Love and Fake Antiques

 

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‘But I bought it in a French antiques store, I paid five hundred for it’, pleaded the woman of the older couple dressed as if they had fallen from an Edwardian picture postcard. The onlookers looked on embarrassed for this obviously respectable couple. The Antiques Roadshow appraiser of antiques stood with bowed head in silence not wishing to add to the couple’s embarrassment. The wife with the powdered face and antique lace hair-net was not giving up easily.

‘This is genuine French antique’, she pleaded with a raided voice that was now bordering on shrill, ‘We bought it while we were on our honeymoon in antique stores in Versailles fifty years ago’. It had now become a collective buying decision. The blame shift was obvious to those near enough to hear and certainly to the antiques appraiser.

The lady appraiser of antiques was hoping some of the production team from The Antiques Roadshow would intervene but nobody rode to her rescue. She reached out and put her hand gently on the fur trimmed sleeve of the irate ladies coat.

‘ I am sorry but as I said this is a reproduction of an antique, it was ‘aged’ by unscrupulous people and then sold to unsuspecting people like you who were very honest and too young to have the  knowledge to see it was a fake’, gently reasoned the appraiser in her most reassuring voice.

‘She said we were stupid’, the lady in the hairnet address this to her husband who stood with hunched shoulders and a look of resignation on his care worn concerned face.

’Dear, it was a long time ago, perhaps we should just forget about it and accept what this nice woman tells us, it is not an antique, the antiques store is to blame so let’s go home’, pleaded the suffering man as he looked at her with loving soft eyes.

‘It is your fault, you and your , ‘we must buy a nice French antique as a reminder of our honeymoon’, well this is where another of your stupid ideas have got us’, the woman in the net wagged her head and shoulders as she quoted her embarrassed husband in an even more shrill voice which bordered on a scream.

‘It wasn’t even your money, it was my daddy’s money you spent on that worthless French Antique’, continued the woman in the net. ‘Daddy was right, you were a fake, a pretender, an imitator of a real man’, screamed the woman at her now very pale and downcast husband. ‘All we had that we cherished after fifty years was that now worthless antique,’ she poked him in the chest with her bone like finger.

‘A fake for a fake, it was to be the start of a great collection of French antiques, you said, an heirloom for out children,’ she continued to poke him even harder. The Antiques roadshow Antiques appraiser was between two minds, ‘should she interfere in this now domestic row or should she just quietly slip into the crowd’. ‘Well now we have no French Antiques and we certainly have no children, you were a fake there too’. The lady in the net was crying now and her pokes were devoid of energy just open handed pats against the flat of his chest.

He reached for her shoulders and gently pulled the lady in the net into his embrace. He kissed the top of her head and turned her away from The Antiques Roadshow appraiser of antiques. She gestured to the worthless example of fake French Antiques that lay almost forgotten on the green blaze of the antique card table. He waved it away with a flick of his wrist saying, ‘Give it to charity, we have forgotten about it already, our son is waiting in the car for us.’

Reality dawned on the antiques appraiser and on the near faces in the crowd. ‘Could I not have pretended, just this once’, silently The Antiques Roadshow antiques appraiser admonished herself with sad tears in her eyes.

Author’s Profile

My name is Patrick, I have collected and traded in antiques and collectibles all over the world since the early 1970’s. I like to find nice french antiques for nice people. In these articles I will share with you my insights into many aspects of dealing and collecting antiques and related with antique stores.

Should Historians “Mind” What’s Been Said? By mcheesaker

who's word's?

According to Google’s new n-gram tool, when researching history, words count.

Literally.

By analyzing over 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish, the n-gram tool allows users to track the usage of words from 1500AD onwards. The implications of this tool in terms of historical and cultural research are just beginning to come to light. In the article  “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” Jean-Baptiste Michel and his fellow researchers suggest that Google’s n-gram can be used to track the emergence of diseases, state censorship and the relative “celebrity” of a given person.

There is no doubt that the n-gram is, and will continue to be, an extremely useful tool in historical inquiry. However, there are some limitations that need to be addressed.

Firstly, the Google n-gram is limited in regards to language. Most of the collected works are written in English. Although this is helpful for me (an Anglophone student from Canada), some of the world’s most spoken languages, like Arabic and Hindi, are not even present in the database.

Furthermore, as Jean-Baptiste Michel notes, the Google n-gram tool simply measures the frequency of words within books, and books alone. Therefore, other publications like newspapers, and academic journal articles are marginalized from each search. The impact of this becomes quite clear when you compare n-gram searches on Google, and an n-gram search that browses through local newspaper clippings like the site, Mining the Dispatch. On Mining the Dispatch, users are able to see the relative frequency of fugitive slave ads that made it into the local Richmond newspaper during the Civil War. Because of its larger scope, and inability to browse through newspapers, this kind of historical deduction cannot be made through Google’s n-gram.

There is no doubt that the n-gram is, and will continue to be, an extremely useful tool in historical inquiry. However, there are some limitations that need to be addressed.

Firstly, the Google n-gram is limited in regards to language. Most of the collected works are written in English. Although this is helpful for me (an Anglophone student from Canada), some of the world’s most spoken languages, like Arabic and Hindi, are not even present in the database

I think it’s also important to note that language, although an important (and often forgotten) indication of culture is certainly not the only one. As historians know, geography, religion and class, all play a critical role in shaping the thoughts, actions and mindsets of a given people. Language is only one small piece of what makes us who we are.

