and really love her ladies maid to give her an engraved ornate chatelaine. This would have everything you’d need to get your family up and moving in the morning.  You’d need the matches to start the stoves and fireplaces.  The button hook would button her own boots or her or the children’s shoes. Everyone needs a pencil and note pad (or an android phone) and a dab of perfume before hubby comes home would be very appropriate.  The fact that it is so ornate and engraved says to me that this lady is from a fairly well off home but not a home where there is a servant to do everything. The Cupid/Venus theme has me wondering if this was some sort of wedding gift.

This is what I love most about looking at antiques…trying to imagine who might have used the item and what was their life like.  Sometimes I get rocked by the realization that they are not characters in books or movies.  They were real people who lived and thought and dreamed and worried and cried just like I do.  Their world was as normal and real to them as mine is to me.  Some how I keep thinking that they viewed the time they come from like I do…like it isn’t real, like it is in black and white or sepia color, and that their time is something they think about abstractly when they are resting from the real world (my world).  It is quite self centered thinking to think that everything in time and everything that has and will live will only consider my world as the real one.  Lord, I’d never survive a time travel experience!

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