Indeed, Canada, the United States, and the UK, may all be English speaking nations, but we have very different cultures. Just to prove this point, I decided to gauge the relative frequencies of three major sports: baseball, hockey, and football. From 1900-2008, the frequency of hockey was dismal compared to football and baseball. However, this was a search that took into account all English books written during the designated period. I imagine if I were to search a corpus containing only Canadian books, hockey would be mentioned far more frequently..

But more than that, words themselves are limited.

Think about Twitter. Depending on the words we choose to use in our hashtags, our statuses are more searchable. Similarly, if we tweet about a topic that’s trending, what we say is viewed by a larger audience. But what if we don’t use the right words to categorize what we’re saying? What if we type in an extra “s” or add an apostrophe where it doesn’t belong? But more pertinent than that, what if we say one thing, and mean another?

My previous example with sports provides an interesting example. In English, the word “football” can either mean soccer, or American football. In my search, this discrepancy wasn’t accounted for. Therefore, any mention of the word “football,” whether that book was actually talking about soccer or American football, was nonetheless counted. And therein lies another problem with Google’s n-gram: the tool gives us no sense of context.

And for the historian, context is king.

An old Chinese proverb claims that, “If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.”

After playing around with the Google n-gram, and uncovering its uses, I think this is extremely accurate. However, words are only one investigative tool in the proverbial historical tool-belt that can be used to understand history and culture.

F0r charts and more information visit: http://hist291.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/should-historians-mind-whats-been-said/

Snow Tiger by YUSEF KOMUNYAKAABY

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Ghost sun half
hidden, where did you go?
There’s always a mother
of some other creature
born to fight for her young.
But crawl out of your hide,
walk upright like a man,
& you may ask if hunger is the only passion
as you again lose yourself
in a white field’s point of view.
In this glacial quiet
nothing moves except—
then a flash of eyes & nerves.
If cornered in your head by cries from a cave
in another season, you can’t forget
in this landscape a pretty horse
translates into a man holding a gun.

Source: Poetry (April 2012).


BIOGRAPHY

In his poetry, Yusef Komunyakaa weaves together the elements of his own life in short lines of vernacular to create complex images of life in his native Louisiana and the jungles of Vietnam. From his humble beginnings as the son of a carpenter, Komunyakaa has traveled far to become a scholar, professor, and prize-winning poet. In 1994, he claimed the Pulitzer Prize and the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his Neon . . .

Pix Before Pixels

 

Original Post From http://www.artnews.com

Altered pictures have been around since photography’s invention. Until now, however, they have mostly been seen as footnotes and oddities in the medium’s history. “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” on view from October 11 through January 27, argues that everything digital
photography does has been done before—in portraits, photo-illustrations, pictures for newspapers and magazines, and novelty photos. “The technology has changed several times in the course of photography’s history, and that’s part of the history of the medium, but there’s no break between analog and digital,” Fineman says. “It’s a continuum.”

That continuum exists in part because the motivations for tweaking images haven’t changed much. Chief among those reasons is that all cameras have shortcomings—there are things they cannot record. Early photographers in particular relied on darkroom techniques and postproduction procedures to make their pictures look like what they saw, or would have liked to see, with their eyes. When Édouard Baldus photographed a monastery courtyard for Cloister of Saint-Trophime, Arles, in 1851, he encountered a complicated angle and dim light, problems familiar to any photographer. His solution was to patch together a salt print from multiple negatives. The finished composite has crisp details in even the shadowy areas and has views in both directions around an ornately carved corner. “He couldn’t get everything in sharp focus and in the right exposure, so he made a lot of paper negatives and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle,” says Fineman. The result is a “perspective that couldn’t really exist. It looks convincing, but you can tell along the seams.”

The sky was a particular challenge for 19th-century photographers. Since emulsions were more sensitive to blue light than to warmer colors, skies had to be overexposed for the foreground to look correct. One solution was simply to paint out the negative to make the sky smooth and white; another was to combine a negative exposed for the sky with one exposed for the rest of the image. But photographers did not limit themselves to negatives from the same time or place. Gustave Le Gray used the same spectacularly evocative sky for three different seascapes, and Carleton E. Watkins inserted towering fluffy clouds above his view of the Columbia River. The blank sky in Watkins’s untouched image, which also appears in the Met show, is “a much more modern-looking picture,” Fineman says, but to 19th-century audiences “clouds looked better—and sold better.”

Salability has often been a powerful motivator for doctoring photos, and the strange and funny have always attracted attention. Fanciful images on cartes de visite and other kinds of prints were wildly popular. Trick-photography postcards showing oversize produce (an ear of corn so huge it requires its own railroad car, or a watermelon as a house) were a big hit in the United States in the first decade of the 20th century. The European equivalents were more romantic. Women appeared in bubbles or clouds. In one, a man raises a bottle to a hand-colored moon with a smiling female face. Portraits were often enlivened by showing the sitter next to her double—or decapitated. Thousands of headless pictures were made from the 1870s through the early 1900s. A poser could be depicted holding (or, in one case, juggling) his own head. “You could go to a photography studio and get a portrait taken with your head on a platter,” Fineman says.

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Rarespeciesfund.org:T.I.G.E.R.S. – Support the Feline Conservation Federation:

http://www.ligerliger.com/

rarespeciesfund.org

RSF was established to provide funding to critical on the ground international wildlife conservation programs. RSF receives its financing through The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) – http://www.rarespeciesfund.org

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We Added A New Member To Our Family!

 

We have just adopted a new dog, and his name is Mika. He’s a West Siberian Laika that we got from a farm in Indiana where the couple that lived there rescued animals to help out the county they live in. He’s registered, and his papers trace his bloodline back a hundred years to Russia. He’s a sweet boy that’s gentle, very loving and full of personality. We could not have asked for a better dog, and we already love him so much!